Colorado Creatives

Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Laura Ann Samuelson

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Westword:If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why? Laura Ann Samuelson: I want to collaborate with artists whose work makes me think, "Damn. I wish I had made that" -- artists whose work feels both so familiar and foreign to me that I am convinced I might explode.

For a long time, this was exactly how I felt about the work of Brussels-based dance company Peeping Tom. And Miranda July. And Virginia Woolf. And Meredith Monk. And this crazy French circus artist Jeanne Mordoj. And a girl I knew in college named Mary Read. Right now, I am watching the 2001-2005 HBO series Six Feet Under, created by Alan Ball. I know everyone else watched this show a decade ago, but I have to mention it because I dream about the Fisher family a few times a week and wake up with the same sensation that I might, indeed, explode. I love work that locates death right at the center of life, tracing collisions of choice and circumstance in a way that frames how little we know or can control.

So I guess that's my answer. At least for today. I choose Alan Ball, creator of the TV show Six Feet Under. I would want our collaboration to take place sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s. It would be wild. And I think we would fight the whole time, which is a weird thing for me to say since I don't know the guy, but that's my sense.

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

I am really excited about the research and artistic practices of Diego Agullo. Diego is a Berlin-based artist who works across film, choreography, text, photography, huge participatory events, sound installations and probably a thousand other kinds of media. He is a self-proclaimed dilettante with a kind of mischievous curiosity that feels totally free and incredibly specific at the same time. I love how Diego reinvents ways theory might encounter art and philosophy -- his work brings heady ideas into the realm of the tangible, which he then makes a huge mess of.

When I think about the work that has moved me recently, I notice that I am really drawn to artists whose shortcomings lie at the center of their work for the audience to see. When I was in Berlin, I saw Kitchen by the theater company Gob Squad. The performance took place in a huge theater for an audience of about 750. In Gob Squad's Kitchen, the actors onstage work with one another to recreate Andy Warhol's famous films from the '60s: Kitchen, Eat, Sleep and Screen Test. About halfway through the performance, it becomes clear that they are not the right people for the job, and they begin to slowly replace each actor onstage with audience members. I love work that tries to deal with it's own failing in some way. I also love anything that looks like it could fall apart at any moment, but somehow, never does.

Continue reading for more from Laura Ann Samuelson.
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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd