Artist's Statement: Ravi Deepres on Leicester's Festival of Rugby at the Rugby World Cup 2015

| 24 September 2015 | Updated: 23 September 2015

Ravi Deepres' The Gain Line is part of Leicester's Festival of Rugby, coinciding with the Rugby World Cup 2015



"What’s interesting to me about sport in general – which was my attraction to this project – was using it as a vehicle to address lots of other issues, particularly around identity, my background in choreography, subconscious, psychological and physiological influences.

My previous project, Patriots, was very much about the dynamics of football crowds, what happens to an individual when they become part of a mass. Some of that work is quite visceral and very, very almost physical in feeling, which I think is very important to try to get across in work.

A photo of rugby players taking part in a game as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015
© Courtesy Ravi Deepres / Film and Video Umbrella
Part of it is much more painterly, I would say, so it was quite contrasting in that respect. This project has similar kinds of approaches. Rugby, again, is a stadium sport, so the idea of the arena, what happens in there, the spectator…the dynamics and pressures of that are very interesting.

I’m interested in it certainly from a historical perspective, looking at the birth of the game from Rugby school.

A photo of rugby players taking part in a game as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015
© Courtesy Ravi Deepres / Film and Video Umbrella
I’ve always been very interested in working with archives with a collection of images from different times and through different memories.

That’s something that I find very much resonates through creating artworks, particularly when it’s combined with evolutions which manifest themselves in new ways of visualising memories and moments in time.

A photo of rugby players taking part in a game as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015
© Courtesy Ravi Deepres / Film and Video Umbrella
New technology was the other section of interest in this work, such as 3D scanning, issues around data analysis and the visual consistency of how that data might be translated into perhaps choreographic or other visual sequences, used as metaphors rather than something literal.

Biometric data is collected all the time in virtually every sport now, particularly in rugby at the moment – it’s almost a paranoid activity, every team’s paranoid about the other team. Everyone’s collecting data on their players.

A photo of rugby players taking part in a game as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015
© Courtesy Ravi Deepres / Film and Video Umbrella
It’s very interesting because it’s a different way of understanding physical strength, power and endurance. It almost seems like it’s becoming less about the primal senses of humans, of athletes, and much more about monitoring them and almost controlling them.

Individual players’ understanding of space is very interesting to us and it’s something that I’d like to really highlight in the work – how certain players are able to see space and are aware of the spaces around them much more than others.

A photo of rugby players taking part in a game as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015
© Courtesy Ravi Deepres / Film and Video Umbrella
This is something that data analysis can’t really help with because it’s much more about the physical body.

It’s another dimension that’s going on in certain players’ heads and minds which very much comes from instinct, a primal source. This was an interesting puzzle in the beginning about how to actually get something that makes you feel like your inside the head of a player, so you’re seeing and feeling what that player is experiencing.

A photo of rugby players taking part in a game as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015
© Courtesy Ravi Deepres / Film and Video Umbrella
A piece of work such as this, which is quite complex and sophisticated, looking at lots of different issues, technologies, perceptions and themes around the game of rugby needs lots of input from lots of different people.

With Film and Video Umbrella there’s a history there of understanding what’s required to make artistic bodies of work within moving image."

  • The Gain Line is at Phoenix, Leicester from October 1 - November 29 2015. Part of Leicester's Festival of Rugby, celebrating the city's historic connection with the game and hosting a programme packed with artists representing the five teams competing in Leicester: Argentina, Canada, Namibia, Romania and Tonga.

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