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What Rory Pilgrim's up to these days

Published 16 Jul 2020 at 17:24 by We Are Public

Rory, what’s on your mind?

Rory Pilgrim is quite the busy man. His work is boundaryless, with his creative endeavours ranging from creating performance-installations and producing award-winning films to organising workshops and playing the harp. The common motto in all of Rory’s work is, however, very clear: ‘the personal is political’. By all means he creates a platform for voices from all kinds of communities – whether they’re young climate activists or homeless people. Plus he is one of the 15 artists that we support with In Art We Trust Fund! We got curious about what he’s been working on lately and decided to ask Rory himself: What are you up to these days?


When the pandemic came, I was in the middle of working on a new commission with Serpentine, London for my new work Rafts. Taking the raft as a symbol of survival and the Earth itself as a ‘life raft’ floating through space, the work is a second chapter in a body of work which explores how we deal with the climate crisis. Working with an arts charity for mental health in London, I have been working with a wonderful group of people where we have been exploring what the symbol of the rafts means in our lives: What keeps them afloat? How we provide support for others? How do we work through moments of transition?

Raft, 2020. Oil and Nail Polish on Wooden Board. 15cm x 10 xm. Courtesy of andriesse-eyck galerie

Building dialogue

For the project, the group have connected with a group called Project Well Being whom I began working with last year for my film The Undercurrent. Based in Idaho, Project Well Being gives daily support for those at the Interfaith Sanctuary Shelter Boise who are experiencing homelessness. With the changes brought by the pandemic, we have switched from workshops in person to weekly workshops via Zoom in which the groups in London and Boise have been generating material and slowly building a dialogue.

Raft workshop, 2020. Developed with Serpentine Gallery, London

Voices and stories

Over the next year we will work towards making a film and also live concert work. As part of this I am currently working on a new series of songs and orchestral and electronic music that will interweave and and provide a backdrop to all the voices and stories shared. To develop this material, I constantly nurture a series of imagery, text and words in which the melodies, music, songs and images for film grow from. The support from In Art We Trust will be invaluable in providing new musical equipment. If possible, I hope to put it towards a pedal harp which I can work on instead of hiring harps as I have done in the past. I will use the harp especially for my own musical performing role in Rafts for concerts in 2021.

Besides this work I am also preparing exhibitions and performances of my works Software Garden and The Undercurrent. These include: Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea and Centre Pompidou Paris, France. In 2021 I will make an exhibition at Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany which will bring together work and contributions from others who I have worked with over the last 12 years and will coincide with my first book publication.

Sketch Book Image, 2019. Pencil and Crayon in Rory’s sketch book. Courtesy of andriesse-eyck galerie.



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