Grace Laubacher, '09
GRACE LAUBACHER, ’09, is an artist and theater designer based in New York. In the past year, she has undertaken collaborations at the Juilliard School, the Bring to Light/Nuit Blanche NYC festival, and the soloNOVA Arts Festival. She has previously worked at the American Repertory Theater, the Williamstown Theater Festival, the National Theatre of England, and Punchdrunk immersive theater production Sleep No More in Chelsea, NYC. She is also a member of art party, an experimental theater company founded by Harvard graduates, who have performed original audience-inclusive works all over New York City. After her graduation from Harvard, Grace earned a Masters Degree in Performance Design from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London.
At Harvard, my academic home was the screening room at the Carpenter Center, where, as a Film Studies concentrator, I examined the history and theory of cinema and the moving image. A liberal-arts enclave of the VES department, Film Studies is dedicated to the notion that films are not merely aesthetic objects, but cultural and anthropological artifacts – which have, since their invention, played a definitive role in shaping social trends, cultural norms and beliefs, and even political ideologies. My study of film was, therefore, an analysis of the way that mass media have altered the course of society and history since the early 1900s. I now work in theater, designing and building sets for operas, plays, and other performance events. As a designer, I am responsible for conceiving a historical and cultural context for the work, and for finding its visual and architectural expression, a task for which I routinely call upon my knowledge of film aesthetics and the history of photography, as well as developments in art and architecture that predate both these forms. And, since film is such a multidisciplinary art form, my concentration led me to take classes in a variety of fields: English literature, philosophy and intellectual history, contemporary music, and anthropology, to name a few. Thanks to these courses, I now understand the great intellectual, literary and artistic achievements that have shaped our modern world. And in today's global context, in which the artistic, economic, political, and social spheres are more tightly interwoven than ever before, I am convinced that choosing a cross-disciplinary major was the best thing I could have done to become a responsible and active citizen of the contemporary world.