Laura Splan

AltMFA 2021 Visiting Artist+Critic

Laura Splan is a transdisciplinary artist and educator working at the intersections of science, technology, and culture. Her research-driven projects connect hidden artifacts of biotechnology to everyday lives through embodied interactions and sensory engagement. Herconceptually based art practice combines a wide range of media including experimental materials, digital media, and craft processes. Her biomedical themed artworks have been commissioned by the Triënnale Brugge and The Centers for Disease Control Foundation. Her projects combining digital fabrication and textiles have been exhibited at the Museum of Arts & Design and Beall Center for Art + Technology and are represented in the collections of the Thoma Art Foundation, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and theNYU Langone Art Collection. Reviews and articles including her work have appeared in The New York Times, Discover, designboom, American Craft, and Frieze. Splan has received research funding from The Jerome Foundation and her residencies have been supported by The Knight Foundation, The Institute for Electronic Arts, Harvestworks, and The Pollock-Krasner Foundation. She is a member of the New Museum’s NEW INC cultural incubator and is collaborating with biotech laboratories to interrogate interspecies entanglements in the contemporary biomedical landscape. Her recent solo exhibitions featuring molecular animations and textiles made with wool from laboratory llamas include “Entangled Entities” (APSU’s The New Gallery) and “Unraveling” (BioBAT Art Space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal).

As an educator, Laura Splan has been an academic lecturer at Stanford University, Mills College, and SUNY Purchase College teaching interdisciplinary courses including “Embodied Interfaces”, “Data as Material”, “Digital Art”, “Electronic Arts” and “Art & Biology”. As an artist-in-residence, she has taught academic seminars at University of Maine and Illinois State University. Her visiting artist lectures have been presented by the Frontiers of Science Institute at the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, the John M. Anderson Endowed Lecture Series at Pennsylvania State University, and the Lillian & Morrie Moss Foundation at Rhodes College. Her public workshops have been hosted by theMuseum of Arts and Design, Fredrickson Family Innovation Lab, and Coalesce Center for Biological Arts. 

Splan was a Digital Arts Fellow supported by the National Endowment for the Arts at AS220 Industries where she taught free, all ages creative coding and physical computing workshops. She was the keynote speaker for the Digital Fabrication Symposium at the University of North Texas presenting her lecture “Bits & Pieces: Material Epistemologies & Digital Fabrication”. Splan’s recent artist talk, “Syndemic Sublime”, was co-presented by the New Museum and Science Sandbox for NEW INC’s “Radical Evolution: 10 Glimpses into the Future”. Splan has been a featured guest on MicrobeTV, a science podcast Hosted by Dr. Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University, the SciArt Initiative’s LunchBreak series hosted by Julia Buntaine, and the Sound and Vision podcast hosted by artist Brian Alfred. She has participated in panel discussions at the Université Concordia, the College Art Association Conference, the Brooklyn Museum, and SciFoo at the Googleplex. She has also served on selection committees and juries for the Biodesign Challenge and the ACRE Residency. Splan’s curatorial work has included Stimulus Transmit, a media art series aired on San Francisco public access television in 1997 (featuring Tamiko Thiel, Vicky Funari, H. Lenn Keller). Her recent curatorial projects have included interdisciplinary programming and exhibitions (featuring Liss LaFleur, Laimah Osman, Candace Williams, Mark Ramos, Leah DeVun, Lien Truong, Sophie Barrett-Kahn, Snow Yunxue Fu) at Dose Projects, Plexus Projects, and Creative Tech Week.

photo: Sasha Charoensub