Specially Processed American Me

Photo by Toby Tenenbaum [1/10]

Photo by Toby Tenenbaum [2/10]

Photo by Toby Tenenbaum [3/10]

Photo by Toby Tenenbaum [4/10]

Photo by Toby Tenenbaum [5/10]

Photo by Toby Tenenbaum [6/10]

Photo by Toby Tenenbaum [7/10]

Photo by Toby Tenenbaum [8/10]

Photo by Toby Tenenbaum [9/10]

Photo by Toby Tenenbaum [10/10]

Specially Processed American Me by Jaime Sunwoo is a surreal autobiographical performance using SPAM, the canned meat, as a portal into her Asian American upbringing and her family's experiences of the Korean War. It investigates SPAM's legacy in the military, its significance in the Asia-Pacific, and its influence on Asian cuisine through music, shadowplay, and cooking. Oscillating wildly between absurd humor and sober tragedy, Specially Processed American Me is a thought-provoking exploration of one of America's most misunderstood foods.

In addition to performances, Specially Processed American Me holds food history and storytelling workshops over a communal SPAM meal. To learn more, visit speciallyprocessed.com and follow @speciallyprocessed on Facebook and Instagram.

Specially Processed American Me is currently available for booking performances, workshops, and lectures. For booking inquiries, contact jaimesunwoo(at)gmail(dot)com

The premiere production of Specially Processed American Me, produced by Free Rein Projects, Ping Chong and Company, and Dixon Place, was made possible with support from the Queens Council on the Arts' Artist Commissioning Program, Asian Women Giving Circle, the NYC Women's Fund for Media, Music and Theatre by the City of New York Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment in association with The New York Foundation for the Arts, Brooklyn Arts Fund, MVRP Foundation, The Laundromat Project, and The Jim Henson Foundation. Specially Processed American Me was developed through BRIClab, HB Studio Rehearsal Space Residency, BAX Upstart Program, Barn Arts Residency, Leviathan Lab, and FailSafe.

The Team:
Directors: Karim Muasher, Jaime Sunwoo
Playwright: Jaime Sunwoo
Composer, Lyricist, Sound Designer: Matt Chilton
Props, Puppets, Costume Designer: Jaime Sunwoo
Projection Designers: Cinthia Chen, Jaime Sunwoo
Lighting Designer: Sarah Lurie
Technical Director: Justin Perkins
Dramaturg: Alex Lee


Handwritten by Jaime Sunwoo is a personal reflection on the significance of handwriting in her own life and throughout history, which was sparked by the fact that she has never had a consistent handwriting style. Contact jaimesunwoo(at)gmail(dot)com to request a private link to watch the film.

Directed, Narrated, Written, Filmed, and Edited by Jaime Sunwoo
Music and Sound by Matt Chilton
Storyboard and Puppet Design by Jaime Sunwoo and. Nadia Kim
Illustrated by Jaime Sunwoo and Sean Devare
Puppeteered by Jaime Sunwoo, Sean Devare, and Hye Young Chyun
Executive Producer Heather Henson
Producers Jessica Simon, Alex Griffin, and Jaime Sunwoo/Free Rein Projects
Co-produced by Ibex Puppetry and Free Rein Projects with support from the Green Feather Foundation

You Are The News Now

You Are The News Now explores the fragile balance of online reality during the United States’ COVID-19 crisis. Through parallel monologues sourced entirely from found text, the virus’s devastation comes into contrast with viral misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the virus’s origin, government lockdowns, masks, vaccination, and racial violence. While the government and establishment media struggle to interpret the crisis for the online public, the mysterious “Q” and his army of citizen journalist “Digital Soldiers” wage war on the construction of truth itself. Co-created by Jaime Sunwoo and Matt Chilton. Commissioned by Ping Chong + Company. Experience the project here.

Equality Tea

Throughout America, women organized tea parties for meetings and fundraisers to support the suffrage movement. The Woman’s Suffrage Party sold ceylon, young hyson, gunpowder, and oolong tea under their charitable brand “Equality Tea.” Yet the history of tea is steeped in inequality, driven by colonialism, war, and appropriation. In her short film, Equality Tea, Sunwoo brews tea while drawing parallels between the fraught histories of the tea trade and the suffrage movement.

