Rory Pilgrim at WAMx
Hop to Hope: Rory Pilgrim
The Undercurrent: 10:30, 13:00, 15:30. Duration: 50 min.
Rafts: 11:30, 14:00, 16:30. Duration: 1 h 07 min.
The films are in English with Finnish subtitles.
Further reading: Hop to Hope: Or, From Maximum Crisis to Maximum Calm
Two films by Rory Pilgrim are shown in the exhibition: The Undercurrent (2019–) and Rafts (2020–2022). The films are based on long-term dialogue, created by workshops with different communities. With each film structured around a score and songs composed by Pilgrim in collaboration with others, the exhibition explores, in particular, the potential of how we use words and voices through poetry and song in our everyday lives. In addition to the films, WAMx also exhibits paintings by the artist and members of the working groups, as well as hand-painted text posters with song lyrics from the films.
The Undercurrent is an intimate portrait of ten young climate activists from Idaho in the USA and of how they experience the climate crisis. They feel that the generation above them expects them to solve the current problems and save the earth. They remind us how different areas in their personal lives intersect with the climate crisis – all from gender inequality and religion to struggles in the family and friendship. The film also shows members of the local homeless community who reflect on the importance of home and shelter, and on their relationship with nature. In the piece, music is a way to deal with frustration and to act to stop the crisis.
Rafts continues this story about what supports us and keeps us afloat in turbulent times. The film was made during the Covid-19 pandemic. The film is inspired by the BBC’s Radio Ballads from the 1950 and 1960s, which were radio documentaries where music was used to tell the stories of rarely heard communities at the time. At the heart of Rafts is a concert broadcast, with narration by eight members of Green Shoes Arts, a British organisation with creative programmes designed to support mental well-being. Together with singers Declan Rowe John, Robyn Haddon and Kayden Fearon, a choir and an orchestra, Rafts unfolds as a seven-song oratorio, interwoven with the group’s personal stories. They make connections between work, mental health and our environment.
Rory Pilgrim is a composer, film maker and visual artist born in Bristol, England, in 1988. Partly based in the Netherlands, Rory’s work is now exhibited for the first time in Finland. Pilgrim is strongly influenced by the origins of feminist and socially engaged art and activism. The artist is currently working on the third film (co-commissioned by Vleeshal) in the trilogy that starts with The Undercurrent and Rafts. With the trilogy, Pilgrim will move from music videos and short films towards feature film.
Pilgrim's works have been shown at the Serpentine Galleries in London, MoMA in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The artist was awarded the Prix de Rome in the Netherlands 2019.
Image: Still image from Rory Pilgrim's film The Undercurrent (2019–).