Isaac Julien – ‘I’m Interested in Poetry’ | TateShots

Isaac Julien, CBE, is an award winning filmmaker and installation artist. He rose to prominence with the 1989 film Looking for Langston, a poetic documentary and homage to Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. His work has since explored a variety of issues including black identity, diaspora, migration and capital.

Julien was born in 1960 in London, where he currently lives and works. In this film we visit the artist in his studio to explore three key works across his career:

Looking for Langston (1969) is a lyrical exploration, and recreation, of the private world of poet, novelist and playwright, Langston Hughes (1902-1967) and his fellow black artists from the Harlem Renaissance.

Playtime (2014) follows six characters: the Artist, the Hedge Fund Manager, the Auctioneer, the House Worker, the Art Dealer, and the Reporter, exploring how each is affected by capital and the global financial crisis. The work also exists as a seven-screen installation.

Ten Thousand Waves (2010) poetically explores the movement of people across countries and continents and meditates on unfinished journeys, and also exists as a nine-screen installation.

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