Jan 23 - 26, 2020
GET TICKETS The Merrill
Thu, Jan 23, 8 PM
Fri, Jan 24, 8 PM
Sat, Jan 25, 8 PM
Sun, Jan 26, 5 PM
A journey through the last 20 years of Korean history told by a bunch of talkative rice cookers.
In Cuckoo, South Korean artist Jaha Koo gives a touching insight into the tragedy of a lonely life in a thoroughly technologized society–all through a sequence of dialogues between Koo and three rice cookers. One day when his electric rice cooker informed him that his meal was ready, Jaha Koo experienced a deep sense of isolation. ‘Golibmuwon’ (고립무원) is an untranslatable Korean word expressing the feeling of helpless isolation that characterizes the lives of many young people in Korea today.
Twenty years ago there was a major economic crisis in South-Korea, comparable to the financial crash in the United States and Southern Europe in 2008. This crisis had a huge impact on the young generation to which South Korean artist Jaha Koo belongs. He witnessed many endemic problems including youth unemployment and socio-economic inequality. Rising suicide rates, isolation, acute social withdrawal and a fixation on personal appearance are but a few of the symptoms.
In bittersweet and humorous dialogues, Jaha and his clever rice cookers take you on a journey through the last 20 years of Korean history, combining personal experience with political events and reflections on happiness, economic crises, and death.
Watch the Trailer
About the Artist
Jaha Koo is a South Korean theatre/performance maker and music composer. His artistic practice oscillates between multimedia and performance, all of which include his own music, video, text and installation. His performances closely interweave politics, history and his own personal issues.
Since 2014, Koo has been developing his Hamartia Trilogy which focuses on the inescapable past that tragically affects our lives today. The first part of the trilogy, Lolling and Rolling, was premiered by Zürcher Theater Spektakel in 2015. The second piece, Cuckoo, was premiered at Steirischer Herbst Festival in 2017. The final part of the trilogy, The History of Korean Western Theater (working title), will be premiered in 2020 (executive producer: CAMPO).
Koo majored in theatre studies (BFA) at Korea National University of Arts and studied at DasArts (MA) in Amsterdam. GuJAHA is the pseudonym of JAHA KOO as a music producer. His most recent EP was Copper and Oyster in 2015.
concept, direction, text, music & video Jaha Koo performance Hana, Duri, Seri & Jaha Koo cuckoo hacking Idella Craddock scenography & media operation Eunkyung Jeong dramaturgical advice Dries Douibi production Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek executive producer CAMPO coproduction Bâtard Festival support CAMPO, STUK, BUDA, DAS, SFAC & Noorderzon/Grand Theatre.
Photo by: Radovan Dranga
Presented in partnership with PuSH Festival, Vancouver, and International Festival of Performance and Ideas, Toronto. Cuckoo was realized with the support of de Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie.