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?