Jacques Julien

As the only "sports guy" in a field of filmmakers, painters, musicians, poets and philosophers, I expected to put aside my athletic affections while at EGS in favour of a full immersion in media, communication and the arts. So I was pleasantly surprised when the theme of sport popped up frequently and in the most unexpected ways during my time in Saas-Fee.

Ethylic, 2003 - Courtesy of Jacques Julien
Ethylic, 2003. Acier, bois, peinture 240 X 160 X 140 cms, cour des beaux arts, Chatellerault

My first unexpected encounter came via the work of Jacques Julien. Julien is a French sculptor who uses the structural elements of sport — predominantly basketball net apparatuses — as the materials for his sculptures.

My friend Gail suggested that some of Julien's work evokes a Planet of the Apes-meets-the-NBA feel. She's not far off: while Julien's sculpture stands on its own, my first exposure to it was through a collaborative video work between him and Pierre Alferi titled Ça commence à Séoul.

Julien's sculpture was used to illustrate a poem written by Alferi in tribute to Jules Verne. In the postmodern turn, the verse of the poem was partly made by cutting up the captions to the illustrations in Verne's many books and repasting them. The DVD then becomes a fantastic voyage through the world of Micronesie, in which Julien (through image) and Alferi (though text) conjure the spirit of Verne's fantasy.

Basketball (6) - Courtesy of Jacques Julien
Basket ball ( 6 ) 1998. Acier, longueur totale 2000 cm, Villa Arson, Nice

In this sense, one can very much imagine Jules Verne's fecund mind conjuring up a futuristic world in which — centuries after the NBA and its low post colonialism decline — local cultures of expressivity repurpose these artifacts of modern sport to other ends.


2 responses to Jacques Julien

- rss feed for this comment thread
  1. sportsBabel » On Massumi's Logic of Relation: Field says:

    [...] in a fashion far more pronounced than in soccer, can be played in more informal variations on a single goal or basket (or with three goals for that [...]

  2. jacques julien says:

    thank you for your interest.