In 2011 it was the suburbs that saw the most dramatic displays of collective violence. In Croydon, Edmonton, Catford, Streatham, the barriers broke down and the suburbs suddenly became porous, territorial markers melted and the streets became the site of collective engagement with the spectacle of consumerism, the anger directed towards pawnbrokers, retail parks and high street stores.
A reversal has taken place; the suburb is the new inner city. The situation is fractured and complicated but, after a year spent walking around the outer reaches of South-West London, artist Laura Oldfield Ford argues the suburbs emerge as two distinct categories: Zones of Refuge where bankers, frazzled with siphoning public money, relax and dream of heritage England, of Tolkein, of homes and gardens; and Zones of Sacrifice, the areas allowed to decay amidst sites of gentrification, held captive on all sides by the ghoulish horror of Cath Kidston and cup-cake baking.
âWhat happens when you're forced to spend hours immersed in stultifying work; split-shifts at McDonalds in a traffic island near Heathrow, living in a Travelodge in Sunbury working on the construction of some luxury development, or stuck in a call-centre in Croydon hassling people about loan repayments. You might seek solace in marginal political ideologies, the EDL, Al-Muhajiroun, the comfort and camaraderie of faith, with the thrill of violence to puncture the boredom. But mostly you self-medicate.
Art form Toggle
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