Quyên Quyên and Ian Quee are QT 3.14, and make Ế, a queer art and literary zine. As queers, they reject the notion that a straight relationship and its trappings (marriage, nuclear family, male-female roles, etc.) are the default. They convey this message through original and curated art, photography, short stories, poetry, and pop culture reviews.
Ế’s creative process swings from one extreme to another. They spend time slaving away in solitary confinement, trying to get the perfect color palette, choosing the most accurate synonym, and inserting just the right amount of self-irony. However, as a collaborative effort, they spend many afternoons on extended co-working sessions. They do "boring" things like discuss quotas, deadlines, and logistics, along with wonderfully exciting things like creative exercises, constructing their vision for the zine, and arguing if a picture should be 10 pixels to the left. Other than that, they are very serious about taking time to shoot the shit.
They feel it is fitting that a "culturally fringe people" like queers express themselves not through traditional forums, but through a malleable and experimental channel like art and writing. They also interrupt established heteronormative views by “queering up” how pop culture is interpreted as well as their own narratives about the world. They hope to offer queer people a platform to share their own stories and thoughts.
Quyên Quyên and Ian Quee met at an LGBTQ visibility workshop in Hanoi and decided to make a zine together. It’s a collection of comics, poetry, low-key art, and film reviews. The first issue is titled Ế/Unsold and deals with gender and identity questions/thoughts/jokes. Ian Quee is trained in the science of psychology. In reality, it's part of his scheme of becoming a better artist. Quyên Quyên studies a mix of literature and art history at Stanford University.
In continuing to explore zine-making as a way to communicate queer perspectives, what I've taken up on doing this time around is even more ambitious in both in size, impact, and how personal it is of a project. Unlike Ế, which was an art-literature artist book of sorts, my current zine is a singular multi-chapter short story. It us about two women in two different parts of the globe, two different decades, and two different circumstances. Both of them are trying to survive and untangle an internal world of complex sexuality, roles, identities, duty, indebtedness, and regret. The story is in its late drafts now, which is to say it is pretty much finished. I haven't come up with a proper name yet, so it is going by "Maine" at the moment. The plan final product should be a printed zine that is lightly illustrated. These illustrations should be sparse, beginning of each chapter for example. The point is to set the tone of the narrative to come. The current plaint-text file, as of now, is 39 pages long. This number is likely to inflate dramatically once it is put in a finalized design with professional-ish margins and legible font size. Currently, the digital design work is in its early stages. Once the digital version is finalized, I plan to print up to 60 color copies, paperback. They will be distributed to places like artspaces, bookshops, or coffee houses. These are places where my main audience is likely to frequent, which are younger people who can read and enjoy fiction in English with progressive themes and tones. With that said, I do not particularly exclude anyone, but it's always good to focus.