The Banksy Gift Shop Menace


One Nation Under CCTV

One Nation Under CCTV photo by AlicePalice

There’s no corner or street in Manila that doesn’t have a vandal on it. Vandals or vandalism has always been a medium of communication through out time. It reflects the angst and rebellion and the want for change to happen of the people who created it. Through time it has changed and has evolved into a form of art. A fluid, explosively colorful and eye catching art, that we call street art.

We all know that we are in a different era now. For art geeks, we all know that for each era a critical movement has taken up arms and stormed any winter palace that stood against them and eventually won themselves a slot in history. That’s what Street art is magnifying through their works on brick walls, concrete and the gutter reminding us that consumerism, capitalism and censorship are enemies of the free world.

Exit through the Gift Shop is a documentary created by Banksy, a notorious and anonymous street artist, about Thierry Guetta. Guetta, a Frenchman with a knack for taking videos of anything and everything that moves around him got introduced to the scene of guerrilla artists through his cousin, Invader. After his introduction to the rebellious art of the streets, Thierry began meeting and filming different people who are participating in the scene and becoming one himself in the end.

The first part of the documentary was focused on the art, activities and the people behind street art. Artists like Swoon, Shepard Fairey, Invader and Ron English had short appearances on the film, showing their signature art while they’re doing it on the streets. Much later in the film, the focus of the documentary switches and focuses more on Thierry Guetta’s assignment given to him by Banksy, and that is to be part of the scene that he was filming in the past several years. From that point on, the film’s focus changes from the art movement, to Thierry’s or MBW’s rise to fame. Inspired by Banksy’s art exhibit Barely Legal, Thierry almost invested everything he owned to put up an exhibit that would catch the eye of the public. With the help of viral promotion and hype coming both from Fairey and Banksy, and a front page feature on LA Weekly, Life is beautiful became his first exhibit and his explosive entrance into the art scene.

The documentary is a colorful and rebellious story of street art. It showcases the free spirit of the artists as they use what ever they had in mind and presenting it to the world, through the streets into a very unique perspective. The film may be divided into two parts, the first part being the anonymity of the people behind the art to their adventurous take on the misgivings and misunderstandings of the people. The second part, assumed as fictional, is the rise of Thierry Guetta into a celebrated street artist.

The documentary was doubted by a lot of people, with most of them throwing questions like ‘is Thierry Guetta real?’—who cares? These questions arise because of the notoriety of the man that made the documentary, Banksy. Banksy is known as an activist through his artwork. He mixes dark humor with common sense and paints them into eye catching spectacles into the streets. The story was meant to show the hype and effect of media to people. It just happened that the people involved in the story were real and fallible people.  So who cares?

here’s a trailer


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