Specially Processed American Me

Specially Processed American Me by Jaime Sunwoo is a multidisciplinary performance using SPAM, the canned meat, to share memories of her Korean American upbringing and her family's accounts of the Korean War. It investigates SPAM's legacy in the military, its significance in the Asia-Pacific, and its influence on Korean cuisine through a narrative collage of monologues, animation, soundscapes, sculpture, and cooking. Thrashing between absurd humor and sober tragedy, genuine affection and biting criticism, 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.

Specially Processed American Me was shown at BAX, Abrons Art Center, JACK, The Tank, FailSafe Festival, Flux Factory, Open Source Gallery, NYU, the Charles B Wang Center at Stony Brook University, and other arts and cultural spaces throughout NYC. For upcoming events, visit speciallyprocessed.com and follow @speciallyprocessed on Facebook and Instagram.


reGENEration lab

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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.


Earshot

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

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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

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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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Rot

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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

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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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