“Symptoms of the World” by Harriet Gifford

SYMp 24 with URL

“symptoms of the world”



Programme of publication

 3 – 23 August 2015

each day from 

midnight to midnight (b.s.t.)

a short section of sound and moving image comprising the artwork

“symptoms of the world”

will appear and disappear

What do you do when the archive, the official record or one’s own family legends do not match your own memories or contradict your sense of self? And where do you keep the things that you are tacitly but firmly invited not to talk about?

Symptoms of the World  is a new online sound and image work by Harriet Gifford, an MA Sound and Image student at the School of Music and Fine Art, University of Kent,  which addresses these issues through layers of time, progressively deteriorating sound cues, visual mementos and in-built ephemerality.

Over the course of 22 days in August, starting on 3rd at midnight (b.s.t.) each day a new one-minute segment will be posted on http://www.involuntarymemory.agency/ then exchanged with the next day’s piece 24 hours later. Each minute long segment being available for one day only.

Constructed around a 22 minute sound work, the sections of published imagery layer meaning and memory cues of landscape and family memorabilia against the sound environment. The imagery, the collection will be lost to view, in the way of all web content, after its allotted time. The sound piece will, in opposition to the normal nature of sound, endure.

This work emerges from a practice that is deeply engaged with the landscape as a site of memory. Landscape is understood here as a palimpsest of human endeavor that forms the background through which personal and cultural identities are developed. Having collected the landscape and the world photographically and through film and sound samples throughout her practice this work finally unites these several strands that have run in parallel for years.

“This work engages the listener with memories and forgetfulness, archive and deletion. Layers of sound, moving and still images disrupt smooth viewing and develop the haptic properties of near indecipherability, evoking places, events and memories not quite captured or complete,” says Harriet.


To experience Symptoms of the World  go to: http://www.involuntarymemory.agency/