Defeat of The Champion and Savage Messiah at Goldsmiths 21.Oct.2011

Special Double Bill event:

– Laura Oldfield Ford – author of Savage Messiah –


– Ken Fero/Tariq Mehmood’s new film – Defeat of the Champion (25 mins) –

plus discussion.

21 Oct 2011

NOTE: room Change to RHB Cinema – same time, 5pm friday. 

(RHB Cinema Goldsmiths College, 5pm- 8pm)

Screening and discussion on the same bill with:

A talk by Laura Oldfield Ford

– authour of SAVAGE MESSIAH  –

Published 17 October 2011 by Verso

 Praise for Laura Oldfield Ford’s work

 “The consumer-friendly face of neoliberal Britain gets an anarchic makeover in Laura Oldfield Ford’s politically biting work. … No false promises of a brighter, better, more sanitised tomorrow here. Instead, she focuses on areas haunted by an urban dispossessed, which regeneration seeks to concrete over: city wastelands where fortress-like old tower-blocks rise, with their Escher-like walkways and bleak “recreational” open spaces.” Guardian, Artist of the Week 

“This black-and-white, cut‘n’paste-style zine by the artist Laura Oldfield Ford, in which she traces her psychogeographical drifts around London’s grimey underbelly, has achieved cult status in art circles since its first issue in 2005. Be warned: this is a city you won’t find in any guidebook.” Independent

“One of the most striking fanzines of recent years is Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah, focussing on the politics, psychology and pop-cultural past of a different London postcode. Ford’s prose is scabrous and melancholic, incorporating theoretical shards from Guy Debord and Marc Augé, and mapping the transformations to the capital that the property boom and neoliberalist economics have wrought. Each zine is a drift, a wander through landscape that echoes certain strands of contemporary psychogeography. Ford—or a version of her, at least— is an occasional character, offering up narcotic memories of a forgotten metropolis. The images, hand-drawn, photographed and messily laidout, suggest both outtakes from a Sophie Calle project and the dust jacket of an early 1980s anarcho-punk compilation record: that is, both poetry and protest.” Sukhdev Sandhu, New Statesman


  • Savage Messiah records drifts through a ruined city, collecting the entire set of Laura Oldfield Ford’s acclaimed art fanzine to date. Part graphic novel, part artwork, the book is both an unflinching polemic against the marginalization of the city’s officially defeated, and an exploration of the ruptures that open up in everyday life, in urban space and time. An ephemeral, palimpsestic London emerges from the shadow of the looming megalith of ‘London 2012.’ Savage Messiah takes us on a tour of its landmarks – Kings Cross to Hackney Wick, Elephant and Castle, Westway, North Acton to Canary Wharf – with forays North through memory.

Ford uncovers and chronicles the conquered, repressed city in a punky, DIY style using scissors and glue – rather than digital cut and paste – to reclaim an aesthetic rendered anodyne by advertising. By collage, mixing photography, drawings and text,Savage Messiah reconfigures the seamless order of neoliberalism, dislocating its established narratives.

In evocative, fragmentary narrative recalling JG Ballard and David Peace, Ford conjures the dispossessed. Through her perspective speak the timeless voices of the working class, punks, ravers, squatters and militants – and also the rioters of 2011: those ruthlessly Photoshopped out of the city in which the dominant mood calls its work of exclusion and sanitization ‘regeneration’.

Savage Messiah opens up and maps oppositional pathways through time and the city, creating an alternative space for the spectral, unregenerated lost generations of the past to roam. In doing so, it also forecasts our future; our present is already inscribed.

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