Q&A with New Cinema Days Artist, Yambe Tam

Mon 17 Apr 2023

New Cinema Days starts this week, so we caught up with selected artist Yambe Tam to uncover the creative ethos behind her work, and bringing new forms of art to the Yorkshire Dales…

What is the creative ethos that underpins your work?
The void is at the centre of my practice, meaning a sensibility of slowness, fluidity, and planetary-scale thinking, a contemplation of reality as something built through the sensorium and therefore illusory, changeable, and uncertain. Yet within this uncertainty lies infinite potential: the void is also a portal to further interpretations of reality – human and nonhuman, terrestrial and cosmic, present day and speculative future.
What are you hoping to get out of New Cinema Days? 
Being able to experiment with different equipment I normally don’t have access to. There are a few different ideas I’ve had for how viewers would interact with Void Salutation, so this will be helpful in determining which one to pursue. I’m also looking forward to meeting and forming new connections with others working in new cinema.
Will you be working in formats that are new to you during this process? 
With the equipment available, I’ll be creating a responsive interaction between the work and physical movement of the viewer’s body, and possibly my body. This will probably be the most linear format I’ve worked in as well, as my previous digital works are more videogame-based.
Tell us more about your collaboration with Albert Barbu. Have you worked together before or is this the first project together? 
Albert is a creative software developer who develops interactive exhibits for museums and cultural institutions. He’s a long-term collaborator and we’ve worked together before on VR and AR projects. His background is in interaction design and creative technology, so he brings a more technical and design-led approach to the works we make.
As a practicing artist, what’s the most important thing an organisation can do to support you? 
At this stage, I would say support to develop and exhibit new work as I have several project ideas that I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to realise.
What’s next for you?
Albert and I will be completing an artist residency at the Wellcome Centre for Ethics & Humanities, University of Oxford, with an exhibition of new work that delves into the philosophical and ethical questions that accompany collective-mind technologies (BCIs, BBIs, BCBIs). We’ve been working with the Rethinking Collective Minds research team at the university to create a multiplayer videogame which allows audiences to experience these questions as collective beings. This will also be accompanied by a sculptural installation.
I’ll be part of a group exhibition curated by Thorp Stavri opening at the Royal Society of Sculptors in London from 25 May to 8 July, which will then be travelling to the Art House in Wakefield. This will feature works by the artists who were part of the 2022 Gilbert Bayes Award cohort.
I will also be presenting new work with Chrysalis Arts in North Yorkshire at the end of May, as a culmination of an artist residency with them at the Art Depot in Gargrave. The works will respond to the unique landscape, ecology, and history of the area.

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