It’s hard to think of a place in London that’s untouched by gentrification. But the estate-lined streets around The Showroom just off the Edgware Road have so far managed to escape the city’s zombie plague of newbuilds and yuppies. Not for long, though. The area hangs on a precipice of luxury and money, the developers are circling, it’s on the verge of massive regeneration.
Laura Oldfield Ford has walked these streets, worked with local community groups, and turned her experiences into this installation. Glamorous images cover the walls, the kind of stuff you saw pasted on the hoardings of expensive new buildings: luxury furniture, gorgeous apartments, beautiful young couples drinking cocktails. But they’re torn up, ripped, covered with scrawled writings, pasted over with photos of the grim undercrofts of the Westway.
A soundwork fills the air, reverberating against metal sheeting that you find on derelict buildings. A voice tells personal stories of the area as throbbing noises shake the walls.
This might all sound ultra-worthy, but it feels properly overbearing: the lights, the sound, the imagery. It’s a pre-utopia dystopia, it’s modern horror – and it’s coming to your neighbourhood. There’s no escape.