Transmissions from a Discarded Future

Laura Oldfield Ford
25 November 2011 - 14 January 2012

Private view:24 November 6-9pm

'Luck isn't about waiting around, it's about taking chances. This season everything you need to live in the moment and feel the magic is right here'.

Advert Oxford Street August 2011


"Everyone from all sides of London meet up at the heart of London (central) OXFORD CIRCUS!!, Bare SHOPS are gonna get smashed up so come get some (free stuff!!!) fuck the feds we will send them back with OUR riot! >:O

Blackberry IM August 2011


'Stratford City', London2012 become taunts in a political economy of mass dispossession. The slick, corporate image of the ODC collapses into ruin as it's ruptured by riots and a collective reordering of the city. The streets here are populated by those of us who were never invited into the glossy vistas of urban regeneration schemes. Isolated in flats, stuck in front of flat screen TVs, the interior spaces that have held us captive are fizzing with latent fury. Killing time with dissociatives, our heads swarm with images, prismatic shards of malevolence pierce the gloam. The glittering arcades of the new shopping malls have become pockets of hallucinogenic hate.


Confrontational billboards, tender portraits and maps of riot torn postcodes form an unfinished collage where the hidden narratives of the city are made fleetingly visible. In the bedrooms of brutalist estates, derelict shopping arcades and abandoned council flats, frames collide in an endless parade of televised images, hoardings and high end campaigns for luxury goods. Opulent settings and the wealthy new residents of gentrified areas become subsumed in a sprawling architectural labyrinth.


London's large abandoned housing estates are the spectral sectors of the city. Ghosts of brutalist architecture, 90s convoy culture, rave scenes, 80s political movements and a virulent black economy of scavengers, peddlers and shoplifters haunt these sprawling schemes.  Walking through the redeveloped and regenerated streets we experience alienation and familiarity simultaneously, traces and fragments of memory emerge as melancholy yearnings in the smooth space of the developers plans. But it is in the sudden moment of collective engagement that the city becomes elevated, it is then that it belongs to you. Platitudes rendered anodyne in aspirational ad campaigns become splinters in the spectacle--- 'It is your time, seize the moment'--- Historical time is suspended allowing us to break out of a slow abandonment. In that moment of rupture there is an explosive escape from solitary malaise. The street becomes the territory of the collective, in that instant rubble strewn avenues open and a multitude of futures beckon.


Your life is your life
Don't let it be clubbed into dank submission.
Be on the watch.
There are ways out.
There is a light somewhere.
It may not be much light but
It beats the darkness.
Be on the watch.
The gods will offer you chances.
Know them.
Take them.
You can't beat death but
You can beat death in life, sometimes.
And the more often you learn to do it,
The more light there will be.
Your life is your life.
Know it while you have it.
You are marvellous
The gods wait to delight
In you.


The Laughing Heart, Charles Bukowski, recuperated by Levi in an ad campaign that was pulled in 2011 due to rioting.


This is Laura Oldfield Ford's second solo show with the gallery. Since completing her MA Painting at the Royal College of Art, Oldfield Ford has exhibited widely with recent projects in Bristol city centre for Arnolfini (Bristol), [Space] (Barking Malthouse) and De Appel (Amsterdam). Future shows include There is a Place… (The New Art Gallery Walsall) and Desire Paths (Caja Madrid, Barcelona). Savage Messiah, Oldfield Ford's first publication of her renowned zine is now available.