Circumplex, an audiovisual installation by independent director/editor Kai-Duc Luong marked The Vilcek Foundation’s inaugural venture into the realm of video art. Intended to fully engulf the viewer in a world of emotional extremes, Luong peeled back the nuanced layers of a relationship between a man and a woman, who were seen speaking to and interacting with each other from opposing screens, reaching for but unable to touch. Drawn in part from the artist’s own interpersonal struggles and successes, and loosely constructed around the eight bipolar emotions charted by psychologist Robert Plutchik, Luong took viewers through a series of emotional diptychs–anger and fear, joy and sadness, trust and disgust, anticipation and surprise. To more completely envelop viewers in this intimate and theatrical exchange of feelings, Luong digitally imposed footage of the exhibit space as background for the film.
Born in Phnom-Penh, Cambodia, Kai-Duc Luong now lives in Chicago, but travels widely, and appreciates the freedom to do so. Luong and his family fled the tyranny of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1975, and he grew up in Paris. There he studied for the Grandes Écoles, before coming to the United States, in 1997, as an exchange engineering graduate student in digital signal processing (audio, video, data). Following a ten-year stint as a telecommunications engineer for Motorola, Luong left corporate life and began to pursue a career as a filmmaker. He has directed a feature-length film and many music videos, short features, and documentaries, as well as art videos in the United States and France. His works include Someplace Else (2008; a Vilcek Foundation AIFP honoree), Alice by Chat (2009), The Fight to Save Hartmarx (2009), and Désincarné(s)/Disembodied (2010).