Artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien and Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author Hilton Als first met in the late 1980s, when Julien was researching his seminal 1989 film Looking for Langston. Als went on to become one of the writers of the film, a lyrical exploration of the private world of poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist Langston Hughes (1902–1967) and his fellow black artists and writers who formed what would become known as the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s.
On the occasion of Julien’s exhibition of photographic works “I Dream a world” Looking for Langston, at Victoria Miro (until 29 July 2017), they discuss the genesis of the film, their shared love of Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, the work’s relationship to black gay desire, to AIDS and to questions of discrimination, and how, as Julien says, “these questions return to haunt the present".
Looking for Langston will be screened at Tate Britain on Thursday 20 July. More details here