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Ten Thousand Waves is a complex nine-screen piece that interweaves a number of ghost-like stories, unwinding simultaneously. Shot on location in China, it involves footage of contemporary Shanghai together with period scenes set on the back lots of the mid 20th-century Shanghai film studios. Julien casts Maggie Cheung as the time-travelling goddess Mazu, from the 15th-century mythological Tale of Yishin Island. Mazu hovers over the rolling oceans, rescuing sailors who have become lost at sea, guiding them to the island to find solace. Through all of this is intercut footage and audio from the 2004 Morcambe Bay tragedy, when 23 Chinese immigrant cockle-pickers were drowned in the tidal waters off the north west coast of England. Ten Thousand Waves meditates on the construction of myths, of how we formulate stories in order to fathom the unfathomable. Dramatically, we see Maggie Cheung’s stunt double suddenly revealed on flying wires against green-screen, being blown across set. The book is bound in green-screen cloth, and on the back cover is a plan of the arrangement of the nine screens of the installation — a broken up raft, adrift at sea.
Jan 1, 201012.3 x 9.3 inches ISBN: 9780956686206 Hardcover Isaac Julien Studio and Victoria Miro Gallery