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

Through Sunday, August 19

Art Parkway District

A striking voice in contemporary art, Rachel Rose creates video installations that ruminate on our image-saturated culture and histories of the past. She is the first recipient of the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media, which supports innovative new work in video, film, performance, and sound by emerging artists. For her commissioned video, Wil-o-Wisp, Rose trains her lens on a tumultuous moment in history: England in the 1500s.

Wil-o-Wisp explores how the practice of magic and coincidence influence the fate of a woman named Elspeth Blake. Rose frames her story against the backdrop of England’s Enclosure Movement, which privatized communal land and spurred violent upheavals in agrarian life.

Rose models the chapters of Elspeth’s life after accounts of healers persecuted for their practices, which were considered deviant and threatening within increasingly regulated society. Weaving together the harsh realities of the rural English landscape with ghostly sprites and the ethereal forces of magic, Rose questions how our perceptions of the world, and of others, can so radically change within the fluctuating norms of society and the seismic shifts of history.

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Venue Information

Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy
Philadelphia, PA 19130
215-763-8100 phone
215-684-7600 TTY

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What's Nearby

Perelman Building, Philadelphia Museum of Art


Exploring the Francis Kéré exhibition with the architect. Part of the Creative Africa celebration at the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.