Rachel Rose: Wil-o-Wisp; The Future Fields Commission

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Rachel Rose: Wil-o-Wisp; The Future Fields Commission
Tags: American

About the Authors:

Erica Battle is the John Alchin and Hal Marryatt Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has produced and co-edited a variety of publications during her tenure at the museum, as well as contributed essays in outside publications. Recent book projects include Bruce Nauman: Contrapposto Studies and International Pop.

Erika Balsom is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London. Her research interests include experimental documentary, the intersections of cinema and art, and histories of technological change. Recent publications include After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation (2017), Documentary Across Disciplines (co-editor, 2016), and Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art (2013). Her criticism on art and film appears regularly in publications such as Artforum and Sight and Sound.

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Rachel Rose’s compelling video installation Wil-o-Wisp (2018) takes her research-driven practice into new territory. Using live action, Rose chronicles the story of a healer whose fate is linked to the power of coincidence and changing perceptions of magic amid societal upheaval in agrarian England at the turn of the seventeenth century.


An essay by Erika Balsom considers Wil-o-Wisp within Rose’s evolving practice and in the context of other pioneering video artists. In an interview with Erica Battle, Rose discusses the development of the work, from early concepts to script writing and filming in New England. With the inclusion of an array of visual references, the book traces the evolution of a pivotal work by one of the most striking voices in contemporary art.


Rachel Rose: Wil-o-Wisp documents the first work produced by the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media, a collaborative initiative established by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin to support the creation and acquisition of new video, film, sound, and performance works by emerging artists.

  • Paperback with flaps
  • 76 pages
  • 7” x 9”
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2018
  • ISBN 9780300238716
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