The Institute For Comedic Inquiry is an experimental comedy research institute founded by Laura Allcorn. We collaborate with scientists and make it fun for the public to explore complex topics. We’re always on the comedic lookout for emerging science and technology that will shape our future.
At the Institute For Comedic Inquiry we’re trying to understand complex scientific topics like AI, data privacy, and surveillance: things that are shaping society yet are hard to make sense of, let alone think critically about.
We don’t want to just read about or listen to experts talk about these topics. We want to make it fun for the public to explore them.
So we collaborate with scientists and figure out how to draw our audience in with an unusual take — a comedic premise. We imagine the absurd situations we might find ourselves in, we go all out rendering them real, and then invite you to participate in them. Rest assured, these aren’t pranks. You’ll be in on the joke, never the butt of it.
We’re not a place you come to for answers. We’re a place you come to ask questions. To puzzle through things with others. To imagine alternatives.
All you have to do is bring yourself. We want you to feel comfortable starting where your knowledge begins and asking questions based on your interests and personal experiences.
Laura Allcorn, Founder
Laura is an internationally exhibiting artist, humorist and the founder of The Institute For Comedic Inquiry. She applies critical wit to create participatory performances and installations. Her work often explores the societal effects of emerging technologies.
She creates visually striking sets, props, costumes, and audio visual media that immerse audiences in a comedic premise where they play the protagonist. She’s created a mini-market about social profiling algorithms, a workout about surveillance, and a laughter-producing machine about humanizing voice assistants.
Her work is designed to invite audiences to question, debate, and subvert the situations they may find themselves in. Her work isn’t complete without the audience’s participation, ensuring it has agency to reveal something to us. She’s interested in how applying humor to complex topics can help us better understand and rehearse for the future we want.
Her work has been shown at Science Gallery Dublin, The Victoria & Albert Museum, CCCB, ArtScience Museum Singapore, MOD. Museum of Discovery; Creative Time Summit X; Science Gallery Detroit; PRIMER19: Design For All; Risk/Reward Pavement Festival and the International Society For Humor Studies Conference.
She also has over a decade of experience designing interactive exhibitions and experiences for cultural institutions and brands. She teaches workshops and mentors MFA candidates at Pacific Northwest College of Art.
We collaborate with scientists, researchers, artists, designers, comedians, and performers.
Dr. Jennifer Edmond (ADAPT Research Centre + Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at Trinity College Dublin), collaborator on SKU-Market
Dr. Ivan Bacher (ADAPT Research Centre), collaborator on SKU-Market App and AI Profile Generator
Thomas Wester (Technical Director, Glowbox), collaborator on syntHAsizer and 2022 Gait Augmentation Seminar
Greg Bryant (Professor, Department of Communications, UCLA), collaborator on syntHAsizer
Matthew Phillip Williams (Designer), collaborator on syntHAsizer
Traci Sym, (Principal, +&> Design Studio) collaborator and performer in Insecurities Security Screening
Katie Shook (Artist + Mudland Director), performer in Insecurities Security Screening, and The Reactionizer
Rebecca Gates (Musician, Curator, Artist), collaborator on The Reactionizer
Sorob Louie (Creative Technologist), collaborator on Portland Laugh Line
Nikole Gramm (Visual Designer), collaborator on SKU-Market and IFCI logo