Created by Jaime Sunwoo. Original score by Matt Chilton, based on a 1895 suffragist anthem by Augusta Gray Gunn. Commissioned by Park Avenue Armory and The Laundromat Project for 100 Years | 100 Women.

reGENEration lab

Photo by Leonie Bell [1/9]

Photo by Leonie Bell [2/9]

Photo by Andrea Januta [3/9]

Photo by Andrea Januta [4/9]

Photo by Andrea Januta [5/9]

Photo by Andrea Januta [6/9]

Photo by Leonie Bell [7/9]

Photo by Andrea Januta [8/9]

Photo by Leonie Bell [9/9]

At reGENEration lab, patients enter a gene modification clinic that promises to transform them into their ideal selves. By examining shortcomings, insecurities, and inherited traumas, reGENEration lab asks what we want to change and why. Presented at the FailSafe Festival 2019.

Ear to Ear

In Ear to Ear, artist Jaime Sunwoo welcomed passerby to press their ear against hers to listen to each other's inner sounds while taking turns eating different textured foods. While one person sampled crunchy pretzels, chewy gummy bears, and fizzy pop rocks, the other listened, getting a rare glimpse into another person's physical perspective. The experience is playful and intimate, an act of empathy through touch and sound. By pressing ears together, sounds travel from one person to the other via bone conduction, vibrations through the skull.

Ear to Ear is an attempt to see 'eye to eye' with others. To protect ourselves, we normally guard our senses around strangers. Strangers lack our trust and intimacy so we tend to avoid eye contact, are quieter, and certainly do not touch. Ear to Ear is a celebratory act to share the senses with someone you are willing to trust just for a moment. Over eighty people participated in the project during the Art in Odd Places Festival 2018. Videos of the encounters were uploaded on Instagram under #EartoEarNYC.


Strangers sit across from each other, listening to the characters through localized electronic speakers (Earshot, 2015, Bonnie Vee Bar, New York, NY). [1/8]

Listeners explore characters' props placed by their seats (Earshot, 2015, Kilo Bravo Bar, Brooklyn, NY). [2/8]







Earshot is an interactive sound installation set in a bar. Earshot simulates bar crowd conversations through different audio narratives simultaneously playing at each table. As listeners stroll through the bar, they eavesdrop on moments in which old friends reconnect, drunks philosophize, lovers plot affairs and relationships fall apart. Once seated, listeners can examine characters' purses, wallets, and jackets to get a voyeuristic glimpse into their lives. Earshot is a paean to the diversity, and frequent absurdity, of the lives and stories around us every day.

Photo documentation by Taj Birkett.

See full credits and explore a show simulation at earshotplay.com.

Press: Culturebot

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Household tells the story of a dysfunctional family of household objects– Blender, Vacuum, Lamp, Curtain, Mirror. Anthropomorphized, their individual personalities are determined by their functions. Otherwise mute, musical instruments speak for our characters with the blaring sounds of modern life. Houseplants, in marked contrast to their mechanical housemates, sing gracefully and comment on the action. The play begins with domestic tranquility, but as the characters vie for dominance of the stage, exercising their utility in incompatible ways, unforeseen repercussions threaten the harmony of the household.

Press: Yale Daily News, 02.26.14, Yale Daily News, 02.28.14

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A researcher at a biochemistry lab becomes infected with an unknown fungal disease, transforming into The Creature, a restless, impulsive, mischievous urchin. The Creature leaves the comfort of its rainbow fungal abode to spread its colorful spores onto the sterile spaces we all inhabit.

Documentation by Zach Bell and Andrew Wagner.

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The Creature




















An incompetent team of medical professionals tries to capture a person severely infected with an unknown fungal disease but ultimately fails due to bureaucratic setbacks. Doctors monitor the Creature’s whereabouts at Grand Central, Times Square, and Brooklyn Bridge Park, handing out public service announcement flyers to warn passersby of the fungal disease. They lure the Creature into a medical clinic, where it is quarantined. The staff interrogates the public to see if they’ve been in contact with the Creature, and deems the disease non-hazardous after administering a questionable treatment. Footage and photos from Rot (2014) were on display at the medical clinic as part of the PSA. The performance was held during the Ebola outbreak, playing on American media scare tactics and toying with public paranoia.

Collaborators: Shon Arieh-Lerer, Jessica Park, Evan Brandon.

Documentation by Drew Gibson and Taj Birkett.

The performance and installation was hosted by Leaf Medical, a DUMBO-based medical clinic.

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Safety Net

An autobiographical audio monologue about my childhood fear of sleeping alone. My mother sings a Korean lullaby throughout the story. Listeners experience the work in a dark blanket fort lit by a nightlight.

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