Sneeze

Video, color, sound, 5:11, 2015

Sneezer: Zachary Carlisle Davidson

Music: Jijyun Kim

Sound: Kevin Weinberg

Sneeze explores the stigmatized symptom of common cold—the involuntary expulsion of air and bodily fluid—as an allegory of social ruptures that might mediate infectious resistance. Mixing the Cold War era’s educational film footage promoting personal hygiene as a ‘war against germs’ with images of explosive creation, this film aesthetically subverts the uniquely modern fantasy of separation and isolation of the ‘healthy’ from the ‘ill.’

I wait for a sneeze.

A long sneeze. A long, quaking expulsion of slimy mucus from an old wound. 

A long, unexpected burst that sets out new lives.

A long, unannounced explosion that wakes us up from a lingering nap,

breaking the equilibrium of our body, being, living, thinking, feeling, knowing, and doing. 

A body asleep can’t sneeze. 

Only a keen becoming can endure the tearing combustion and scattering shards of seeds into the open air. 

I search for a sneeze. 

A sneeze that borrows my bodies to awake others’ bodies.

A sneeze from others inside my bodies. 

When we sneeze, when we are shaken and quaked, we will see we live in a borrowed world of others’ bodies. 

Only then, we will escape from containment through contamination. 

Resistance will be born from infection.

© Yunjin La-mei Woo. 2006–2020. All Rights Reserved.