Isaac Julien’s celebrated films and multi-channel video installations bridge documentary cinema and the fine arts, and bring critical analysis to issues of globalisation and transnationalism. TEN THOUSAND WAVES (2010) has its world premiere at the Biennale of Sydney. In this major work, Julien returns once more to consideration of diaspora and globalisation and examines from a poetic and artistic standpoint the motivations of need and desire that drive people to undertake perilous journeys to achieve a better life. By tracing the migrants' culture through history and myth, Julien’s nine-screen installation uses parallel montage and the image of water – the sandy waters of Lancashire, the Yangtze River and the Shanghai Bund – as a symbol of danger, trade, modernity, mystery and economic power. A ghostly protagonist leads the viewer through a story that entwines legend with modern China.