CategoryStreet Art

Breaking the Banksy: First interview?


A new Banksy mural ‘One Nation Under CCTV’ painted next to a CCTV camera at a Post Office yard in the West End. (Image: A new Banksy mural ‘One Nation Under CCTV’ painted next to a CCTV camera at a Post Office yard in the West End. (Image:

Half the world, it seems, has been chasing the British graffiti artist Banksy: Police for his vandalism, art collectors for his works, sprayers for his style, media for the scoop. So far, his cover hasn’t been blown. Now Daily Mail has a first interview, or rather: description of a meeting with the artist.

To post this here may seem slightly off-topic, and I guess it is. I posted it anyways for two reasons:

First, I think it is indeed quite remarkable that it’s even possible to keep your identity as secret as Banksy does, while still producing art in very public spaces, like the one seen above, and the one below. (One of his recurring topics is surveillance of the public space, after all, and what you could call sousveillance, i.e. inverse surveillance.) In our age of transparency and data sharing, of public surveillance and CCTV, this seems like quite an achievement.

Second, it’s a hell of a good graffiti. Not only does it look awesome, the way it plays with different levels of reality, surveillance and meaning is just mindblowing.

Banksy: What are you looking at? (Photo by Flickr user nolifebeforecoffee) Banksy: What are you looking at? (Photo by nolifebeforecoffee)

Some more Banksy art? Check out what Flickr has to offer, sorted by interestingness.

Great 09 F9 … art


I just love how quickly and creatively the issue around “09 F9 …” has spawned a bunch of cool art. As you can imagine, I’m a huge fan of art, especially of mash-ups and politically inspired art. So to me, it’s just great to watch the creativity unfold here.

Let’s see:

There’s the flickr group.

We’ve got the hamster poem (Source of this version unknown, but the original hamster can be traced back to Seattle Roll): Hamster 09 Poem (via Xeni. Check out the comments there, too!)

Then there’s the even more awesome sloth. (Sorry, source unknown, too. If you know, share with me in the comment, please.) Sloth, crawling (via BoingBoing and seanbonner)

And there’s more popping up by the minute. Also, I noticed this odd number popping up in a few friends’ email signatures, and even saw a banner ad asking people to print it on apparel. Odd things are happening in the wide, wide internets.

Last, I saw this awesome little piece of poetry titled “Zero and her Origin

Zero, the number said to be discovered Nine times by ancient magicians, was Found again by a mysterious order of Nine modern alchemists, who built One machine after another, until finally One exploded with fascinating results.

Update: EFF lawyer Fred von Lohmann has posted a great post explaining the legal issues arising from even openly discussing those digits. I’m not even sure the DMCA would be applicable to this weblog as it’s written and hosted outside the U.S., but as I deeply, deeply mistrust the AACS-LA (the entity that licenses AACS to makers of HD-DVD players) and their lawyers, I’d rather not quote the whole series of digits. What a crappy law, protecting a technology which is itself a crappy idea. Talk about chilling effects!

Hedonist International: Reclaiming public urban spaces


Now this is awesome. This group, going by the name Hedonist International, organizes flash mob-style events, reclaiming urban spaces. Well, actually, it’s pretty well organized for a flash mob. Anyway, this video mashes up two events: A mobile rave squad in the underground shopping mall under Potsdamer Platz, and a spontaneous rave in Berlin’s famous trademark TV Tower. Rumor has it that for the TV Tower rave, they actually built a disposable modular sound system which they chained to a massive steel handrail on the viewing platform about 204 meters about ground level – and so managed to keep dancing up there for more than two hours before it got shut down. What a hack!

Rock on!

Hot hot hot


SKIPPY'S SKIPPY’S, originally uploaded by SkyShaper.

“Try this: put a couple of drops of Tabasco Sauce on your tongue. Hot, right? Tabasco Sauce rates between 2,500 and 5,000 on the Scoville scale, the standard measurement system for chile pepper heat. Now try a drop of Mad Dog Inferno, a ridiculously hot sauce that clocks in at 90,000 Scoville units. As I chewed ice cubes and blinked away tears after touching a miniscule droplet of Mad Dog Inferno to my tongue from the tip of a toothpick, I knew I’d never make it as a chilehead.”

Scoville scale, huh? Well, I learned something new! Anyway, while this is an excerpt of an article about “the subculture of people who are hooked on incredibly hot peppers” called The Cult of Capsaicin, even more importantly: you can buy this and other very cool stuff at BoingBoing‘s new Digital Emporium.There’s all kinds of awesome findings, all of them digital, all of them without “some irksome Digital Rights Management”, and all of them for a really low price. How could you not love it?