Kyle Wilkinson was born in Middletown, OH in 1984. He remained in the region until receiving his BFA in Motion Picture Production at Wright State University. After completing many award winning documentaries that largely focused on place and identity he began his MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University. Kyle’s most recent work focuses on merging documentary and photography creating malleable works of art that have the ability to be viewed in exhibit spaces as well as film festivals and the internet. Today we share his series, Middle Town.
In the Southwest region of Ohio, between a small and a smaller city, there is a moderately sized town named Middletown. An industry town, Middletown is home to 50,000 people and the lifeline of its community is AK Steel: the world’s first rolling steel mill. The rolling hills and quaint homes kaleidoscope with the jagged sidewalks and boarded up windows. The global shift and local downturn in the steel industry has resulted in a fragmented scape within which the community members apprehensively celebrate their roots, their current successes and their uncertain future. Proclaimed residents of a dying city, the Middletown citizens defy outsider’s perspective of their town and work harder today knowing the uncertainty of tomorrow.
This documentary project investigates the tension found between what those on the outside see and what those within the city live. It simultaneously acknowledges the derelict aesthetic to the town while praising the vitality and fervor of its residents critiquing the outside voices who have preemptively labeled the hot strip’s flames extinguished.
To view more of Kyle’s work, please visit his website.