I am Isaac Julien, an artist and filmmaker working across different art forms, such as film installation, photography and cinema, but with a particularly strong connection to the moving image. I am proud to say that one of my early artworks, the film installation Looking for Langston (1989) was described by Ruby B. Rich as the Rosetta stone of the ‘New Queer Cinema’. While my artistic and academic practices have delved into a number of formal and theoretical topics, encompassing technological and artistic innovation, the framework of queer culture has permeated a lot of my poetics and work over several decades, as exemplified by my biopic of Derek Jarman.
My first contact with Queercircle was at an event held by Victoria Miro Gallery in London, during my exhibition I Dream a World in 2017. The exhibition was focused on my photographic works from Looking For Langston and Queercircle organised a fantastic public event and exhibition tour of the show, in which we had the liveliest discussion and creative intergenerational queer responses. It included poetry readings and performances, in what felt like a proper ‘safe space’ for younger queer people to express their ideas and thoughts. I felt an instant rapport with Queercircle’s vision and mission. This first impression was a very strong one, and left me convinced that Queercircle could grow to position itself at the centre of a most timely debate, fundamentally connected to our Zeitgeist and how we must evolve in the way we think about art, politics, and cultural history.
While diversity, identity and representation become more regular topics of public debate and reflection, queer people and LGBTQ+ cultural expressions are still in need of more organised spaces and systematic ways to establish dialogues and exchange ideas. Also, with polarising discourses making it harder and harder to go beyond simplistic, dichotomic worldviews, we need organisations like Queercircle to advocate complexity, nuance and multiplicity in face of ever growing political changes where communities still face injustice and discrimination.