by Isaac Julien, United Kingdom 2003, 12'
  • 2003, 16mm, B&W/ Color, DVD transfer, sound, 12’
  • director Isaac Julien
  • starring Melvin van Peebles, Vanessa Myrie
  • photography Toshiaki Ozawa
  • sound and music designer Andy Cowton
  • editing Adam Finch
  • producer Angie Daniell, (USA) Andrew Fierberg
  • executive producer Isaac Julien
  • co-cproduced byThe Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum and FACT,
  • The Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool
  • in association with The Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Baltimore, The George Peabody Library of The John Hopkins University,
  • Baltimore e Eyebeam, Moving Image Division, New York
  • fsponsored byFACT, Peter Norton Family Foundation,The National Endowment for the Arts, Linda Pace, Toby Lewis and Christopher E. Vroom and Illya Szilak
  • presented together with Victoria Miro Gallery

Presented at Lo schermo dell'arte 2012

The three featured films started out as multi-channel audiovisiual installations projected on large screens, and are linked by their settings – architectural and natural landscapes – which are both background and thematic motives, closely bound to the presence of a wandering enigmatic figure incarnated by actress Vanessa Myrie. While Baltimore constitutes a selfstanding work, True North and The Leopard (which in the installational version was titled Western Union: Small Boats, 2007) belong to a trilogy.

Inspired by “blaxploitation movies”, Baltimore is an homage to African-American actor/director Melvin Van Peebles, who pioneered the genre with Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971). Against a futuristic setting, we follow Van Peebles, as himself, and his mysterious antagonist, Afro Cyborg (played by Vanessa Myrie), through the spaces of the Walters Art Museum, the Contemporary Museum and the Great Blacks in Wax Museum: three of the city’s emblematic places, pulled together by the artist in a fascinating, bizarre virtual trail. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 KunstFilm Biennale in Cologne.

Isaac Julien
Artist and filmmaker, Julien was nominated for the Turner Prize (2001) and he was the recipient of the Performa Award (2008), the prestigious Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts (2001) and the Frameline Lifetime Achievement Award (2002). His work Paradise Omeros was presented as part of Documenta11 in Kassel (2002) and in 2003 he won the Grand Jury Prize at the Kunstfilm Biennale in Cologne for his single-screen version of Baltimore.
Isaac Julien was visiting lecturer at Harvard University’s Schools of Afro-American and Visual Environmental Studies and a faculty member of the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Arts. He was also a research fellow at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and is currently a professor of Media Art at Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe, Germany. Julien is represented in museum and private collections throughout the world, including Tate, Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum in New York,
Centre Pompidou, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington and the Brandhorst.

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