The Institute For Comedic Inquiry is an artist-led institute that studies humor and turns absurdities into eyebrow-raising public experiments.

Since 2009, we’ve been engaging people with our experiments. They usually take the form of interactive objects or performances. Each shares a common goal: using humor, science, art, and performance as tools for publicly debating ideas. All are based on our research and collaboration with scientists and experts.

2022: Gait Augmentation Seminar

A workout for outsmarting skeletal tracking surveillance. Go incognito on any sidewalk.


Go from haha to hand-holding with this humor-first dating program.

Insecurity Security Screening

A whisper-based screening station for securing your insecurities.

Pantsuit Power Walk For Hilary

Ride gold escalators and do shoulder shimmy limbo contests to show support for Hilary.

Human Pollination Project

Be a bee. Now you can pollinate on the go with this fashionable toolset.


Remix your laugh from fake to ‘real’. Do you want AIs to laugh like us humans?

The Reactionizer

A meditation protocol for slowing down your Twitter reactions.

Portland Laugh Line

A rotary phone, hacked to serve up locally-crafted jokes.

Quantified Laugh Tear Self

I collect my laugh tears. They tell me more about myself than my steps.


An joke-writing AI that specializes in analogies.






Cliche humor is making a comeback in the age of Trump—seems we’re really desperate for comedic relief. 🧻 Alexa finally stopped her creepy unsolicited laughing, but it was an eerie reminder that she is always listening.👂🏻Visual puns about bodily humor were found on a latrine in Turkey—they are 1,800 years old! 🚽 The oldest joke is dirty and taboo. 🍆 A study of The Onion’s headlines revealed there are linguistic cues that signal satire. 📰

Related Experiment: synthHAsizer.



Could gait tracking be the new facial recognition?🚶🏻‍♀The Washington County, Oregon PD was first to use Amazon’s Rekognition facial tracking software.👮🏻An NDA prevented public disclosure. 💵 Facial tracking training data isn’t diverse. 👎🏽 The FBI’s facial recognition can match 640 million people. 📸 San Francisco outlawed police use of facial recognition, but is a ban is the right approach? ❌ Privacy law students googled people based on what they saw and heard. 🤳🏽 Surveillance in China. 👀

Related Experiment: 2022: Gait Augmentation Seminar.


Online Dating

Many love-seekers say they are “looking for someone who shares my sense of humor”. 🤣 Do you know how you use humor? 🥼 Appearance-first dating apps are affecting our mental health. 😨 Maybe we should stop already with feeling sparks and commit to three dates. 💗 A ghost-writer for your dating profile costs $2,000 a month. 💵 Don’t lie, have you been sexting the waters, caspering, or lining? 👻

Related Experiment: hümr.