Trade Routes Interview – Myra Su & Emily Schubert

We asked the Chicago artists in the Trade Routes Touring Exchange Festival about their roles as artist-curators, who were invited to present both their own work and to choose a partnering artist present theirs in Chicago. Both artists will present on a shared bill at Links Hall during the Trade Routes Festival and in their partner’s hometown.

Myra Su is a narrative artist specializing in storytelling through puppetry and theater. Her primary medium is shadow puppetry, though she has also been experimenting with puppetry across multiple media — paper craft, sculpture, video, animation, and taxidermy.

Emily Schubert is an interdisciplinary artist working mainly in the worlds of puppetry, performance, sculpture and collage. She hails from the borderlands between Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky. Enthralled by the emotive power and depth of expression achieved through puppetry and storytelling, she believes that within these realms lies a source of real-life magic that is deficient in much of our daily lives.

Links Hall: How did you meet Emily Schubert, your partnering artist?

Myra Su: Emily and I met at the 2016 National Puppet Slam in Atlanta, GA. We also performed and did workshops at Dragon Con.

LH: What are you interested in or excited about in her practice and/or the work they are bringing to Chicago specifically?

MS: Emily’s work is incredibly sincere and is made with a lot of heart. There is a meditative, cleansing, almost therapeutic feeling to her work that truly touches the soul. I was so touched watching her perform. I cried. A lot.

LH: How does your work interact with Emily’s work, conceptually or aesthetically?

MS: Our performance will feature additional types of puppetry, but Emily and I both share strong backgrounds in shadow puppetry. When we met at the National Puppet Slam, I saw many thematic similarities in our work, even a few iconographic similarities, but the way we interpret and present them artistically is actually pretty different. For that reason, I thought a double-bill between us would be very interesting.


LH: How do you think her work might speak to a Chicago audience?

MS: Emily is an enchanting storyteller and her work speaks to very universal themes and experiences. I’m sure Chicago audiences would love her performance.


LH: How do you think your work might speak to audiences in Baltimore, where you will be touring with Emily?

MS: I also see myself as an artist who creates universal and culturally mobile work, which is why I love interacting with different audiences and getting their feedback. Both my pieces are wordless, and therefore rely heavily on images, music, and atmospherics to convey an emotion or idea. I’m very excited to see and hear a Baltimore audience’s response. I’m also excited to share a very rapid and dynamic form of puppetry that combines the theatrical and cinematic, and stretches the imagination in what simple technologies can help achieve.

Myra Su and Emily Schubert will be performing at Links Hall on Friday, Dec. 8 & Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7pm.