9781844677474-savage-messiah-max_221

Savage Messiah

The acclaimed art fanzine’s psychogeographic drifts through a ruined city.
“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 laid out, 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 collects the entire set of Laura Oldfield Ford’s fanzine to date. Part graphic novel, part artwork, the book is both an angry polemic against the marginalization of the city’s working class and an exploration of the cracks that open up in urban space.

Reviews

  • “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.”
  • “Oldfield Ford displays authentic gifts as a recorder and mapper of terrain. She is a necessary kind of writer, smart enough to bring document and poetry together in a scissors-and-paste, post-authorial form.”
  • “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.”
  • “There is poetry ... there is anger ... there are calls to arms ... and thankfully, there is humour.”
  • Savage Messiah’s fractured narratives, clipped sloganeering and topographical poetics have been, for the last decade or so, a kind of solace for anyone who loathed the coked-up arrogance, the intellectual and political vacuity and compulsory amnesia of the boom. It was a constant reminder that bad times were just around the corner.”
  • “No exercise in style nostalgia, this is her recovery of punk’s provocation and politicization.”
  • “Looking at Oldfield Ford's work, one sees the last three decades of urban flux laid out as singular snapshots—from the infinite, utopic possibilities of abandoned land that rave culture picked up, to the increasing civic and corporate control of space.”
  • “What made Savage Messiah so interesting was ... its dialectical montage, its lost futures erupting into and over-running the seamless, optimistic spectacle of redevelopment and speculation—because it imagined other futures than the one being sold so extortionately to Londoners. It held out the promise of another modernism, of things no longer going on as they are.”

Blog

  • "The suburb is the new inner city" Laura Oldfield Ford's new exhibition at the Stanley Picker Gallery

    Laura Oldfield Ford analyses the increasing reversal of the suburb and the inner city for a text to accompany her new exhibition, Seroxat, Smirnoff, THC held at the Stanley Picker Gallery in Kingston. Laura is an artist and the writer of the acclaimed put 'n' paste zine Savage Messiah. The show will be running from 9th October to the 29th November and will be accompanied by two "drifts" around the Ballardian landscapes of suburban Surrey on Saturday 25 Oct and Wed 12 November.


    ..the suburbs are self medicating..

    The suburb is the new inner city, a reversal has taken place. Once maligned areas like Brixton, Hackney and Clapham have become the chic residences of a new bouregoisie; spaces once open for experimentation and drifting have been locked down and sealed off; squatting has become illegal, being on the dole means attending endless time wasting courses constructed to please Mr and Mrs Ukip in Middle England...time has been co opted, we no longer have time to wander and dream in a city where exorbitant rents take all your wages.

    Continue Reading

  • Zones of Sacrifice 1990-2014


    Brutalist architecture has haunted my life. It has always been there as an obsession, an enduring, compelling aesthetic, and a site of possibilty and emergence. When I was a child we moved house quite a lot, the cast always reshuffled alongside a changing landscape.

    I remember journeys along the A64 to visit my Dad. I must have been six or seven. We would drive through Leeds past the tower blocks of Seacroft, through the tunnels with their mosaics and orange lights, the International pool, Merrion Centre and Quarry Hill flats. The brutalist architecture of Leeds indelibly marked me; these journeys were emotionally heightened, suffused with a kind of sublime anxiety.

    My early memories of family life are embedded in the black stone terraces, 70s new builds and post war council estates of West Yorkshire. Later we moved to a street of 1930s red bricks houses in Scarborough. Brutalist architecture seemed transcendent, totally beyond the microworlds I inhabited in my Grandma's semi detached house.

    Continue Reading

  • A Reading List for the Olympics: Part One

    Barbaric Sport: A Global Plague Marc Perelman

    Perelman’s book takes a subversive look at sport and global sporting events such as the Olympics to reveal their darker side. He argues that sport has become an instrument of political control and a vehicle for capitalist monoculture.  This timely polemic offers refreshing reading to those looking for an antidote to this summer’s Olympian frenzy. 

    Cities Under Siege: The New Military UrbanismStephen Graham

    This authoritative study examines the rapid and dangerous spread and normalization of surveillance and state policing in western cities and warzones alike under the guise of national security.  As such it provides an unsettling and provocative insight into the global backdrop of the rising costs and militarization of London’s Olympic Games security operation. 

    A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys through Urban BritainOwen Hatherley

    Hatherley’s critical tour of Britain’s urban centres incorporates the latest and most high profile attempt at regeneration offering a carefully considered indictment of the architectural and social failures of Stratford’s Olympic sites.

    Continue Reading