Sleep Anxiety is one of two artworks in Sarah Howe’s series Diagnosing the Cure. The piece extracts aesthetic elements from online resources dealing with anxiety and self help. The GIF format compiles still images into a moving sequence which repeats in an infinite loop. This style of reformatting reframes self help and anxiety in relation to the influence of digital media.
Diagnosing the Cure takes self-diagnosis videos and therapeutic home practices sourced online as its starting point. Howe collects videos and practices, then reproduces them in GIF format. The series reflects on the rise of self-diagnosis practices and networks, looking at the impact communities of online health speculators have on the individual. On another level the project looks at the wider social and political context of anxiety and its contemporary treatment.