Kim Doan Quoc - Visual Artist FF#18

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Kim Doan Quoc is a multi-disciplinary artist, originally from Lille, France now based between Budapest, Hungary and NYC, USA. Her work ranges from analogue photography, VJ-ing, video installations and projection mapping to writing and performance. Having regularly displayed her work at exhibitions, screenings, performances and a variety of publications since 2011, she’s built an enviable catalogue of mixed media work. I first stumbled across Kim this Spring while I was DJ-ing in Budapest, at the queer performance/art/music party Slant; her video projections were dancing behind me on the walls while I played and I was instantly mesmerised and wowed by her work. We’re super excited for her to be providing the visuals for our party this weekend 25th Aug, with Techno queen Louisahhh!

I had a quick chat with Kim, to find out a little about her background, inspirations and what we have in store for Saturday.

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Kim Doan Quoc

Hi Kim, I can’t express how excited we are to have your visuals on display at our Femmme Fraiche party this coming Saturday. So let’s begin at the beginning, what was your first steps into the visual art world, what inspired you to create your first works and step into the realm of visual artist, and how has your journey developed since.

Well at first I was really into drawing which is how I ended up in art school in the first place. There I got more interested in photography and video installations and then performances. I started VJing that time with short loops I cut from porno for techno parties in squats in Lille. Thanks to a formation with “Les rencontres Audiovisuelles” in my hometown, I met Glowing Bulbs, a badass visual collective from Budapest. They've been together for 20 years now and started with installations using kodak slide projectors in the 90's Budapest free parties, they are digital heroes with beer bellies. I became the cat of the crew, going back and forth between learning stuff from them and working on my own art practice for almost 2 years now.

So i've been digging into your own work, it seems wou work in a range of media, from video, photography, performance, VJ, projection mapping, writing and more, but what would you say is your preferred medium? And do you prefer working in analogue or digital?

I don't think I'd ever be able to choose between analogue and digital as I'm mixing both in most of my work. Drawing on paper is the basis of the lot of my vj loops and I often scan my analog pictures to use in printed editions. My favorite medium changes quite often. Most of the time I choose a medium because I find it more relevant towards what I want to express as an idea, talking about building an art piece of course. Right now, I'm more focused on building wearable interactive objects I can use in my performances, like the LED mask i use in “Do you see me?”, (pictured left) that I performed in Slant when we met.

Yes, that's a realy powerful piece. I’ve noticed many of your works have a similar theme, exploring the intimacy and representation of the body, mostly the masculine body, in various contrasting contexts in its most raw, yet most delicate form. What is it that makes you gravitate towards this subject matter?

Being attracted to masculinity in its various shapes, I often felt disappointed towards the lack of its representation and nuances in art. As we know, there are tons of representations of feminine bodies designed by male artists, but a lot less work of female artists giving their point of view about masculinity. I produced those images to participate in the collective imagery in a way that challenges the omnipresent male gaze.

You also have a number of projects, which beautifully explore intimate relationships, including your own. Most notably your 2016 project ‘Touch you overseas’ and ‘Considering the boys’. Do you find it easier drawing inspiration from your own experiences? and do you ever struggle artistically sharing things so intimately private and emotionally raw?

Most of my projects deal with my personal relationships and experiences. I do believe that even if these experiences are very personal, a lot of people identify with them as they have experienced similar situations. We are never the only ones. Sharing my intimacy out of heteronormative conventions is a way to appropriate my sexuality and to address the people who also don't identify with these norms. I believe it is necessary to built a new collective imagery of desire that needs to be more inclusive. Every love and/or sex story, every body has a political dimension in that sense

It is difficult to share privacy for different reasons. First, as the other is implied, you are responsible for the representation of their body and persona, it is something to be very careful about. Then, there is censorship, often amplified by the way the narration is gendered. “Touch you overseas” for example was made for a paper publication, it is a tale of a distant relationship and how we lived our sexuality through virtuality. I was sharing my view of this situation, my frustrated desire for my boyfriend at that time. The funny thing is, that the editor asked me to remove some pics of my boyfriend and replace them with pictures of myself, to “have a more balanced point of view” and not wanting their “audience to drown in dicks” as there was a lot gay contributions to the book already. But the view wasn't shared, I selected the pictures and the words from my internet history, to express my own frustration. Literally my mind at that time was drowning in dicks. I still don't know what they published in the end as they never sent a copy of the photo book or gave any news after this exchange (VANDALS if you read us...).

Your VJ work and projection mapping work, of course shows your more digitally accomplished side, these works appear to be more abstract, what’s your inspiration from these works and how do you go about creating your visuals.

The abstraction isn't always the go to when I'm working with projection mapping. The performance “ It Must be Terrible to be Stuck in Your Own Body “ we put together with Daniella Lagaccia in NYC for example is also based on intimate experiences and figurative regarding content. Daniella shared her body, mapped with drawings and compositions of female bodies, expressing the struggles and thoughts she's going through as trans-woman. My VJ work of course is something else as it is displayed most of the time in a party context, which is very different from an exhibition space. I create my loops in a different ways, from hand drawn animations, video footage I took when I was travelling, shape and photography animations in after effects, found footage from porn and cartoons... I just try and mix a bunch of different things, Vjing is my experimentation playground for shapes.

What projects are you currently working on at the moment and where else can we see your work?

I am currently curating a selection a video works for a projection on the Manhattan Bridge with Light Year in Dumbo-Brooklyn for the month of October. I'm very excited about it as the location is extraordinary. I will also VJ with Glowing Bulbs at Output Greyscale this saturday in Brooklyn for Rebekah, another amazing Techno Queen. I love what she does so I'm definitely impatient for this one!

Of course you can also see my work on my socials (Links Below)

And finally what do you have in store for us at Femmme Fraiche this coming Saturday?

I prepared a montage of different loops I use the most in parties. I hope you'll enjoy it! It's a mix of hand drawn and afx animations, found footages and some videos from a trip in Vietnam. The butterflies are from Cat Tien jungle

Wonderful stuff! So there you have it, a small glimpse into the background and inspirations of the incredibly talented Kim Doan Quoc. I've had a sneek peak at the visuals, and we're certainly in for a treat. Head down to the basement of Dalston Superstore Saturday to see her visuals in action and don't forget to check out her work and support her on her socials below!