Banksy- ‘Exit through the gift shop’…
We have just watched this film.
Telling the story of a ‘film maker’ Thierry Guetta, who seeks out street artist and international man of mystery- Banksy. He starts out obsessively videotaping the embryonic graffiti/street art movement, as it moves from the fringe into the studios and art galleries. Then decides he want a piece of the action, reinventing himself as Mr Brainwash, and staging a hugely successful art show in Los Angeles.
That is- he might have done.
Because as you watch the film, you find yourself asking again and again ‘Is this for real?’
Or is this film a statement of how a counter cultural art movement became adopted by the mainstream, commercialised and then loses its authenticity? A ‘prankumentary’?
How it sold out, just like Punk and Pop Art had done before it?
And given all the parallels between installation art and emerging/alternative worship (check out Jonny Baker’s book ‘Curating Worship‘) I found myself thinking about how movements erupt, flow, channel and then cool to carvable, portable stone.
And how the early proponents of the movement- pioneers and radicals as they are- become disenchanted and there is talk of ‘pirates’ and the end of it all.
But as Banksy says about Mr Brain Wash- ‘I felt that he was not playing by the rules, but then, there were no rules.’
So- exit through the gift shop.
Or perhaps change the game.
Because it is truth that will set you free, and the media is NOT the message.
Or is it?