Laura Allcorn

creative director + comedic institute founder

I'm laura.


By day, I play associate creative director at second story.

I set the artistic vision for exhibitions and interactive installations.

I begin the design process by focusing on the visitor. How will someone identify with the ideas and stories being expressed? How will it make them feel? Once I’ve mapped a path of connection for each type of visitor, I create experiences that invite participation. From paper to projectors, I use any medium necessary to bring each experience to life. 

recent projects include:

Thomas Cole Historic Site: The Parlors; California State Parks: United States Immigration Station Hospital Exhibition; Design Week Portland: Lovejoy Fountain Activation; AIGA: 100 Years of DesignMuseum of Fine Arts Boston: Triumph of the Winter Queen


By Night, i lead the institute for comedic inquiry.

IFCI is a comedian-led research group that studies humor and conducts laugh-inducing experiments. We create interactive objects and performances that point out absurdities through a technique we call Participatory Satire. These public experiments combine humor, design, technology, and of course, humans.

We’ve made a synthHAsizer that lets people remix their fake laugh into a ‘real’ one. We’ve made fashionable pollination accessories, turning people into honeybees to draw attention to colony collapse. We’ve even convinced people to power walk through a mall in pantsuits to drum up support for Hillary. 

recent experiments include:

synthHAsizer, I Cry When I Laugh, Pantsuit Power Walk for Hillary, Portland Laugh LineThe Human Pollination Project

experiments have been shown at: 

Science Gallery in Dublin; CCCB in Barcelona; ArtScience Museum in Singapore; Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome; Design Week Portland, Bridgetown Comedy Festival; Portland Fashion Week; and featured in Wired UK, The Guardian, GOOD, Dwell, and Design Bureau Magazine.


Lately, i've been thinking about...

How feelings change people, not facts; it's kindness that brings people’s 'porcupine needles' down. How artistic activism can make the intangible, tangible—case in point this Gerrymandering 5K. Sticking it to our Twitter-fueled reactionary culture and making it okay to say ‘I don’t know what I think about that yet.’ Eradicating small talk and remembering that talking about your ideas makes them stronger.


On view

right now

synthHAsizer at Science Gallery Dublin
FAKE: March-June 2018

The Human Pollination Project at Pallazo delle Espozioni
HUMAN+: March-June 2018

Coming Soon

From a Whisper to Machines; panelist and event experience designer
Design Week Portland: April 18, 2018


near fm Interview

I talk about the synthHAsizer, FAKE exhibition at Science Gallery, and The Institute For Comedic Inquiry with Norma Burke.
Aired on March 8th 2018




Project Showcase
October 2017

Association for State + Local History

Pay Attention, Connect, Participate: The Magic of Experience
September 2017

Design Week Portland

Periphery Panel Discussion
April 2017



pacific northwest college of art

M.F.A. Applied Craft + Design  
Graduated May 2011  

Mount union College

B.F.A. Business Administration, Marketing
Graduated May 2005

center for artistic activism

Arts Action Academy at Queens Museum
Graduated November 2017

Get In Touch

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