This article examines ways of seeing China in Isaac Julien's nine-screen film installation Ten Thousand Waves (2010), which represents a migratory aesthetic based on evocative translocality and mobile spectatorship. As Julien reconstructs the legend of compassionate Mazu (played by Maggie Cheung) and memories of Old and New Shanghai (both enacted by Zhao Tao), his screen images and sounds enter a constant circulation and form an intriguing multidirectional dialogue across a variety of media and genres: cinema, art photography, calligraphy, painting, poetry, and star performance. In addition to evaluating new concepts and new techniques at work in the cross-fertilization of cinema and other visual media in the new millennium, this article complicates Julien's celebrated political poetics by highlighting his problematic reception by ethnic Chinese spectators and by reckoning with the specter of orientalism that refuses to go away despite his previously audacious repudiation of stereotypes and clichés and his professed engagement with cosmopolitanism and globalization.

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