“My Desire to Put the World in Order”

Question: Do you remember immigrating to the U.S. from Vietnam as a young child?

Khoi Vinh: Not really.  You know, I was about 3 1/2 and so, I have very few memories of it.  I have a few memories of being young here in the United States, but almost no recollections of being young in Vietnam.

Question: Has your cultural background or early life experience impacted your aesthetic in any way?

Khoi Vinh: Yeah.  I think there's a certain school of psychoanalysis that would say that the disruption that I experienced and my family experienced because of the war, because of having to uproot ourselves and relocate and sort of come to grips with an entirely different sensibility, or an entirely different order to the world here in the United states was huge and has a direct impact on my fastidious desire to put the world in order.  And I wouldn't argue with that.  I think there's a huge -- there's a huge desire in me to make sense of the world in a way that I think you can trace back to that early disruption, this idea of wanting to compensate for that really kind of traumatic experience and sort of seeing its impact on my immediate and extended family.

Recorded on March 3, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen

Khoi Vinh connects the early childhood disruption he experienced as an immigrant from Vietnam with his fastidious style as a designer.

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