We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Ann Samuelson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Laura Ann, what’s the end goal, career-wise?
As long as I can remember, I have felt wholly occupied by the questions I have about how human beings, collectively and individually, build up, chase, lose sight of, break away from, abandon, and refasten what we deem meaningful, and where we believe that meaning comes from. These questions are probably what led me to be an artist. I know that they are definitely why I continue to make performances. They are also why I teach. And more recently, they have led me into working in mental healthcare.

Another way I could say it is that I care quite a lot about the processes we engage in. And also the processes beneath those processes, that our sense of who we are, to ourselves and to each other, rides on top of. In my creative practice, I try to create situations that serve as a way of getting closer to feeling into these processes even if we can’t quite see them clearly.

I’m laughing now, remembering that this was a question about goals, and all I can seem to do is write about process. I guess at the end, I want to know that I kept trying, over a really long period of time, from a thousand different angles, in a thousand different situations, to huddle together with others around these questions, to see what we can learn from that huddling, and what that huddling might produce.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an interdisciplinary artist who works across dance practice, sculpture, and writing to make original performances. I am interested in identity and the self as something that is perpetually made and remade by the forces it engages with, and I see performance as space to draw out these forces and/or make them more transparent. The friction born out of “having” a body while also “being” a body is particularly fascinating to me, and working in performance has given me the space to see what attending to that friction can do.

What drew me to this work was how performance can allow you to live out the questions you may have about, say, what it means to be here on this planet with others, in a more concentrated way. It’s not that it (at least in my experience) allows you to find any kind of answer, but it can bring you, tactiley-speaking, in closer contact with your question. This was something I needed when I started making my own performance works 16 years ago. Sometimes it feels like making a life within a life, but one with an open circuit. It can be a way of sending out a signal! It has allowed me to find my people.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would definitely take them to Redline to meet and see the work of some of my favorite Denver-based artists, and then maybe to B2 Center for Media Arts and Performance to see a show, and then maybe to my friends Tim and Avery’s backyard farm for some veggies, a free haircut and to check out Avery Lee’s jewelry studio, and then I’d check to see if square product theatre, Buntport Theater, Michelle Ellsworth, Adam Stone, Ondine Geary, Constance Harris, Taylor Madgett or Elle Hong was performing anything. If they were interested in doing something outdoorsy and/or staying somewhere other than with me at my place, I’d call up the Adventure Lodge in Lyons.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The number of people who deserve to be listed here is totally overwhelming. As typical as it may sound, over the past weeks, I have found myself reflecting deeply on how extensive the labor, support, and permission was that my parents gave me. I am not a parent, and attempting to imagine the devotion required makes my stomach do a little flip. So I’ll dedicate this to them. Thank you Coates and Rick Samuelson.

And then also: the mentors, collaborators, and interlocutors I work with, past and present, that just being in this life with has fundamentally changed my work include: Bhanu Kapil, Emily K Harrison, Michelle Ellsworth, Elle Hong, Adam Stone, Ondine Geary, Joanna Rotkin, Buntport Theater, Louise Martorano, Chris Bagley, Kate Speer, and so many more.

Website: lauraannsamuelson.com

Instagram: @lauraann.samuelson

Other: Vimeo Link: https://vimeo.com/user4960239

Image Credits
Gretchen LaBorwit, Jun Akiyama, Adam Stone, Kevin Sweet, Eric Coombs Esmail

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.