Common Carrier


Common Carrier

A survey of works by James N. Kienitz Wilkins

SPACE and Points North Institute are partnering to present a retrospective of works by James N. Kienitz Wilkins, the first one of its kind the US, including both feature and short works from Wilkins created between 2013 and 2018, all of which have screened widely at prestigious festivals and museums across the world. Straddling the worlds of film and art, Wilkins writing and directing distinctively explore issues within language and performance, while perpetually experimenting with the formal codes of filmmaking. Future screenings accompanied by conversations with the filmmaker in this program series will be held on Sunday, May 19th, and Sunday, June 2nd. 

dir. James N. Kienitz Wilkins | 78 min | 2017 | 
(CPH:DOX/Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, CIFF/Camden International Film Festival, Rencontres Internationales Du Documentaire De Montreal, The
Renaissance Society, among others)

Opening with a radio dial and the crackle of radio static, Common Carrier sets off with a chain of interrupted excerpts of overheard audio that spontaneously soundtrack the film. The changes in soundtrack mirror a hyper-saturated image collage of mulitple exposures exploring a network of individuals aorund a common individual (the filmmmaker himself). Amid of whirlwind of found sound from Rihanna to talk radio, the film explores what it means to create in a contemporary moment barraged with information, both with its subject and its experimental format. The work weaves scripted performances by real people playing versions of themselves with intimate conversations about art making, labor, technology, and life.

"The film is a dizzying experimental essay on what the everyday life of an artist looks like in the 21st century. Yet describing the various protagonists in such a way makes Common Carrier sound far more like a conventional documentary than it actually is, as the film endeavors to smudge boundaries and create a mood of dispersion and interference at all times." 
— James Lattimer, Slant Magazine

“Among the funniest [filmmakers] working today... Wilkins's comic style can be placed in a Yankee deadpan tradition, but in the heady mixture of Fetty Wap, Grecian urns, Justin Timberlake, Oculus Rift VR headsets, and votive statuary, there’s something completely modern, something that speaks to 2016 in a way that Jean-Luc Godard’s juxtaposition of chrome, Cadillacs, and J.S. Bach might have spoken to prosperous Western Europe in the 1960s.”
— Nick Pinkerton, Frieze Magazine


James N. Kienitz Wilkins is a filmmaker and artist based in Brooklyn. His work has screened in international film festivals and venues including Berlinale (Forum), Toronto, Locarno, Rotterdam, CPH:DOX, MoMA PS1, Tate Modern, New Directors/New Films, Camden, and beyond. In 2017, he was included in the Whitney Biennial and a retrospective of his work was showcased at RIDM (Montréal). In 2018, he opened a solo show at Gasworks Gallery (London) and participated in the Biennial of Moving Images (Geneva). Most recently, his work was presented as part of the 2019 Winter/Spring Flaherty NYC, Puzzling, held at Anthology Film Archives. He grew up in Maine and attended the Cooper Union School of Art in Manhattan.


May 7, 2019
7:00 PM
Sponsored by

Co-presented by SPACE and Points North Institute


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