Tate Modern Film

James N. Kienitz Wilkins: This Action Lies

​James N. Kienitz Wilkins Mediums 2017, film still. Courtesy the artist

​James N. Kienitz Wilkins Mediums 2017, film still. Courtesy the artist

Catch the UK premiere of Wilkins’s new short film about the limits of observation

Artist and filmmaker James N. Kienitz Wilkins joins us to present and discuss the UK premiere of his new short film This Action Lies, screened alongside his 2017 work Mediums. Both films explore themes of language, performance and media technologies. They approach monologue as a way to fuse original scriptwriting with documentary sources such as found text.

Mediums is a medium-length movie filmed exclusively in medium shots about a group of potential jurors gathered on their break. The characters anticipate their involvement in the American legal system while channeling tips and advice to pass the day.

This Action Lies is a film about the limits of observation, about staring very hard at something while listening to something else. It unfolds as a mistrustful monologue analysing a common and underappreciated commercial product elevated through cinema to the status of a near-Platonic form.


Introduction by the artist

Mediums, United States 2017, Super 16mm transferred to digital, colour, sound, 38 min

This Action Lies, United States / Switzerland 2018, digital video, black and white, sound, 32 min

Discussion and Q&A with the artist and Tate Film curators

This screening is presented in collaboration with Gasworks, London, where James N. Kienitz Wilkins's solo exhibition Hearsays is on view 20 September – 16 December 2018.


James N. Kienitz Wilkins (b. 1983, United States) is an artist and filmmaker based in Brooklyn. His works are engaged in questions of language and performance, and how media technologies are rife with loops, failures, and abstractions. His films have screened at festivals and venues across the globe, including Locarno International Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Migrating Forms, Punto de Vista, CPH:DOX, MoMA PS1, New York Film Festival, 25FPS and Toronto International Film Festival. In 2017, he participated in the Whitney Biennial and had a retrospective at RIDM festival in Montreal. This year Kienitz Wilkins was selected for inclusion in transmediale and the Biennial of Moving Images, Geneva.

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

Entry via cafe

London SE1 9TG
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Date & Time

14 November 2018 at 18.30–20.40

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