On the finite wisdom of a Korean rice cooker. Jaha Koo gives a touching insight into the tragedy of a lonely life in a thoroughly technologised society.
Korean language with English surtitles
고립무원, a feeling of “helpless isolation”, is characteristic of the life of the younger generation in present-day South Korea, the home of theatre-maker Jaha Koo. Structural problems such as youth unemployment or sexism are individualised, and a military, hierarchical social order knows no room for rebellion, expecting humbleness towards the powerful. Increasing suicide rates, isolation, a fixation on personal appearance, and the omnipresence of technology are just some of the symptoms of this condition.
Jaha Koo experienced isolation for himself one day when his electric rice cooker’s speech function informed him that his meal was ready – in “Cuckoo”, rice cookers are now his only co-actors. Supported by the hardware hacker Idella Craddock, he transforms several rice cookers into speaking performers. Together with them, he takes us on a journey through the last six hundred years of Korean history, combining personal experiences with political events and food cultures with world views. In bitter-sweet, humorous dialogues, Jaha Koo and his smart devices sum up technological progress and human inadequacies: if even the theatre stage doesn’t need human beings any more, where else are actors supposed to earn their bowl of rice?
Concept, direction, text, music and video Jaha Koo
With C1, C2, C3, Jaha Koo
Hardware-Hacking Idella Craddock
Scenography, media operation and photo Eunkyung Jeong
Stage technique Michaël Janssens
Dramaturgical advice Dries Douibi
Produced by Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek
Co-produced by Bâtard Festival
With the support of CAMPO, STUCK Leuven, BUDA Kortrijk, DAS, SFAC
Project management Roland Gfrerer
Technical management Karl Masten
Jaha Koo (KR/BE/NL)
Jaha Koo, born in Junjoo/South Korea in 1984, is an Amsterdam-based multimedia artist and musician. He studied theatre studies at the Korea National University of Arts in Seoul and at DasArts in Amsterdam and had his début performance in 2010 with “Tipsy-turvy Ensemble“. Since then Koo has conceived and mounted five more pieces, all of which oscillate between multimedia art and performance art, including “Cuckoo” which is set to première in Austria at the steirischer herbst festival. In addition, he works as an electronic musician and has released four albums under the pseudonym GuJAHA, most recently in 2015 (“Copper and Oyster”). Koo has also conceived an exhibition (“Temporary Object Theatre”, 2011) and collaborated on the film “Gunsan” (2012) as director, editor, and sound designer.