‘Coronavirus Genome (Monolith)’ by Tom Phillips – published jointly by Plaugolt Satzwechsler and Timglast Editions

This is a palpable production – as a physical thing with its handicraft in welcome evidence, and as a creative response to Covid/lockdown from the writer: this latter obviously conveyed in the resulting typed pages, but also as much by the author’s before/after commentary with its honest illumination on (intense) intention, process and outcome.

As Tom Phillips writes in March 2020, the purpose of this project was to ‘provide a focus each day’ in lockdown, and undertake the process of producing a ‘complete typewritten Coronavirus genome (29,903 characters)’ where, in using a typewriter, ‘I was able to touch it’. The tension between the increasingly apparent ‘meaninglessness’ of the typed genome characters on a page and how Phillips then further engaged with/experienced this (more physically typing, that repetitive process, a growing visual response) became the unfolding creative output. This is assessed and commented on when Phillips writes again about the conclusion of the project in March 2021.

I keep trying to articulate why I have enjoyed this booklet so much but have erased all attempts to do so as over-complication. The pleasure/reward is having the product itself, this palpable and well-produced ‘real’ response, completely devoid of any pretention because of Phillips’ honest statements about intention and then appraisal of the outcome.

You can too here.

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