Open Your Palm, Feel The Dust Settling There - Laura Grace Ford

20 May 2020

Rediscover the city through Open Your Palm See The Dust Settling There, an audio work by artist and Savage Messiah author Laura Grace Ford, the latest PAUSE, a mid-week moment to take in an artist’s work in full. Generated by psychogeographic walks – drifts – through the Latimer Road, Hammersmith and White City areas of West London, the work was originally comprised of three parts, and is now available as a feature length podcast.

Comprised of a conflation of spoken text and sound collage, Open Your Palm is an audio work responding to the psychic and emotional contours of the city,  Made from field recordings and fragments of found music, the spectral sectors of the city permeate across the work. The channelling of voices based on real encounters allows for an intersubjective relationship with the terrain, an approach to sound and text as a form of psychic ventriloquy.

‘A dinted portakabin houses a pirate radio station, nocturnal Grime scene. A tantalising link with Grenfell tower, pink lights glowing in balcony windows. 106.9, Laylow FM’

Savage Messiah, 2011

In this work, Ford reconnects with the counter-narratives of Latimer Road by walking with a personal network of squatters, activists and soundsystems, as well as friends made during a decade of public sector work in the area. In 2005, Ford captured the affective currents of the Latimer Road area in her zine Savage Messiah where she connected with flashpoints of counter-cultural intensity.

The new work is both a lament and the channelling of an incendiary pulse, it is a retracing of steps, a map of warnings left unheeded.

White City, Open Your Palm, Feel the Dust Settling There, Laura Grace Ford

Ford lives in a social housing block where concerns persist about the safety of cladding. Post-Grenfell, narratives were imposed and voices were excluded. Drifts through living rooms, abandoned buildings, and back rooms of pubs allow stories to proliferate from a network of hidden interiors; walking becomes a political strategy, a way of engaging with the collective intensities held in the fabric of a place.

From this process of tuning into these collective channels, Grenfell Tower emerges as a dominant thread in the spatial narratives uncovered on these walks. This series is a mapping of the repercussions and tremors radiating from this moment; most audible in the nomadic and transient zones, Wormwood Scrubs, Hammersmith Hospital, the spaces underneath the Westway.

Breakers yard - Laura Grace Ford


Laura Grace Ford 

London based artist and writer concerned with spatial narratives, contested space, architecture, fiction and memory (formerly Laura Oldfield Ford). Author of the much lauded zine Savage Messiah, her work is a psychogeographic mapping of de-industrialised zones and the new forms of socio-political discourse that arise there. In a series of texts, collages, paintings, audio works and installations she discusses the phenomena of gentrification and migration by drawing on the experience of displacement in cities subsumed by a finance-capital matrix. Central to her practice is the dérive, a process of mapping the psychic contours of the city. Her work returns to a deep involvement in subcultural scenes and protest movements and is an intense scrutiny of new urban terrain, nationalism and class.

Tell the truth, Laura Grace Ford