Centred on emancipatory concerns, Pilgrim’s work aims to challenge the very 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 collaboratively with others through different methods of dialogue, collaboration and workshops. Creating connections between activism, spirituality, music, technology and community, Pilgrim works in a wide range of media including sound, song writing, film, music video, drawing and live performance.
Studying at Chelsea College of Art London between 2005-2008 during the advent of social media and proliferation of the Internet, Pilgrim urgently seeks to explore how we forge new forms of connection from both behind and beyond our screens. Growing up as a child of an Anglican Church Minister, questions of social responsibility interwoven with rituals of speech, music and community are inherent within his work. For Pilgrim, the political, spiritual and struggle for social peace and justice are inseparably connected. His work seeks to create a fertile space beyond dogmas and limitations of both religion and secularism in which an individual has freedom to speak, listen and be supported by others through collective experience.
Throughout Pilgrim's work words and music are essential . With a background both in classical music and pop bands, Pilgrim uses music and songwriting as a means to explore ways in which words articulate human experience and longings sometimes successfully and sometimes incompletely. Creating spaces in which people from all generations come together and cultural backgrounds, Pilgrim hopes to provide a space where words and dialogue can still be agents of change when voiced and exchanged or written. Since 2011 a key collaborator with Pilgrim has been poster maker David Andrews exploring the visual potential of words in both poster and digital form.
Key early works include Love in Uganda (2009-2010), a piece of music inviting Anglican Churches around the world to break their silence on The Anti Homosexuality Bill in Uganda which furthered an existing British Colonial law to mandate the death penalty for LGBT people. In 2012 Pilgrim was invited to create a performance that choreographed the re-opening ceremony of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, broadcast live on National Television and attended by Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, in a performance entitled Open. Motivated by youth protests and violence targeted at young people in 2011 through the rise of right wing governments in Europe, Pilgrim worked with 10 teenagers to create a text for a choral piece he then composed, sung by the National Youth Choir of The Netherlands. The ceremony featured speeches interspersed with verses from the anthem and included speeches from three of the teenagers, based on a political and personal concern important to them, each of the teenager's speeches ending with a question for wider society about the future.
From 2013-2016 themes of inter-generational dialogue, language, LGBT rights and the role of physical space space within the digital age were key themes of a short film trilogy entitled Sacred Repositories. As divisions between people generationally, culturally, politically and economically have increased since the financial crash of 2008 , Pilgrim’s work has in particular focused on the role of technology in this. From 2016-2018, Pilgrim created his first 11 track music video album entitled Software Garden exploring how we unite the human, robotic and technological to create systems based on basic principles of care, kindness and empathy. With nearly 100 people involved in the work, key collaborators include singer Robyn Haddon, choreographer Caspar-Augusta and poet and disability advocate Carol R Kallend.
In 2018 Pilgrim was commissioned by the South London Gallery to create a new work for the opening of its new Fire Station building. Working with women from 14 to 94 years old connected to South London, the commission resulted in a 7 episode film entitled The Resounding Bell. Moving between 7 generations of experience, the film questions how we learn and listen to one another so as to take action in the present and shape our collective future. The work will travel in 2019 as a solo exhibition to Between Bridges, Berlin, creating a sister conversation in Germany at the moment the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.
Forthcoming and previous solo/duo exhibitions include Kunstverein Braunschweig (DE), MING Studio, Boise (USA), andriesse-eyck galerie, Amsterdam (NL), South London Gallery (UK), Site Gallery, Sheffield (UK) and sic! Raum für Kunst, Luzern (CH). In 2019 Pilgrim will open the Images Festival Toronto with Software Garden, with live concert performances of the work taking place at Haus der Kunst der Welt, Berlin and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Forthcoming commissions include Serpentine Gallery/BBC Radio.