Isaac Julien, CBE RA is an artist, filmmaker, and educator whose multi-screen film installations and photographs incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language. His 1989 documentary-drama exploring author Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance titled Looking for Langston garnered Julien a cult following while his 1991 debut feature Young Soul Rebels won the Semaine de la Critique prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Having recently worked on conserving and restoring Looking for Langston images from his extensive archive, he exhibited photographic works at Victoria Miro Gallery, London (2017), Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco (2016) and Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam (2016) with a screening of the film in its original 16mm print at Tate Britain.
On April 7, Julien will preview and discuss his current works, Lessons of the Hour and A Marvellous Entanglement (2019).
Lessons of the Hour is a poetic meditation on the life and times of Frederick Douglass, the ten-screen film installation proposes a contemplative journey into Douglass' zeitgeist and its relationship to contemporaneity. The film includes excerpts of Douglass' most arresting speeches and allusions to his private and public milieus. The multiple screen installation and photographic series A Marvellous Entanglement traverses a collection of Lina Bo Bardi’s most iconic buildings, offering a meditation on the work and legacy of the visionary modernist architect and designer (1914–1992). He is currently a Distinguished Professor of the Arts at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he is developing the Isaac Julien Lab.
The discussant for this event is Professor Patricia J. Williams, one of the most provocative intellectuals in American law and a pioneer of both the law and literature and critical race theory movements in American legal theory. She holds a joint appointment between the School of Law and the Department of Philosophy and Religion in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities and is also director of Law, Technology and Ethics Initiatives in the School of Law and the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.
Professor Williams has published widely in the areas of race, gender, literature and law. Her books, including The Alchemy of Race and Rights (Harvard University Press, 1991), illustrate some of America’s most complex societal problems and challenge our ideas about socio-legal constructs of race and gender. Her work remains at the cutting edge of legal scholarship. Drawing on her prior interrogation of race, gender and personhood, Professor Williams’ current research raises core questions of individual autonomy and identity in the context of legal and ethical debates on science and technology. Her work in the area of health and genetics, for example, questions how racial formation is shaped by the legal regulation of private industry and government. Her work on algorithms grapples with the auditing function of technology in our everyday lives — shaping how we understand who we are.
To watch this event live on Princeton's Media Central click here.