2023 Grad Show

Lavounie Doan

AUArts Grad Show LavounieDoan_Portrait

Media Arts


My practice is formed around the esoteric notion of “Unknowing Nostalgia": the feeling of a revisited memory that has never been personally experienced. It’s a fusion of lighthearted childhood memory fragments, imaginative scenarios, and senses of playfulness with an array of vivid colours, generating a floating realm where wonder and boundless possibility bloom.

Attempting to create immersive experiences that require no specific previous knowledge or language, the foundation of my work is grounded in creating a sense of belonging, providing a feeling of yearning for the past through everyday basic - memories, sights, sounds, smells, and tastes, yet novel and surreal settings. It’s the mixture of reality and inexplicable, the magical aspects of the world while remaining rooted.

Recreating a historical or personal experience with complete precision is almost unachievable as it is subject to the influence of interpretation and the passing of time, yet this doesn't necessarily have to be about grief. "Unknowing Nostalgia" is an attempt to regain something vital, with less focus on the concept of loss itself, but rather on creating a distinct world that surpasses any specific time and place.

Regardless of age or the extent of personal transformation, I aspire to establish a realm in which it feels like being drawn into a dream, where fragment memories of the past are the foundation for the limitless possibilities that exist. My work seeks to generate a sense of comfort in the grounding feeling of connection with the past, others, and oneself.

alo, baba! (2023)

alo, baba! (2023) is a short film that celebrates cultures through evocations of the rural mundane, where fragmented times - the past, present and future, and spaces - Calgary and Saigon, transcend. The film begins with mundane moments of a father instructing his daughter, who resides overseas, on how to prepare her beloved childhood dish. As their dialogue progresses, the magic unfolds and shifts the ordinary setting to imaginative scenarios whenever a random question is asked. The past, present and future moments of different places blend into one, bouncing back and forth evokes a tangible yet intangible reality that invites the viewer to explore the unfamiliar that neighbour to their own memories.

beside you (2023)

beside you (2023) - A young lady lives in a downhearted otherworldly realm, feeling disconnected from her parents. She perceives the world in shades of blue and white. A mysterious giggle starts to follow her everywhere she goes after she leaves her mother’s gift unopened. The magic unfolds when she finally opens it, triggering memory waves that bounce around her room, filling her life with the warmth of sunshine from the cherished childhood she had forgotten. The film invites viewers on the unknowing journey of recollecting their own unconscious memory fragments.

I'm here (2022)

The viewer is situated in a dark room in which 22 paper lanterns are suspended from the ceiling. As the projection intimates a conversation between a mother and her daughter, the viewer witnesses the emotional healing process. One by one, the lanterns gradually lighten at the exact moment when the mother's love reaches her child, filling the dark room with a vision. I’m here (2022) is a multimedia installation that explores the power of a mother’s love. The work offers perspective and support, through the act of giving a daughter the confidence to carry on despite the distance that separates them. It’s personal yet offered elements of relatable recalling memories, inviting the audience to explore their own feelings of nostalgia.

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