Shanghai Dreams

In 2004, 21 clam diggers, who were also illegal Chinese immigrants, drowned at high tide off the coast of England. Known as the Morecambe Bay Tragedy, the deaths symbolized the grim exile experience in Britain because language barriers or xenophobia might have contributed to the mass drowning. When artist Isaac Julien learned of the deaths, he commissioned Chinese poet Wang Ping to write “Small Boats.” So moved by her poem, he spent the next four years creating Ten Thousand Waves, a film installation exploring global human migration. Filmed in the beautifully remote Guangxi Province as well as in Shanghai locales, the project follows the ethereal goddess Mazu as she leads fishermen to safety. The film, via a nine-screen installation, relies on Chinese ghost stories and superstitions to explore death, displacement, and modernity. Ten Thousand Waves features famed Chinese starlets Maggie Cheung and Zhao Tao as well as calligrapher Gong Fagen, and is scored by Jah Wobble and the Chinese Dub Orchestra. The Bass Museum, in partnership with Puma.Creative, announces Isaac Julien/Creative Caribbean Network, a solo exhibition presenting the most comprehensive selection of the artist’s films and photographs in nearly ten years, including the US Premiere of Ten Thousand Waves. Opening Thursday and running through March 6, the exhibit also includes Julien’s earlier series Paradise Omeros, Baltimore, and Vagabondia.
Wednesdays-Sundays, noon. Starts: Dec. 2. Continues through March 6, 2010
 
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