On July 4th, 2013, using the fireworks as her backdrop, Joanna Tam repeatedly said “I’m American” for the whole duration of the Independence Day fireworks celebration in Kingston, NY (17 minutes and 20 seconds). While she was filming the action, some people who were originally there watching the fireworks started to interact with her. A young man shouted “You are not” at Tam multiple times. A woman approached her, put her glow necklace around her neck and gave her a hug. Some people came next to her and said “I’m American” with her in front of the camera.
This action/intervention/video performance is one of Tam’s ongoing attempts that examine and challenge the notions of ethnicity and nationality through spoken language.
Joanna Tam is a Boston-based visual artist originally from Hong Kong. Her interdisciplinary practice examines the issues of standardization, displacement and the construction of ethnic and national identities. Joanna’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including venues in York, UK; Istanbul, Turkey; Cusco, Peru; New York; Brooklyn; Boston among others. Her work has been awarded the Best Art Film at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, UK (2012), the People’s Choice Award (Sub-Category) and the Third Prize at the Prix de la Photographie, Paris (2009). Joanna received an MFA degree in Studio Art from School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston / Tufts University.
Joanna Tam was a CPW Artist-in-Residence in 2013.