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Isaac Julien: ‘Ten Thousand Waves’

Gay News - San Diego

Chameleon (Ten Thousand Waves): Isaac Julien

If you are a fan of avant-garde cinema and you are familiar with gallery-based video then you might have noticed the two separate media beginning to blur at the edges. Someone who has taken advantage of this trend and maybe even helped invent it is British artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien.

Julien became an art star in 1989 with the release of Looking for Langston, a poetic exploration of Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance. Julien’s work has since been associated with breaking down the barriers between different artistic disciplines, drawing from and commenting on film, dance, photography, music, theater, painting and sculpture. Thematically, then and now, much of his work relates to experiences of black and gay identity (he is himself gay), including issues of class, sexuality, artistic and cultural history.

Julien is therefore ahead of the curve as far as this melding of experimental museum work and avant-garde cinema is concerned. That continues to be the case with a new nine screen installation titled Ten Thousand Waves. Presented in the 4,500-square-foot Farrell Gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego Downtown, Ten Thousand Waves weaves together three stories linking China’s ancient past and present. Following ideas surrounding death, spiritual displacement, and the uniquely Chinese connection with “ghosts,” the film links the Shanghai of the past and present, symbolizing the Chinese transition toward modernity and affluence.

Ten Thousand Waves is 50 minutes long and a remarkably immersive experience. So give yourself plenty of time to sit in the large, cool, dimly lit space. Let the images and sounds wash over you as Julien’s poetic stories unfold.



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Posted by on Mar 19, 2012. Filed under Section 4A. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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