Drawing Entanglements

Joyce Yam

ECU Award Recipient

Renée Van Halm + Pietro Widmer Graduation Award for Visual Arts – Honourable Mention

Installation views from the MFA Low-Residency thesis exhibition A Distant Presence
RBC Gallery at Emily Carr University 2023

Project Description

During my studies in the MFA program at Emily Carr University, I have been researching and making work that reveals socio-political issues related to the failures of a neoliberal capitalistic system. These issues have lead to extinction cascades/destruction of environments and have enabled the commodification of other living beings and normalized horrendous un(living) spaces for human and nonhuman beings. In making aesthetic experiences about nonhuman relations, I am hoping to reveal the complexity of human exceptionalism and new ways of being and knowing, while hopefully moving towards a new mode of being that allows us to exist with mutual respect and dignity.

For the last two years, I have been drawn to the medium of stop-motion animation because of its ability to document spatial changes in time and to allow the experience of imperceptible forces. There are numerous possibilities of playing with this space-time continuum to bring an awareness of entanglements in the past-present-future. I am interested in thinking-through the impacts of erasure as an act of effacing non-dominant marks that are often forgotten over time and how these traces can be recalled and remembered. My art practice has been looking at these complicated relationships and attempting to communicate the feeling and conviction that everything is intrinsically linked.

For installation, Drawing Entanglements, I presented three animations, (1) Floating/Falling, (2) Folding/Unfolding, (3) Seen/Unseen as well as a loop of four animations Populace, Cycle’n’, Places Where We Were Never Meant to Survive I and II. For the installation I want to create an immersive space that will incorporate different strategies for transforming the predominant anthropocentric worldview. The approaches I incorporate in the installation use different optics of viewing – reconfiguring ways of seeing and listening. The installation is aiming to include different perspectives/narratives, new ethics of caring, and approaches which alter experience of time and active remembering – taking something apart to make anew. In the installation, I use evocative harmonious sounds-vibrations as they offer something so immediate to our bodies and reconnect us to the rhythms of the universe. The soundscape played throughout the installation space is a mixture of running water, steam engines, buzzing bees and heartbeats. In trying to comprehend the power of art and how it can help with urgent matters, the something-to-be-done, I am trying to create a space that shows the interwovenness of all beings and the way we are all implicated in our futures.

Videos Projected in the Installation

Folding/Unfolding, 2023
Duration: (1:59min) loop
Medium: Stop Motion
Role: Animator, Sound
Floating/Falling, 2023
Duration: (1:25min) loop
Medium: Stop Motion
Role: Animator, Sound Design
Seen/Unseen, 2023
Duration: (1:47min) loop
Medium: Stop Motion
Role: Animator, Sound Design
Compilation: Populace, cycle ‘n’, Places Where We Were Never Meant to Survive I and II, 2022
Duration: (0:38min), (0:40min), (1:20min), (1:00min) loop
Medium: Stop Motion
Role: Animator, Sound Design

Silkscreen-prints based on the animations

Medium: Silkscreen on paper, 15” x 22”, 2023
Role: Drawer and Printer

Joyce Yam

Profile image of Joyce Yam