This paper explores the intertextual practices of Isaac Julien employed in his multi-channel installation work “Ten Thousand Waves” and the film “Better Life”, a reconfiguration of the former for a single screen. It is argued that these two works presuppose the recognition of the relationship of Julien’s cinematic images to specific works from Chinese cinema, literature and art. Quotations and allusions used by Isaac Julien are analyzed in terms proposed by Mieke Bal: that of the dispersal of origins, that of the undecidability of meaning, and that of the shifting location of meaning. Following Rosalind Galt in her research on the category of the pretty, this paper discusses both Julien’s works within the aesthetics of the surface, where the pretty intersects with the decorative, the ornamental, the colourful, and the picturesque.
|Keywords:||“Better Life”, Intertextuality, Isaac Julien, The Picturesque, The Pretty, ‘Ten Thousand Waves’|
Lecturer, Department of Culture and Design, Information Systems Management Institute, Riga, Latvia