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Isaac Julien
In 2001, Isaac Julien was nominated for the Turner Prize, the prestigious British contemporary art award which, every year, ritually reheats the leftovers of that old and distinctly unfulfilling question "Is it Art?" In the case of Isaac Julien, who was nominated for his film-installation work, the question that might have been more usefully asked was "Is it cinema?"

It's a question to which he already had an answer. In an interview with Sight and Sound in 1999, Julien stated: "The categories of fine art and cinema are outmoded ways of describing moving image culture. Film has always incorporated all the arts: some have embellished its journey to maturity, others have killed it. In a sense you could say cinema is dead and it's up to artists to resurrect it." ['In Two Worlds': Sight and Sound July 1999] With these words Julien articulates a familiar vision of cinema, one that's both time-honoured (Cinema as the 'Seventh Art', the one that absorbs all others within it) as well as timely (Cinema migrating to the gallery and museum not as a relic or antique but in order to rehearse its own possible future). But as a filmmaker who has successfully survived twenty years of negotiating both worlds of art and cinema - producing film, video, installations and work for TV - Julien is well-placed to make such an observation.

It's a question to which he already had an answer. In an interview with Sight and Sound in 1999, Julien stated: "The categories of fine art and cinema are outmoded ways of describing moving image culture. Film has always incorporated all the arts: some have embellished its journey to maturity, others have killed it. In a sense you could say cinema is dead and it's up to artists to resurrect it." ['In Two Worlds': Sight and Sound July 1999] With these words Julien articulates a familiar vision of cinema, one that's both time-honoured (Cinema as the 'Seventh Art', the one that absorbs all others within it) as well as timely (Cinema migrating to the gallery and museum not as a relic or antique but in order to rehearse its own possible future). But as a filmmaker who has successfully survived twenty years of negotiating both worlds of art and cinema - producing film, video, installations and work for TV - Julien is well-placed to make such an observation.

Still from Territories by Isaac Julien, 1984
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