Phil Sawdon ~ In Situ

The draft traces a map.

The substance is imaginary, infinite, subjective, private; antonymous … a skeleton … devoid of any clear physiognomies, affirming being in and of the world …it indicates the location of numerous bleached bones that carelessly await composition in and on the floor plan of The Fictional Museum of Drawing. There is dry sand and dust throughout.

Aside: We are still ‘studded with flies’ from bygone prose. 

I instinctively thought of others whose flayed skins were in the drawer, conspicuously somewhere and nowhere else, together with the cyphers of their various sites; positions that are sustained whilst engaged in long-drawn-out and excruciating dialogue, a complex,  interwoven flexible matrix of scribble and punctuation on the vellum of drawings’ carcass despite the small brown birds … simultaneously our style of imaginary travel or even migration and our outcome, the material trace of a performance … recording and editing our movements, marks through time and space … we are merging and weaving various rudimentary features … 

This is conceivably not without challenges to some of the orthodoxy of [a] drawing in situ … in place … in the original position … the concepts of host and site extended in an instance of our participation in the language of drawing …

We argued the use of charcoal inserted into the short shallow cuts and the horizontal and vertical intricacies of the formal arrangement of the various lash strokes … engendering discussion of notions of citizenship, ethnic consciousness and identity. 

The lesions simultaneously flexible, economical, open to experimentation and an instinctive instrument of expression … 

Aside: An awkward interruption from the audience …  

I decide to pass it on …

Several years later …

The map has yet to locate any linear equivalents for the materiality that characterises various ritualised practices. 

The physicality of fibre, thread, clay, wood and metal resonates … the performance of spiritual beliefs in rhythmic sound and visual pattern fuses heritage whilst the present moment offers another way of acknowledging and transcribing life force. 

‘Received with thanks to you both … where are we?’

‘Counting words’ 

‘What is there?’

There are topographies … numerous interconnecting and concurrent lines (hypothetically) of thought … lines that are imaginary and visual, lines through and with language(s) … linking … inclusive … relational, indicative, cognitive … drawing around and about something … ruminating across locations, histories and geographies, travelling … through line and imagination and (in) between lines the relationships of those involved …

We intersect and link within the individual space, trace and place … we move through various practices and the space, trace and place of the whole. 

‘Where are we?’

We might be here. 

An open surface made by our marks … I have used our imagination to find a place of fictional space and real space … simultaneously … within and without place 

Aside: As we pause …


Returning Macabrista Phil Sawdon is an artist, writer, erstwhile academic and The Keeper and founder of The Fictional Museum of Drawing. He is an Honorary Fellow of Loughborough University School of the Arts. He resides in the UK in Oadby, Leicestershire. He publishes in various formats including prose drawing fictions, artworks, academic/scholarly books, sound-works and moving image. You can experience some of his writings at the Loughborough University Institutional Repository. He co-edits the online magazine Stimulus Respond and also the academic book series Drawing In. He also works with Deborah Harty as the creative drawing collaboration humhyphenhum and with Russell Marshall as Marshall and Sawdon.


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