The bowels were regarded as the seat of emotion.

Dylan Huw

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Dylan Huw is Jerwood Writer in Residence from January – June 2022. This is his response to BXBY by Soojin Chang, commissioned for Jerwood/FVU Awards 2022 on exhibition at Jerwood Space until 23 July 2022.


On Merriam Webster it says that the word viscera comes from Latin, in which it has essentially the same meaning; something visceral has to do with the viscera. Something visceral is felt “deep down”. Deep down, I think perhaps I knew this, but when I leave the Jerwood/FVU Awards preview early, needing to lie down, listen to some music, and someone responds to me describing Soojin Chang’s BXBY as “visceral” with “ah yes, because visceral literally means the bowels doesn’t it” I’m caught off-guard. Deep down, I know very little about my own body, or anyone else’s, and of all the human organs the bowels are perhaps the most mysterious, the most alien, of them all, and the sensation of seeing guts spill out of a body, even if it isn’t a human one, as in Chang’s film, is a uniquely estranging one.

When you search deep down on Spotify these are the top results: “Deep Down Way Out”. “Deep Down (Blood Orange Remix)”. “Deep Down Body Thrust”. “Deep Down Way Out”. “Deep Inside”. “Deep Down Low”. “Deep Down”. “Deep Down and Dirty – Original Version”. “Deep Inside”. “Deep Down”. “Deep Down”. “Deep Down”. “Deep Inside”. “Deep Down (feat. Caan)”. “Deep Down in Zanzibar”. “Deep Down”. “deep down”. “Deep Down in My Heart”. “Deep Down Low”. “Deep Down”. “Deep Down Low”. “Deep Down”. Deep down, all there is to anything is the reproduction of itself, which is to say that all we can do deep down is think up strategies of survival, like lying down when you begin to feel strangely inhuman, deep down.

Deep down, I would like to lie down again now as I’m not sure if I feel like a human being today. When I google physical it suggests physical symptoms of anxiety; physical symptoms of stress; physical synonym; physical abuse; physical development; physical characteristics; physical theatre; physical signs someone is in love with you; physical symptoms of depression. We are always looking for ways of knowing our bodies better, but our bodies are rarely looking for ways of knowing us back. When I google pregnant it suggests pregnant with emotion; pregnant seat belt; pregnant from toilet seat; pregnant with covid; The Pregnant Man (Thomas Beatie – American orator); pregnant women; pregnant belly; pregnant mri; pregnant barbie.

Deep down, nobody knows anything.

When I google bowels I get bowels meaning; bowels definition; bowels of hell; bowels and back pain; bowels problems; bowels open; bowels not working; bowels ache. Is there a more perfect three-word phrase in the English language than “bowels of hell”? Deep, deep down, nobody knows anything.


Other texts by Dylan Huw: