For those who did not visit NYC October 2013, ' Better In than Out' might not ring a bell straight forward. This participatory project explored street art and graffiti's main weakness - its vulnerability to council workers, building owners, scavenger hunters and brought art back to the people. And you might think 'Yeah, it is not that special' but actually this residency was quite unique. Not only Banksy created an opportunity for a whole city to get engaged and become more aware of its cityscape, but he also managed to prove a point - that art is accessible and can shape off the urban landscape in a most unexpected and extraordinary way.
So what is then Banksy's legacy after that year?
A new documentary film, directed by Chris Moukarbel, tries to shed some light on the aftermath. In an interviewfor the Huffington Post, the director states that 'it just became more than street art... It was this idea to use the street — he's a street artist — but also imagining the Internet as a new street because it is another public space. So as a street artist, what does it mean to engage that other type of public space? So much of the work was playing out online simultaneously'.
It will be interesting to see this chronicle, revealing New York's response to Banksy, the thrill, the hunt, the excitement of finding something new and unexpected on a wall and the legacy. In Banksy's own words 'street art has short life span', which is where its beauty lies. However, the fact that groups of self- assembled enthusiasts, such as the Wet Wipe Gangoccurred ( as mentioned in Kyle Buchanan's feature), that sole mission is to protect and restore the works not for any fiscal benefits, but for the sake of art, speaks volumes...
A couple of them were friends, explains Moukarbel, but a number of them came together over the course of the month, which is sort of an interesting side effect to Banksy's project and how it brought people together from all different parts of the city.They're all still connected, and I think there's something sort of sweet and unexpected about that. (Buchanan, Vulture, 2014)
Banksy Does New York debuts on the 17th November at HBO. We will be watching it.
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