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Monday, September 25, 2023

UF student organizes campus laughing event to examine forced laughter

On Friday, Tatyana Kornilova, 18, laid down next to about 50 others in the Fine Arts Courtyard and laughed for 30 minutes.

“People started laughing, and then we couldn’t stop laughing,” the UF art freshman said. “It was very surreal.”

Emily Bonani, a UF art senior with a specialization in sculpture, said the event was a piece called “Look What We Got Away With.” The 22-year-old directed it in four parts, as a way to show the dark side of laughter. Through the event, she was able to keep the crowd laughing at nothing.

She said the goal was to show how forced laughter differs from natural laughter. Similar to crying, it is a powerful action people experience on a daily basis, she said.

“It’s something that eases us, that unifies us, but it’s also something we use as a coping mechanism,” Bonani said.

To prepare the crowd to laugh, Ilyusha Mann, 21, performed a song on his ukulele and sang about memes and laughing at one another.

“We can either laugh at a thing or we can laugh at nothing,” the UF art senior with a specialization in sculpture sang.

Learning to laugh is as important as breathing, he said. It gives us life.

“It opens us up and it’s an important means of human connection,” he said.

After having the participants compete in a laugh-off and lie on the ground, Bonani directed everyone to stand up and laugh one last time before falling silent.

“It was an event, this magical thing that occurred, and it was exhausting,” Bonani said.

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