Isaac Julien on SESCTV
As part of the show Isaac Julien: Geopoetics, SESCTV will air productions which are key to understanding the British artist’s work, starting on October 22. The series highlights his award-winning body of work from 1983 to 2008, offering a consistent sample of Isaac Julien’s grasp on the deep relationship between historical record and fiction.
Julien’s cinema originates from his involvement in cultural and aesthetical issues championed by the gay and black movements of 1980s England in a bid to conquer political and expressive territories. Starting in the 1990s, he developed a language based on the rhythmic fusion of elements from documentary, fictional narrative, visual arts, poetry, music, and choreography.
In statements given exclusively for the program, Isaac Julien comments on the films and the main issues involved in them. The program comprises seven episodes focusing on the themes of his work, and on his experimental handling of cinema language, which reverberates in his production of installation works.
The first episode, due to air on October 22, Passages: black box-white cube, an exclusive SESCTV production, outlines the history of Julien’s output, from the time he was in independent London film collectives until the international tour of Ten Thousand Waves.
Territories and identities, the second episode of the series (Oct 29) deals with the construction of identities amidst issues of territorial belonging, focusing on the relationship between different social groups and their manifestations. The episode includes the pieces Who killed Colin Roach? (1983) and Territories (1984).
In Looking for Langston (1989), Isaac draws parallels between a 1920s clandestine club and a 1980s London club, based on a lyrical and poetical interpretation of the life of Langston Hughes, a poet and a gay and black cultural icon. The piece is included in the episode to be aired on Nov 5, Poetics of gender.
Poetics in sexuality (Nov 12) presents two films which discuss the clash between desire and culture. Topics such as machismo rituals, misogyny, homophobia, and sexual fantasies are all elements of The darker side of black (1994) and The attendant (1993).
The following two episodes in the series are documentaries: The thinking of Fanon (Nov 19) focuses on the feature film Franz Fanon, Black Skin, White Mask, born out of the mission to reintegrate the ideas of Martinican anti-colonialist writer Frantz Fanon (1925-1961) into academic and artistic discourse.
Contemporary memories, the sixth show of the series (Nov 26) is a tribute documentary to the multi-artist and gay activist Derek Jarman (1942-1994). The film is based around an interview made as he faced imminent death, alongside the melancholy, fun Letter to an angel, written by friend and collaborator Tilda Swinton.
The series closes with Sea of screens (Dec 3), another SESCTV production focusing on Ten Thousand Waves (2010), including accounts from Isaac Julien and footage of preparations for the show and installation.
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Watch above full episodes of the series.