Whitehot Magazine

Artists in Conversation: Rachel Rossin Interviews Will Rahilly

Viand from Will Rahilly on Vimeo

, 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 playingI 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.

Will Rahilly, Dogtooth, images courtesy of the artist


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: http://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


Rachel Rossin is a New York based artist. 

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