About this event
Dogs or Cats; Augmented Body is an interdisciplinary experimental puppetry show that combines bunraku-marionette puppetry and shadow puppetry. Based on Jaerin Son's immigrationexperiences, DC;AB tells the story of a female robot and her human physical therapist’s burgeoning friendship.
Cast & Artists
Director, Writer, Puppet Design, Puppeteer: Jaerin Son
Puppeteer: Kelly Nesheim
Puppeteer: Kevin Michael Wesson
Assistant Director: Fletcher Pierson
Dramaturg & Translator: Jihye Kim
Composer: Ben Zucker
Movement Coach: Eunjin Choi & Claire Saxe
Projection Design: Paul Scudder
From Jaerin Son
When I look at the beautifully perfect bodies of robots or A.I, I see the distorted desire of humans. I sense projected prejudices lie in their seeming perfection. For me, as a puppet artist, A.I. is a puppet. And all puppets are intended to have distinct characteristics they carry in their design. In other words, when I see A.I, I see humans’ dire desire to be not only functionally but also aesthetically perfect. Yet, the aesthetic of perfection is shaped by the male gaze. In Dogs or Cats; Augmented Body, I want to show this distorted desire via the accentuated body shape of the A.I. puppet juxtaposed with myself, an Asian immigrant female artist with an imperfect body, on stage. Although A.I is designed to be flawless and human-like, it can never become a human. At the same time, humans, especially marginalized women of color like me, desire to be as strong, limitless, and immortal as A.I. Like twins desiring each other’s bodies, Dogs or Cats; Augmented Body tells the story of bodies that carry hope and despair via visual storytelling.
About Jaerin Son
Jaerin Son is a puppet artist, theatre director and a scenic designer from Korea. She began as a painter and a performance artist and expanded her scope via scenic design. She has a BFA in scenic design and has been working not only as a scenic and lighting designer but also as a visual performance artist in installation art, interdisciplinary art and video art scenes.
Her puppetry began in 2014 when she first made a wooden puppet for her tabletop puppetry show. Since then, she has taken various workshops including Philippe Jenty’s puppet workshop, Tuida’s Giant puppet workshop, Viewpoint and physical theatre workshops and circus arts workshops. Her interest lies in non-traditional ways of puppeteering as well as experimenting with new dynamics between puppets and puppeteers on stage. Her interest in puppetry has expanded into pop-up book puppetry theatre. In 2021, she developed an Augmented Reality Pop-up Book Theatre piece called Blue Waves; Shattering Nights along with an android-based app that motioned captured performers movements into an animation.
Son’s work often involves surreal images to depict a vivid reality of the real world rather than a rendition of illusion. She wrote and directed: This is not Shakespeare, Taste of Memories, and Dreadful Time in Korea. She designed stages for the World Cyber Games Festival in China, Odyssey (directed by Youngho Gwon) in Korea, and Vancouver (Ma-Yi Theater) in Chicago. She is currently working as a puppet designer, scenic designer, and Popup book puppetry instructor at the Chicago Puppet Studio. In 2022, Son was nominated as one of the 2022 fellowship artists at Links Hall, Chicago.
Steppenwolf does not offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any questions about content, age-appropriateness or stage effects (such as strobe lights or theatrical fog) that might have a bearing on patron comfort, please contact the box office at 312-335-1650.