Open City Documentary Festival

7 – 13 September 2022
in London

Laura Grace Ford Presents: An Act of Unforgetting + Q&A

Location Curzon Soho, Director Various, Country UK, Duration 90, Date Event has passed

Laura Grace Ford (formerly Oldfield Ford) is a London based artist and writer concerned with spatial narratives, contested space, architecture, fiction and memory. Drawing on cognitive mapping and the dérive Ford interrogates place by mapping the psychic contours of the city. She has developed a multidisciplinary practice where spectral languages erupt as fictions and dreamings, a reconnection with emancipatory forces embedded in the city.

Ford has curated a combined programme of archival TV documentaries, placing Battle of Trafalgar (1990) alongside an episode of Summer on the Estate (1991) and will be present to discuss and contextualise the programme.

“These films make visible London’s unofficial and unrecognised narratives, stories that exist beyond the official text of the city. The decision to show them is an attempt to rekindle and revive a particular historical moment so that we might visualise or re-member (literally piece together) a radically different social imaginary.

Showing these documentaries is not an exercise in nostalgia but an act of unforgetting, a return to pivotal moments in order to plot other trajectories, other possible outcomes.  The city is indelibly marked by moments of psychic intensity. These moments manifest as biographical fault lines, a narrative web that underscores our life in the city, these are the mental maps, the psycho-topological terrain we carve in our everyday life. Sometimes they erupt collectively in the form of raves, occupations and riots, meshes of micro-narratives coalesce in these moments, stories weave and intersect.

These films are a mapping of these traces, these micro-narratives, a way of restoring visibility to stories that would otherwise be erased in marketing and ‘place making’ strategies.

In Mark Fisher’s interrupted project ‘Acid Communism’ ( 2016 ) he writes ‘The past has to be continually re-narrated, and the political point of reactionary narratives is to suppress the potentials which still await, ready to be re-awakened, in older to recall these multiple forms of collectivity is less an act of remembering than of unforgetting, a counter-exorcism of the spectre of a ‘world which could be free’.

The possibility for an upsetting of prevailing socio-political conditions or a re-routing of habitual paths is always there. Something out of the ordinary can happen, a break, a moment of rupture when rules are suspended and familiar terrain is experienced in a radically different way. There is something messianic in this idea that we might step into a new reality without warning, that something unforeseen could happen at any time .

By showing these films I am unlocking memories that might otherwise remain unretrieved. Seismic events such as the Poll Tax Riots create psychic fault lines,  catalysts for new social imaginaries.” – Laura Grace Ford

Battle of Trafalgar
Despite TV | 1990 | UK |  52′

Summer on the Estate (Episode 2)
Wild & Fresh Productions / Dir. Eric Harwood | 1991 | UK | 38′

Laura Grace Ford will introduce her programme, then after the screening be present for a Q&A with Owen Hatherley, the author of several books, and the culture editor of Tribune.