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Hej, I am Jue Yang (pronounced as Jué). I'm an artist, writer and filmmaker living in Rotterdam. I am participating four modules at Fabricademy (Waag, Amsterdam) from Oct-Dec 2022.

About me and my research

I moved to the Netherlands in 2018 for a Master's program in Lens-based Media where I made documentary films and acquired a deeper understanding of image-making. After graduation (during the pandemic) I mainly wrote articles — I was a writer before I was a filmmaker :) — and made short films. With much time spent on the screen — producing, viewing and distributing my work — I felt a need to go beyond the audio-visual framework and to work with tactility.

For a good part of the year I was working on an installation with my collaborator Ying-Ting Shen (aritst/designer). In this installation, things suspend in the air: clouds sewn with paper, dry plants captured in thin metal balls, sprouts growing in pouches made out of bubble wraps. Among the objects are two embroidery hoops, onto which my films projected... The installation and films have been on exhibit ("Units of Keeping") at the Rotterdam space Daily Practice (Oct 23-Dec 11, 2022).

detail of installation

From Oct 2022-Apr 2023, I am receiving an O&O grant from CBK Rotterdam (Center for Visual Arts Rotterdam) to carry out my research on tactility and tactile connection in a more structured manner. I have titled the project Inventory of tacitlity: an explorative journey into connection and engagement, throughout which I will experiment with materials and processes, visit other artists/makers whose work inspire me and host showcases of what I have found/made in my studio.

As I looked for workshops and courses that would expand my knowledge, I came across Fabricademy and thought it fit my current interest almost prefectly! I eventually signed up for four modules. In Biofabrication (week 6) and Textile as Scaffolding (week 9), I want to learn about the construction of materials and new ways of making them. In Computational Couture (week 7) and Soft Robotics (week 12), I want to gain knowledge of different types of tactile structures. These four weeks will feed the next stages of my research and making, and I am excited about that.

Here is a film I made in 2019, if you are curious about my films. For my recent portfolio and CV, see my website

My research questions

  • Where are the (potential) "sites of touch" when the viewer encounters the image?
  • What kind of materials can foster a sense of connectedness for the viewer (so much so that they want to reach out with their hands)? Eg. with a story, smell, look, symbol...?
  • How do materials lead to "touch" — the willingness to know, understand and believe? Eg. through texture, surface, shape, volume...?
  • How do I add tactility to the flat surface of the image (which by its very addition create new meanings and ways of meaning-making)? Eg. by projecting onto fabricated surface, using image as part of the material, recreating the image with material...?

Goals for the four weeks

During the four weeks, I will add to the "inventory of tactility" by documenting:

  • materials I have created and structures I have experiemented with
  • methods I use analyze, examine and categorize them
  • recipes to replicate experiments
  • implications for future work inspired by these experimentations

Another important aspect for me to attend this program is to familiarize myself with the network of makers and the Waag futurelab. By sharing space (in person or virtual) with people who are interested in the same subjects and methods, I hope to develop a network of potential collaborators for future projects.

Previous work

Before moving to the Netherlands, I was a playwright with a day job as a technologist. I lived in the United States for the first nine years of my adult life, went to college in Vermont where I studied geography and architecture and later worked in Washington DC and New York City. At my first job, I learned web programming. My work then consisted of designing and developing websites with a large component of data visualization. At my second job, I coached journalism students how to investigate data and build interative stories in their reporting.

While my professional identity was recognized by my colleagues and at conferences, I felt it was taking over my life and masking who I truely am. Deep down I knew I needed to write and create to feel like myself and be seen as so. At night and on weekends, I went to playwriting workshops, attended directing and dramaturgy classes, and self-produced plays in what people would call off-off-broadway theaters.

Then, with a thing called visa expiration, a force I could not reckon with, I had to leave the US. (My pre-adult life was spent in China and I have a Chinese passport.) I was nomadic for a year, a bit lost and very homesick for New York. After much traveling, an illness in a foreign land and a few self-initiated artist residencies, meeting people from all continents and islands, wandering in the city of great sun, bathing at the shore of blue ice and crossing the plains of tomorrow — after beach and rain, time and dust, two and a half seas and a vast ocean — trying and forgetting and suddenly waking, tired but recovered, grieved yet hopeful, I came to the Netherlands, becoming.

Last update: 2022-11-22