Laura Allcorn

ARTIST + comedic institute founder

I'm laura.


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.’ Remembering that talking about your ideas makes them stronger.


i lead the institute for comedic inquiry.

IFCI is an artist-led institute that studies humor and turns absurdities into eyebrow-raising public experiments. Since 2009, we’ve been engaging people with our experiments. They usually take the form of interactive objects or performances. Each shares a common goal: using humor, science, art, and performance as tools for publically debating ideas. All are based on our research and collaboration with scientists and experts.

We’ve made a walking seminar about protecting your privacy that makes SoulCycle seem trivial. We’ve made a synthHAsizer that lets people remix their fake laugh to a ‘real’ one. We’ve made love matches with hümr, a humor-first dating program in a sea of appearance-first apps. We’ve made fashionable pollination accessories, turning people into honeybees to draw attention to colony collapse. We’ve secured insecurities through our patented scanner. See more experiments here.

experiments have been shown at: 

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


I Teach Workshops For Creatives.

Want to shake up your creative process? Connect with teammates and clients in new ways? Get better at responding in the moment?

These workshops apply the tools of comedy and performance to all facets of the creative process with zero obligation to make people laugh. They are designed for creatives of all stripes: designers, artists, makers, strategists, writers, producers, coders, architects, filmmakers, animators, etc.

They work well for team trainings (offsite or onsite) and are designed for all skill levels (leaders or young guns).

Improv For Creatives

  • Listening

  • Collaborating

  • Presenting

Performance For Creatives

  • Present Like A Comedian

  • Performing Interaction Design

  • The Rules Made Me Do It


Some Things I’ve done.

I have over 10 years of experience designing award-winning installations and exhibitions for museums and brands that push the boundaries of storytelling, design and technology. I spent six years at Second Story Interactive Studios, most recently as an Associate Creative Director, where I worked with: California State Parks, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Thomas Cole Historic Site, New York Public Library, Harvard Business School, Target, Nokia, and others.

Notable 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


On view


The Human Pollination Project at the V&A
FOOD: Bigger than the Plate: May-November.


Talk on ‘Taking Things Too Far’ and staging of 2022 Gait Augmentation Seminar at Design Vancouver. October 5 2019. Register here.

Workshop ‘Play In The Future: How To Stage Your Own Participatory Satire’ at Bend Design. October 25 2019. Register here.

recently on View

2022 Gait Augmentation Seminar: an exercise in things taken too far at PRIMER 19: Futures For All. The New School: June 15 2019. Register here.

Workshop ‘Serious Play: Use Participatory Satire to Capture the Public’s Imagination’ and exhibiting the syntHAsizer at the International Society for Humor Studies Conference. Texas A&M: June 24-28.

2022 Gait Augmentation Seminar: an exercise in things taken too far at Design Week Portland: April 7 2019.

hümr: from haha to hand holding at Science Gallery Dublin
INTIMACY: October-February 2019

Insecurities Security Checkpoint
Risk/Reward's Pavement Festival: August 2018

The Reactionizer at From A Whisper To Machines Design Week Portland: April 2018

syntHAsizer at Science Gallery Dublin
FAKE: March-June 2018

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


Design Week Portland 19'

Profile on yours truly, participatory satire, and the Institute For Comedic Inquiry
April 2019

near fm Interview

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



I’m teaching the following workshops in Spring 19’. Classes are open to all.

Design Like A Comedian
Illuminating Absurdities with Critical Design
Performing Interaction Design
Staging Participatory Satire



Instrument LEcture Series

Lecture on laughter and machine learning
December 2018

Design Week Portland 18'

From a Whisper to Machines; lecture on laughter and the syntHAsizer
April 2018

MuseumNext Portland 17'

Project Showcase
October 2017

Association for State + Local History

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

Design Week Portland 17'

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

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