This is an archived page from the Website Archive of British artist Ellie Harrison from Version 3.0 (active 2008 - 2015). New website:

last updated
15th July 2015

Swear Box 2005 was started on 1st January 2005 and lasted for one whole year, ending on 31st December. Throughout the year, Ellie made a note of every single sentence she uttered which contained a swear word. At the end of each week the recorded sentences were deposited into the virtual Swear Box online. Click on the link to the right under ‘Further Reference’ to launch the completed Swear Box (requires Flash Player). As well as the full version of the Swear Box, it is also possible to view each month individually, so that it is easier to read the individual sentences recorded.

Once inside the Swear Box, the sentences are displayed within ‘speech bubbles’ and move randomly as though with minds of their own. When the mouse pointer rolls over a speech bubble it changes to a ‘thought bubble’ describing the incident which caused that particular outburst. It is possible to use the mouse pointer to interact with the speech bubbles and to attempt to drag them away from the others so that they can be read more easily. Be warned: they’re angry, they don’t like being dragged and they’ll do anything they can to escape!

The speed at which a speech bubble moves around the Swear Box is defined by the offensiveness of the swear word it contains. On 17th January 2005 Ellie and her mother created a Subjective Hierarchical Order of Offensiveness for the defined swear words in order to determine their relative speeds. Within the Swear Box the speech bubbles are colour-coded to indicate the month in which they occurred. The ‘monthly colour register’, defined during the project Sneezes 2003, is used. Over the course of the year the Swear Box became crammed full of a whole spectrum of colourful language.

Following Eat 22, Gold Card Adventures and the Daily Quantification Records, Swear Box 2005 was Ellie’s fourth major year-long project. By this time Ellie had begun to develop an interest in the difficulties and less disable side effects of maintaining a project on this scale. So, running concurrently with Swear Box 2005, Ellie produced a monthly diary entry describing her experiences of maintaining the project.