Gemma Riggs // In Our Own Rhythm

// The Festival of Looking //

About the Artist:

Practice: Filmmaker

"I am a London-based artist and filmmaker who works across video, installation, photography, and sound. At the centre of my practice is an interest in the intangible and ideas of fragmentation in relation to phenomenological experience and memory. I am interested in charting intensities of experience and how our inner worlds interact with outer ones. I seek to explore in how we translate emotion and experience through word, vocal utterance, body and gesture, and how these manifest themselves in physical and auditory ways.

Employing documentary processes, I often take conversation / dialogue as a starting point and means of collaboration. Employing processes of circling, repetition, iteration, and removal of subject- often through editing- I aim to see how these may be used to produce new narratives that draw us closer to evanescent understanding.

I enjoy interdisciplinary working and recent collaborations with international choreographers and performers including- Cosmin Manolescu, Melanie Wilson and Laura Murphy, who have provided rich opportunity to put the human body at the centre of my work."

Project Summary:

In our own rhythm” was presented across The Festival of Looking's closing weekend, as an installation with 16mm film projection.

Brief: What happens to us when we play a game? What freedom can a set of rules and fictional parameters give us? How much of our real self manifests when we engage in play?

In our own time” is an aspect of the research that Gemma (Riggs) has been developing on her residency in Zagreb that starts to explore these questions. The research sets out to investigate the performativity of games and how they choreograph our bodies by creating parallel spaces of interaction and becoming.

The work shown includes a 16mm film made with a group of girls as they play, set inside an installation of their drawings. It hopes to use the filmic frame to extract and abstract and show micro aspects of our selves at play.

The work extends from a creative practice that explores gesture and translation of phenomenological experience through the body as well as engagement of communities as performers.

The work also features a multi-screen film work made whilst undertaking research about games in two locations: Zagreb (part of Magic Carpets) and Žagarė - a town in northern Lithuania, (Žagarė Fringe Festival.)

"I was interested in games as a means of creating starting points for people to engage with each other - a light-hearted way to work with the communities in these two locations. I was interested in looking at the performativity of games, and how they make us behave and interact with each other. I was also interested in looking at games from a cultural perspective and using documentary to record past and present experiences of play.

I was keen to find connections between these two geographical locations.

The film includes documentary elements as well as records of my interactions with communities in both locations, as well as performative elements that I worked through with Croatian Choreographer Martina Tomic."

Residency at LAB 582:

The words below are extracted from their blog >>

"The program of Superorganism is a realization of workshops and art residencies in the framework of Magic Carpets project, in collaboration with local artists, art pedagogues, and children, its concept built around the idea of Superorganism and the community of the courtyard of Ilica 37. Through the Imaginarium of Superorganism, we observe the problems of alienation as well as the techniques of positive transformation of collective processes, using it as a metaphor for the balance between individual and collective, male and female, spiritual and material, culture, and nature.

The shared framework of the workshops for children and residential programs of Gemma Riggs (UK) and Matthias Krinzinger (AT) defined the need for play as a way of showing creativity, developing critical thinking, and creating emotional links with other creatures. Playing with the ball in front of thousands of people at the stadium or playing a game of chance, a card game in the smoke, a game that is growing and changing through generations that create it.

Through the process of capturing digital and 16-millimeter films and connecting with the day-to-day visitors of the courtyard, Gemma turned to the games presented through the memories, experiences and personal stories of the players. This process, shown in the installation In our own time, explores the feasibility of games and the ways they choreographically determine our bodies by creating parallel spaces for interaction.

In the end, or perhaps the the beginning, the process remains a reflection on the transformational ability of the game to call for social action, and awareness of how human desire for the playing, as well as the focus on creativity, can be triggers of mental health of the organism we are a vital part of."


1 April 2019

MagiC Carpets // 2019

The rhythm of performing games; the choreography of playing and how it games invite our bodies to interact with each other. It will explore the movements that come with games: the circling, repetitions, entwining, jumping, breathing, looking.

Progress Agency