One bit of advice I hear, if you want to improve your blog’s Google rankings, is to make as many pop-culture references as possible twilight starbucks avatar iphone. And that dropping names (like Lady Gaga, Barack Obama, LeBron James and Angelina Jolie) will steer more hits your way. The nice thing is, you don’t have to say anything good about them.
Back on May 2, 2010, I wrapped up a seven-message series called The Outsider’s Gospel with a sermon about Banksy, the graffiti artist. At the time he had a film coming out entitled “Exit Through the Gift Shop“. And last night, I finally got to see it at the Moxie Cinema, here in Springfield. It’s the most unusual and original documentary I’ve ever seen, and so surreal that I think it was correctly described by one reviewer as being more “Alice in Wonderland” than Alice in Wonderland.
One strange feature of the film is that it is not really about Banksy. It is about this French guy who ends up taking the moniker “Mr. Brainwash”. He does so after following and filming the underground world of Street Art, and deciding to drop filming to become a Street Artist himself. The nickname results from his conclusion that all Street Art is really, ultimately, a rebellion against the brainwashing of society. And I think he’s right.
One glaring omission from this movement’s body of work, is the representation of gratuitous sexuality. It’s edgy, it’s slanderous, it’s illegal. But rarely is it ever R-rated, and nothing could be more appropriate for a movement against the onslaught of the media machine. Sex is the greatest tool of this machine, to get us to conform, to “OBEY” (the signature word of one of the film’s featured Street Artists.) All the beauty and mystery and sacredness of sex is stripped down and chucked out, to convince the unblinking consumer-public to join the parade, to abandon meaning and seek out vacuous sexual acceptance like a herd of biological automatons.
So yes… brainwash.
Our friend Mr. Brainwash spends the first part of the film following and documenting the best minds of the Street Art movement, as they oppose the sexual onslaught, and slander the pop culture references our society holds so dear. In the last part, he decides to come out from behind the camera and get involved.
The result, to paraphrase Bansky’s reaction, is “not in a good way.” But I’m not going to spoil it for you. The reason I’m not going to spoil it for you? You must see this film.
Just Do It… OBEY.