Camp and Furnace: LAD BROKE – Mark Greenwood

20 – 22 April

Viewing:  20 April 17-21:00

Mercy are very proud to present Mark Greenwood’s final performance of his PhD at Kingston University

Gambling is a way of buying hope on credit. We are all the bonded slaves of the management that issues credit cards. To realize the completeness of our bondage we have only to remember that each of us owes our existence to the chancy collaboration of two small fertile organisms; while an apparently chancy distribution of chromosomes, genes, and hormones influences our sex, colouring and disposition. We press on through life toward a death whose manner and date depend entirely on chance. During our womb-to-tomb progress we never stop gambling, for we cannot know the outcome of each of the many decisions we have to make every day; we can only “hope for the best”.
Wykes, Alan. 1964. Gambling.

LAD BROKE is a 48 hour durational, performance writing work that explores the nature of gambling and specifically the act of betting on horses. Futility, repetition and restriction figure in the creative and destructive cycles of the gambling experience as encountered in betting shops across the U.K on any given day. The textual and performative aspects that accompany the act of placing bets constitute what Greenwood refers to as a writerly practice. This practice produces a poetics that evolves and emerges from a number of contextual factors; the systematic evaluation of ground conditions, statistics that construct the horse as an object of commodity (including weight, form and genealogies), as well as visual quantifications relating the past performances of jockeys and trainers. These factors are reflected in a process which negates any authorial authority and decision making on behalf of the artist; where chance procedure literally governs the production of poetic text and action within a 48 hour time-frame.

LAD BROKE is an acknowledgement of the betting shop as a social gathering place that foregrounds the occurrence of habitual behaviour and daily rituals that are enacted by the people who visit and work there. Greenwood attempts to embody these rituals, becoming an automatic writing interface that inscribes the body through acts of cutting, pissing, consuming, remembering, processing and marking in order to evoke and elicit an utterance of psychic echoes. During his eight years as a cashier in betting shops across the country, Greenwood has collated experiences and stories submitted by gamblers suspended and sustained in loops of profit and loss; where talismanic objects and obsessions provide comfort and fortune. Greenwood’s re-representation of found narratives, rituals and objects describe moments of verbal and physical trauma, despair and loss that are balanced unequally by rare celebration, elation and joy. These depicted ‘rags to riches’ stories unfold reversals and expose systems where the gambler attempts to ‘master’ the odds of probability, sometimes at the expense of perceived financial and social responsibilities.

The work appeals to both artists and the general public; to those who acknowledge and recognise the gambling experience as a micro-politics of loss and desire, with all of its inter-textual and convergent systems of collation and expenditure, as well as a macro-politic that describes the measured and intuitive decision making processes that govern the behaviour and economy of capitalist society and its isolated subjects. The work aims not too question or condemn betting and gambling as a forbidden act, but to describe the social and political discourses that inhabit these processes; where fluctuations of data and riddled patterns of economic transfer depict a matrix of investment and expenditure; a materialist ecology based on perpetual motion and annihilation until the ‘lad’ is broken.

This unique durational work takes place across two days upstairs at Camp and Furance (nee A-Foundation, Greenland Street). It will start at 00.01 on Friday 20th April, and there will be open access to the performance until it finishes at 23.59 on Sunday 22nd.

Special viewings at 5-9pm on Friday 20th April and at 11pm – 12am on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd April.
Refreshments provided.

For more details email


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