Queen of nightlife’ and ‘Darling of the art world’ are among her ever-growing army of avatars and selves. She has released a remix with Björk and performed poetry art at the MoMA in New York. Her work is truly multidisciplinary. The lady’s not for settling. Juliana produces and remixes politically and culturally defiant music, poetry, photography, installation art, performance art, painting – and she even published a book, Mucus in My Penal Gland.
Juliana offers a key critical voice on identity, as well as, specifically, her own identity as a black trans woman. Her work comments on different forms of reality through the lens of her personal structural experience. Inseparable from the political, the personal is our opportunity for disobedience, and Juliana plays with this concept through her ever- evolving portrait of selfhood. Ahead of her Boiler Room set in Berlin, Juliana speaks about truth, liberation, fantasy, play and identity.
“The metric for realness is moving” identifies Juliana in conversation with Flaunt magazine. But where to? Reality, or truth, and how we can or should represent it, has been grappled with since ancient times. Plato calls theatre “A bad lie”, and Horace finds truth is in “Nature”. Western academia’s idea of what truth, or reality, is has ricocheted between religious truth to scientific truth and then to personal truth in existentialism. Following this idea, art has the capacity to take on new importance in understanding what truth is, since it displays personal truth.
Juliana’s art leads us away from existentialism and into the 21st century’s hyper- reality: the idea that we cannot distinguish between the real and the simulated. Whilst her art retains some threads of self-given truth, Juliana’s practice mainly reflects on the complex web of political, digital, fantastical and bodily references in which her truth functions. Juliana’s art (her fake newspaper editing in particular) is actually a very good lie, rather than the false representation, or ‘bad lie’, as Plato would have it. She is witty, intelligent and critical of sensationalism. She proposes to play with the truth- giving structures, which fail her, in order to defy them. Juliana disputes the function of truth: how it is built, by whom and why.