Views from the Pandemic
Much as it has profoundly disrupted how we interact in physical social spaces, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our relationship to all forms of visual media, and altered how we witness social interactions on-screen. Every Movie Cough and Mask-O-Vision are two playful yet provocative web experiences that explore our anxieties about contagion by recontextualizing scenes from film and television. Each site engages current fears of proximity and draws attention to natural human behaviors that have taken on new meaning in 2020.
Every Movie Cough presents coughs and sneezes from throughout the history of cinema. The first database of its kind, the site explores how such bodily expulsions, whether played for comedy or for dramatic effect, take on a new significance as vectors for disease when viewed during a pandemic. In addition to an extensive compilation of clips, the site includes an interactive “Name That Cough” game, and invites viewers to suggest cinematic coughs and sneezes to add to the database.
Mask-O-Vision addresses what its creator Jason Eppink calls “Naked Face Shock,” the sensation of being startled by a close-up of an unmasked character in a film or television show. Utilizing an experimental new browser extension, Mask-O-Vision applies state-of-the-art face-tracking technology to algorithmically detect close-up shots of unmasked faces in films and television shows. They are then covered with computer-generated masks, altering our relationship to what we see.