The Lazarus Project is an ongoing collaboration between Finnish multimedia artist Sampsa Pirtola and New York painter Laura Summer.

The Lazarus Project was inspired when a colleague of ours who works to end gang violence in Los Angeles, said to Laura, “ I am interested in the image of Lazarus”. We took this to mean, “What is needed today to wake up from a death like sleep of materialism? How can art be an instigator here? What would happen if human beings awoke to the greater needs of the people around them, to the needs of the earth, to the needs of the culture, to the needs of the spirit?”

Our collaborative exploration of these questions has led through themes as diverse as virtual reality and trans-humanism, popular understandings of life-after-death, historical and contemporary initiation and the role of art in social life. It has created an ever changing body of work including paintings, drawings, video, monoprints, text and performance.

The Lazarus Project was piloted in May 2016 in Hudson NY as the concluding presentation of a six week artist-in-residency at Free Columbia  www.freecolumbia.org. From puppetry and shoemaking to after school arts programs for children, Free Columbia is home to a wide variety of cultural offerings including a full-time adult course exploring painting in relation to the spiritual aspects of the human being and the world.  For seven years, Free Columbia has served as an active investigation into the decommodification of art, with the explicit goal of creating a space for free culture in Columbia County, New York.   

See the trailer here

To see a report of the Lazarus Project click here.

Laura Summer