Pandemic Affect: Every Movie Cough Launch Event

Monday, October 19, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

A discussion with Every Movie Cough creators Jason Eppink and Mike Lacher, and Cultural Studies Professor Maggie Hennefeld.

Every Movie Cough is an online exhibit presenting coughs and sneezes from the history of cinema, commissioned by Museum of the Moving Image in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 1894’s Fred Ott’s Sneeze, filmmakers have depicted bodily outbursts. Some of these expulsions are pivotal to the narrative, while others are purely incidental. Today, they all take on new significance as vectors for possible disease. Join Every Movie Cough creators Jason Eppink and Mike Lacher as they talk with critic and cultural studies professor Maggie Hennefeld (Death from Laughter, Female Hysteria, and Early Cinema) about the performance of involuntary expulsions across history and movie genre, and the mixed feelings—from enjoyment to anxiety—that these scenes now provoke.

This event will include a walkthrough of the new Every Movie Cough website and demo of the associated trivia game, as well as a Q&A moderated by Associate Curator of Science and Film Sonia Epstein.

Watch the recorded event.

While this event is free, we hope you will consider supporting the Museum with a donation. MoMI's staff is working hard to fulfill its mission via remote programming. This comes with opportunities to experiment but also profound challenges. Your support is critical to ensure our work remains vital and visible to a broad public. Suggested donation: $10. Donate here.

About the participants:

Jason Eppink creates playful, collaborative interventions in on- and offline public spaces. His work has found international acclaim and been presented by such esteemed institutions as the Venice Architecture Biennale and New York City’s New Museum of Contemporary Art. It's also all available online for free. Previously Eppink served as the Curator of Digital Media at Museum of the Moving Image, where he addressed subjects like animated GIFs, video games, and internet cats. He currently designs and develops original technology-based puzzle rooms at Escape the Room.

Mike Lacher is a writer and developer. He's written some of the Internet's most popular humor articles for McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He's built satirical games like Thoughts and Prayers: The Game, The New York Times' Privacy Chicken, and the Emmy-nominated Voter Suppression Trail. And he's made a number of other odd stunts, bots, and experiences that range from the somewhat sublime to the entirely dumb.

Maggie Hennefeld is McKnight Presidential Fellow and associate professor of cultural studies and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is author of the award-winning Specters of Slapstick and Silent Film Comediennes (Columbia University Press, 2018), and co-editor of Cultural Critique and of two volumes, Unwatchable (Rutgers University Press, 2019) and Abjection Incorporated: Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence (Duke University Press, 2020). She is currently writing a book about the history of women who allegedly died from laughing too hard, considered alongside theories of female hysteria and historiographies of early cinema. In addition to her academic writing, she is a cultural critic and international curator of silent cinema.