By RACHEL ROSSIN, NOV. 2014
Will Rahilly is a New York-based photographer and video artist whose distinct work contains unexpected references to domestic mythologies, office rituals, technology, and identity. He is impressively proficient at every aspect of his art-making process by way of shooting and directing his own live-action sequences, creating complex 3d animations, musical score, costuming, and editing. I was introduced to Will’s work through a show we were in together; The Spring/Break Curatorial Fair (started by Ambre Kelly and Andrew Gori of The They Co.) where his video, Viand was playing. I was bowled over by it’s confidence, eerie symbolism, surreal content and it’s strange inimitable playfulness (girls laying paint-filled ping-pong-ball-eggs, for example). The space that Will’s work holds is comfortably charming.
Will and I met to discuss his work and future plans in his Bushwick studio.
Rachel Rossin: What are you working on right now?
Will Rahilly: A new series of instructional analogue photographs for an upcoming book with Small Editions Press, short 3D videos based on dreams and a TV show with my friend Adam Kaufman.
R: What’s the TV show?
W: It’s a surreal semi-comedy based on one woman’s sad life with her computer and her unending desire for a killer whale trainer named Michael.
R: That’s really good… Are the visuals your own?
W: They would be very much mine - Adam and I would be producing and covering the art direction, but we’d love to get other artists involved.
R: Well, Do you agree with what I said regarding your work having a domestic mythology?
W: Yes, I like that. What I really enjoy is art that takes things that one is already familiar with and rearranges them in a novel way. By default, this has a lot to do with our domestic day-to-day lives. It allows one's daily experience to be permanently altered, even away from the art. This ties into what you said before, too - about the shrines and trying to make a type of connection to the divine and I think that happens regardless of the tools at hand - like the hermit crab or a nesting bird - just using whatever scraps are around.
R: One of my favorite pieces of yours and how I was introduced to your work is Viand, could we talk a little about that? What does the title mean?
W: Viand simply means a bit of nutrition or food, but it’s a creepy, sci-fi-sounding way of describing it that fascinates me.
R: Is that related to the printed substrate cake?
W: Definitely - the whole thing is structured as a numeric palindrome: 12345 and then 54321. It begins with one lone woman, who becomes two, and then three. The three of them summon the fourth, a deity, who spits out fives, like a false number in a film, at the fulcrum. It then reverses itself in a totem pole.
R: What does the title ExStanchion mean?
W: In context of the video, I see stanchions, the bars that hold up connected ropes, as nodes on the rope’s pathway. The rope is a literal thread that traces the way through the day, gathering pieces of the past.
R: How was it shown? I saw it at Bushwick Open Studios with the four channels split into two but I remember you saying it was originally projected onto four walls surrounding the viewer?
W: Because a lot of the video is shot from 4 angles simultaneously, surrounding this massive Lazy Susan cubicle, it’s important that you see it all around you. It creates what I think of as an inverted doughnut of reality.
It was created for Monkey Town, a 4-channel video cube venue that has been around for ten years. It's the project of a good friend, Montgomery Knott. It’s now traveling. It was in Chelsea last summer, where I performed with a video twice each night. Earlier this year, it had a three-month run in Denver and now he’s setting up shop in Barcelona.
R: The score for ExStanchion is so beautiful, was that all of your work?
W: Thank you! Yes. The sound and music really drive the editing process for me. I collect sounds from lots of different places to use. I used to write a lot of music, it’s incredibly fulfilling for me. That passion has transitioned into scoring and foley work.
R: Did you have any odd early-life artistic obsessions that are appropriate to share?
W: It’s a tie between big toes and a spectrum of slime. I had an ingrown toenail issue when I was a teen, and it was the first thing I made songs about.
R: Who else are your collaborators?
W: Good friends and goo friend, mostly, but all scrolling to this point are welcomed to scroll into my studio. I really love when people get in touch and want to be in videos, photos, or just help out. It’s important that shoots have a really fun, collaborative atmosphere. Amber and Andrew of SPRING/BREAK, and Gabriela Alva Cal y Mayor of Eyelevel BQE have been so great with support and curation, it's appreciated immensely.
You can find Will’s work on his website:
His video Viand here: https://vimeo.com/50953547
And his work in Prince Rama’s NEVER FOREVER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAu9WWe4Sfs
Or his instagram @willrahilly
Rachel Rossin is a New York based artist.view all articles from this author