“Conversations” Episode 7: Interview with Laure Drogoul

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Worlds Within Bodies

This episode of Conversations features Laure Drogoul interviewed by Jack Livingston

Laure Drogoul was born in 1954 in Jersey City, New Jersey.  She is an interdisciplinary artist, performer and ‘cobbler of situations’ who lives in Baltimore, Maryland.  Laure works with a wide range of media including installation and public projects in which she creates experiences, sculptures, and events that invite the viewer to be an active participant. She has exhibited and performed at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Washington Project for the Arts, Performance Space 122 in NYC, as well as many festivals, street corners, vacant lots, and alleys.

She has received Maryland State Artist Awards and a Franklin Furnace Award for performance art and has been a recipient of a US/Japan Creative Artist Fellowship. In 2006 Laure was honored with Baltimore’s Janet and Walter first Sondheim Prize. Laure founded The 14Karat Cabaret, a performance program located at Maryland Art Place and, is a co-organizer and curator of Baltimore’s Transmodern Festival, a festival of provocative works by cultural experimenters from Baltimore and beyond.

In 2009, Laure was the subject of a retrospective exhibited at MICA. Titled Follies, Predicaments. and Other Conundrums:The Art of Laure Dogoul, the show was curated by the then-new Exhibition Development Seminar headed by founding director George Ciscle and developed by the Seminar’s students working with the artist.

In this interview Laure Drogoul discusses post 60’s/70’s performance based art and its practice in the Baltimore region where the city itself became an early focus of art actions. She also addresses the role museums, galleries, alternative spaces, and alt festivals have played in Baltimore over the years and how she views her own broad based creative practice in Baltimore from the 1980’s to today. The interview was recorded at The 14Karat Cabaret during the Summer of 2015.

Laure_drogoul_train-tunnel-1980 Laure Drogoul with her Tiger Stencil painting in a tunnel, 1980.
Drogoul was a MFA student at this time attending  MICA’s  Rinehart School of Sculpture .

LaureDrogoul_Weather-RoomWeather Room, Empire Salon Show, 1981

At Second Story Books—one of the first artist collective spaces in Baltimore to present experimental art.

installation-with-cows-from-LaureDrogoul_Ha_Ha_Hay_Hamburger_HamburgersInstallation with Cows — “Ad Hoc Fiasco” at Wyman Park Dell, Baltimore. Early 1980’s.

Of the Ad-Hoc Fiascos, Megan Hamilton later wrote, “The Fiascos were anarchic, disorganized, innovative events replete with gestures and processes that reveberate to this day…..” Megan Hamilton, Stenciled on Marble Steps Link No. 2 (1997)
LaureDrogoul_hamburger-standcows-in-Wyman-DellInstallation with Cows —”Ad Hoc Fiasco” at Wyman Park Dell, Baltimore. Early 1980’s.

Laure_Drogoul_drilling-an-eggTo Drill an Egg “Workshop of Filthy Creation”. Performance 1989 Theatre Project, Baltimore MD Baltimore Museum of Art 1991 the Painted Bride Theatre, Philadelphia 1992

Performance based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Laure_Drogoul_Workshop-of-Filthy-Creation-To Drill an Egg “Workshop of Filthy Creation”. Performance 1989 Theatre Project, Baltimore MD Baltimore Museum of Art 1991 the Painted Bride Theatre, Philadelphia 1992

Performance based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.laure_drogoul_fuguechamberFugue Chamber for Amnesiacs Installation/Performance. 1994 School33 Art Center Baltimore, MD Delaware Museum of Art 1996 (pictured) Washington Project for the Artslauredrgoul_the14ktcabaret-in-gay-pride-parade-199514K Caberet participating in the Baltimore Gay Pride Parade 1995.
In the car are Catherine Pancake, Laure Drogoul, and Alan Waldron. Driving the car is Rick Wilsonlaure_drogoul_dolly-litDolly. Sculpture 1998

Brief video documentation of site-construction of Drogoul’s papier-mâché sculptures  Dolly, Bozo, and Tower of Babel.
laure_drogoul_sweetieSweetie Sculpture 1998
laure_drogoul_Olafactory01Sentorium (olifactory factory) – 2002 – ongoing.

As a Smell Hostess, Laure blindfolds willing participants and various olfactory specimens are placed under their nose. They are asked a series of questions connected to the specimens. Laure specifically asks them not to try to identify the specimen but to simply respond to the scent and the memory it may evoke.laure_drogoul_sentorium07Sentorium (olifactory factory) 2007
A gallery visitor entering survey info to be included in the Global Smell Map.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFrequencies for Darwin (vermi conversation) 2006
1000 red wigglers, microphones, amplifier, red light.

In this installation the participant is invited to talk to worms via a sculptural instrument. The worm filled glass jar has been modified with an audio speaker that vibrates when the participant speaks through the microphone. This work is inspired in part by the experiments of Charles Darwin with worms and vibration as discussed in his seminal book “The Formation Of Vegetable Mould, Through The Actions of Worms”.

laure_drogoul_the-mailn-drainThe Main Drain. Performance 2005.

Area 405 Gallery site specific performance Mixed media, three performers.

The Main Drain (short segment) – Video
laure_drogoul_stitchSymphonic Stitch “Cyberfest” 2010 Art Space Poligraf, St. Petersburg, Russia St. Petersburg, Russia 2010. Participatory installation and performance yarn, electronic interactive media, video, modified suitcase.

Symphonic Stitch is an interactive installation and performance with projected light and sound. The project invites the visitor to participate as part of a musical knitting circle. The knitter’s needles are equipped with tiny microphones, which amplify the percussive nature of the knitting process, capturing the rhythmic counter point of the participant’s hand movements. The sound is then processed and generates a visual that references the body’s physiological system. The installation reveals the sound and synchronicity connected to needlework that creates an environment that is an aural and visual manifestation of the participant’s collective process and a symphonic expression of the craft. Laure was invited to bring the knitting installation to St.Petersburg Russia, for inclusion in a new media festival. Pictured are Russian woman knitting, during the festival.lauredrogoul_artguardART GUARD (en garde) 2014 performance as part of Labbodies Lab Baltimore Museum of Art Performance with recorded tape (audio guide), plaster mask and museum guard uniform.

With this performance, Laure suggested that the guard be considered the art of the museum. Masked and uniformed as a Baltimore Museum of Art guard, she offered lessons in self-defense with a pre-recorded audio guide.laure_drogoul_maybePendulum (Oracle) Installation 2014 water, blue light, lens, string, participants EMP Collective, Baltimore, MD

In this installation the participant is invited into a room that contains a suspended water filled pendulum and invited to gently manipulate and/or ask questions of the pendulum via 4 attached hanging lines.laure_drogoul_-swansongafter-life-karaokeSWAN SONG (After-Life Karoke) Installation/performance 2013

Swan Song is a mobile karaoke room in a Funeral Car. This installation invites the viewer to repose in the back of a hearse and sing a song, eulogize or simply watch and listen. Swan Song explores issues relating to loss, death and the finite nature of the body.


Penelope. Performance 2014 EMP Collective Baltimore, MD.

Set Design and Direction Penelope is a shadow play that takes its inspiration from the cunning weaver(and wife of Odysseus) in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. The performance features the songs and soundscapes of Lurch and Holler, acro-balancing by the Dandy Vagabonds performances by Selena Schreyer, Joe Meduza, Isa Leal, and Diane Hugé. Garments by John Flowers, animation by Laurence Arcadias, set and direction by Laure Drogoul.

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