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 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 syntHAsizer that lets people remix their fake laugh to 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:

hümr, syntHAsizer, The Reactionizer, Insecurities Security Screening, Quantified Laugh Tear Self, 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; Risk/Reward Pavement Festival in Portland; Design Week Portland, Bridgetown Comedy Festival; Portland Fashion Week; and featured in Wired UK, The Guardian, GOOD, Dwell, and Design Bureau Magazine.


Some Things I’ve done.

I have over 12 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


2022 Gait Augmentation Seminar: an exercise in things taken TOO FAR at Design Week Portland: April 7 2019. Get tickets here.
The Human Pollination Project at the V&A
FOOD: Bigger than the Plate: May 2019

recently on View

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



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

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

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

Get In Touch

Send me a note

Name *