Banksy, Da Vinci, and the Art of Protest | Interactive Documentary | Place and Time
Watch, Learn, and Explore in an interactive 360° documentary about Banksy and the history of protest in art.
Power is coded into the lives we live and the world we inhabit. Graffiti and street artists deconstruct the authority we so often take for granted. It imposes itself on the world and, with it, new ideas which challenge the status quo. In this 360° virtual reality documentary, we examine how Banksy and other artists have used their works over the past 1,500 years to challenge and undermine dominant power structures, forcing people to ask new questions about old problems.
“Place and Time” is written and directed by Darren R. Reid and Brett Sanders, a pair of UK-based historian-filmmakers.
This is an interactive, 360 degree documentary:
Load in a compatible browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Chrome) and use your mouse to explore each scene. Load using a smartphone or tablet and move your device around you to explore each scene (requires official YouTube app). Or load your smartphone into a Google Cardboard or similar VR headset, press the headset icon, and enjoy the film in full VR mode.
Read the Script for “Place and Time: Banksy and the Art of Protest”
INTERIOR SPACE WITH CINEMA SCREEN ON WHICH IS PROJECTED AN IMAGE.
Let’s start with an idea and see how it changes over the centuries – the depiction of authority and power.
SCREEN SHOWS ICON OF THE ENTHRONED VIRGIN AND CHILD (SIXTH CENTURY)
This painting from the medieval era is deeply concerned with the power and subordination; the Holy versus the ordinary. In this picture the Virgin Mary, holding the Christ-child, is flanked by Saints and Angels. The viewer of the image can only passively observe their halloed glory. They pay homage to the image and what it represents – the hierarchy of power that separated the ordinary person from God in the medieval mind.
SCREEN SHOWS MONA LISA
Now here’s a different sort of power in art. Finished by about 1517, the Mona Lisa was a celebration of neither the Holy nor the Heavenly. It was a celebration of the ordinary – all human-kind. By placing the ordinary at its centre, this image subtly challenged the centrality, the power, of God. For humanists like Da Vinci, God’s glory was to be found, and celebrated, in the ordinary.
CUT TO INSIDE BANKSY’S SHOW
Now consider this image, Banksy’s Silent night. If the Mona Lisa was a challenge to the authority of religion, Banksy’s Mary and baby Jesus challenges the power of technology, and the brands that that commercialise it with irreverence.
CUT TO FOOTAGE INSIDE ARTIST COMMUNITY
1500 years of power politics in three images – each reflecting our continued obsession with power and authority in the societies that we build.
CUT BETWEEN RELEVANT FOOTAGE
Graffiti and street art, by its very nature, challenges authority. It takes over spaces and forces participation. It isn’t hidden away in private collections or hung on gallery walls – it imposes itself on the world.
Or perhaps it might be more accurate to say that it imposes the self onto the world – the artist’s ideas and their ideologies, their disregard for conformity, even their political and social views.
Where graffiti and street art appears, power –those who claim authority to control the spaces in which we live– is being mocked; how quickly the art is removed, or whether it is ignored, speaks to the balance of power in any given space. Where it goes quickly, where graffiti is not allowed to survive, traditional authority is strong.
BACK TO BANKSY EXHIBITION
But where it can survive or even flourish, traditional power structures and their enforcers may well be weak.
360 SPACE WITH SEVERAL SCREENS SHOWING DIFFERENT PIECES OF RELEVANT 2D FOOTAGE
Even the most subversive art can, in time, become a part of the very power structure, the mainstream society, which it seeks to challenge. For all of its satirical, sarcastic, even anarchic wit, Banksy is, as of the early 21st century, as main stream as Apple headphones. This is not necessarily a reflection on the artist or the credibility of his work, but is a reflection of the society in which we live and the ways in which even the subversive and can made an accepted part of our larger culture.
FADE TO BLACK
You Might Also be interested in:
Da Vinci’s Spraycan – A Short, 360 degree video about Graffiti
The Artist in American History – A Podcast about the Role Played by Artists in Shaping the American Experience