Isaac Julien: Playtime
An in-depth account of Julien’s acclaimed 2013 film installation exploring the intertwined lives of art and capitalism
For his multiscreen film installations, the internationally lauded British artist Isaac Julien (born 1960) draws from a plethora of disciplines―film, dance, photography, music, theater, painting and sculpture―in order to assemble visual narratives that challenge the social, political and economic status quo. Playtime documents Julien’s groundbreaking 2013 film of the same name. A response to the global banking and financial crisis that convulsed the world five years prior, the film follows six characters: the Artist, the Hedge Fund Manager, the Auctioneer, the House Worker, the Art Dealer and the Reporter, exploring how each is affected by capital and the global financial crisis. The film features performances from acclaimed actors including James Franco, Maggie Cheung, Mercedes Cabral, Colin Salmon and Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, along with world-famous auctioneer Simon de Pury, who plays himself. Together, the vignettes demonstrate the levels at which capital impacts the production, dealing and collecting of contemporary art, as well as the lives affected by the system.