Laughing Matters

Date: Wednesday, 8 June 2005, 7–8:30 pm
Location: The Kitchen, 512 W 19th St, New York
Tickets: $5. No RSVP necessary

Laughing is easy but understanding why we do it has puzzled philosophers, scientists, and sociologists for a long time. Artist Luke Murphy’s presentation will draw on the simplicity of Powerpoint graphs to clarify once and for all the relationship between laughter and other emotional states. This will be followed by a screening of Beckett’s short film from 1965, in which an aging Buster Keaton seems to have a pathological aversion to allowing his face to be seen by the other protagonists or even the camera. Beckett’s 20-minute film will provide the background for philosopher Simon Critchley to explore the three philosophical traditions for explaining why we enjoy putting back our heads, open our mouths, and have a series of respiratory spasms. A question-and-answer session will follow.

Organized by Cabinet in conjunction with its Laughter issue.

This program is sponsored by New York Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.