June 20, 2013

Contributor's Notes–Phil Sawdon

Interviews and guest posts from the writers and artists of Versal 11. Phil Sawdon is an artist, writer and sometime academic. He lives and works in the UK, where he is an Honorary Fellow at Loughborough University in the School of the Arts. He publishes and exhibits in a wide variety of formats, including academic, scholarly, and pedagogical texts, essays, moving image, sound works, creative fictions, and artworks. Phil maintains a blog at http://philsawdon.tumblr.com.

Tell us about your writing process. Make sure to lie about at least two things. 
My writing is best conducted early in the morning after at least a 6k run on the elliptical trainer. I gather various odds, ends and scraps of source material together in anticipation of the bricolage and response that will emerge. I draw with text through a keyboard and digital screen.

What's the longest you've ever gone without sleeping? Why (if you can share...)? 
36 hours. Once upon a time I was involved in a charity walk, strolling and struggling for 54 miles or 87 kilometers.

What's one well-known and one little-known lit mag currently doing amazing work? 
Stimulus Respond and Danse Macabre. I leave it to others to decide on the status of their familiarity. 

What can you tell us about Holland other than tulips, clogs, red lights, and drugs?
I can tell you that I visit Amsterdam at least once a year. I can tell you that my favorite footballer is Dennis Bergkamp and I can tell you that Holland has very fine Warme Chocolademelk.

If your piece in Versal could be paired with any art work, what would it be? 
I am fortunate enough to have three contributions in Versal. 
The pairings would be Drawn and Rendered with George Grosz, Sanatorium, 1917.
The Drawing Frame with Richard Dadd, Songe de la Fantasie, 1864, and This Is Not the Drawing. This Is the Exact Imitation of One with Georges Seurat, Study for La Parade, 1887. 

What dirty secret would you like to tell us? 
I wouldn’t so I haven’t.

Most unbelievable place you've ever been to? Why? 
The Fictional Museum of Drawing
It is a heuristic architecture of found words … readymade propositions, parlance and bricolage for no such place in the middle, the furthest place from fixed points of view.

Do you have a philosophy of writing? Can you condense it into 30 words? 
Yes I do. Yes I can. Writing is playing with words.

What's your playlist look like these days? 
Some of it looks like this:
Away Towards: Hookworms
The Boy with the Jigsaw Puzzled Fingers: Karl Hyde
When the Fire is Dead in the Grate: Wolf People
Hang ‘em High: Booker T. & the M.G.’s
Planet Caravan: Black Sabbath
In Bluer Skies: Echo & the Bunnymen
Solid Air: John Martyn
Arc-Lite (Sonar): Loop
Love Fade: Tamaryn
Arm’s Length: Zaza

What book is so unbelievably mind-blowing that it makes you want to stop writing? 
None, however particular favorites that I can read over and over are The Little Grey Men, BB, the Gormenghast trilogy, Mervyn Peake, Perfume, Patrick Suskind and The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot.

On The Newlywed Game, contestants were asked what vegetable they think they are. What's your totem vegetable?
Plum tomato

Why did you send work to Versal? Be honest. 
I think it’s a very cool project and journal. I wanted to be read alongside the range and creative quality that the journal is known for. 

Tell us what you're working on right now.
I’m working on several writing projects and preparing work for an exhibition in November. The writing includes two books: Drawing Ambiguity (with Russ Marshall) and Drawing Difference (with Marsha Meskimmon). I am also working on an article for an exhibition catalogue, an academic journal paper, a chapter for a book, and a collaborative installation (with Deborah Harty as humhyphenhum) for an exhibition November 2013 (drawology).


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