Rory Pilgrim: RAFTS: Visions and Dreams | lecture-performance

The lecture will be held in English. Free entry, all are welcome! 

“In moments of change and transition, what supports us and keeps us afloat? A raft is the simplest and most fragile vehicle of survival on open water. Ancient as human language, rafts are still needed during urgent crossings. From the Abrahamic story of Noah’s Arc to the idea of Earth as a lonely life raft floating in space, the symbol of a raft has often represented the ultimate preserver of life.”

For the first time in Budapest, artist and composer Rory Pilgrim together with Elizabeth Graham (Civic Associate Curator at the Serpentine, connecting artists, communities, self-organised groups and campaigns through long term residency programmes in the city) gives a special talk sharing insight to his recent film RAFTS commissioned by Serpentine, London. Created during the global COVID-19 pandemic, RAFTS is narrated by residents from London who ranged from their early 20s to those in their late 70s. Each in their own way, they reflect on what the symbol of a raft means to them and what supports them in everyday life. The personal and intimate reflections bring poetry, stories and animation that interweave around a seven-song oratorio that make connections between work, mental health, home, recovery and our environment. Made over a 2 year period of workshops, conversations and long term engagement, Pilgrim will share and invite the audience to take part in the different questions and creative processes that led to films creation. 

Rory Pilgrim (Bristol, 1988) works in a wide range of media including songwriting, composing music, film, music video, text, drawing and live performances. Centred on emancipatory concerns, Pilgrim aims to challenge the nature of how we come together, speak, listen and strive for social change through sharing and voicing personal experience. Strongly influenced by the origins of activist, feminist and socially engaged art, Pilgrim works with others through a different methods of dialogue, collaboration and workshops. Recent Solo Shows include: Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2020), Between Bridges, Berlin (2019) Ming Studios, Boise (2019), Andriesse-Eyck Gallery, Amsterdam NL (2018) and South London Gallery (2018). Pilgrim has also made commissions, screenings and performances for Serpentine, London (2022), MoMA, New York (2022), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2021), Glasgow Film Festival (2020), Images Festival, Toronto (2019) and Transmediale Festival, HKW, Berlin (2019). In 2019, Pilgrim was the winner of the Prix de Rome.

The lecture is part of the event series entitled Support Structures curated by Flóra Gadó and Judit Szalipszki related to the first two, thematically interrelated exhibitions of the 2022/23 season exploring strategies and coping mechanisms associated with different forms of care. Ranging from self-care to collective healing processes, the series not only reflects on the paradigm shift in the fields of illness, healing and care, which has become even more relevant since the Covid19 pandemic, but also seeks to present possible alternatives to alleviate the crisis.

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Supported by: Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

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