Je est un braqueur de banque.
January 14, 2015 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Inspired by Rimbaud, video artist and former MIT professor Joe Gibbons robbed two banks as an "art project" (and for the money).
posted by twirlip (35 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Gibbons was interviewed by an art journal about his film work in 2006.
posted by twirlip at 11:11 AM on January 14, 2015


Will the sentencing be based on sound critical theory?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:16 AM on January 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ceci n'est pas un vol.

I felt the dye pack go off while I was running, but I wanted to keep it because I thought it would make a great souvenir

Bravo, professor.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:19 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah, white privilege, is there nothing you can't do...
posted by The Power Nap at 11:19 AM on January 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


"He expects to get probation."


Yeah, I highly doubt that.
He will, however, get treated to the underbelly of the criminal justice system, and be able to write some beautiful poems about it when he gets out. If he gets out.
posted by daq at 11:25 AM on January 14, 2015


Ah, white privilege, is there nothing you can't do...

Yes, my first response was that this could pass for one of those heartbreaking, furious Onion fake news stories about how a bougie white man can do this and expect probation and his black counterpart would have been shot on the way to the bank when he reached into his pocket for some gum
posted by blue suede stockings at 11:30 AM on January 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Several years ago, a cousin of mine did big-boy prison time for, yes, bank robbery. He and a bunch of his equally-idiotic buddies --- all of them around 18-20 years old, all drunk out of their teeny-tiny little minds --- decided to rob a bank, basically as a big old joke. They weren't "real" criminals, just a bunch of backwoods yokels, and the robbery was basically a bust (they were too drunk to make it clear to the tellers that it was a bank robbery, so none of them ever actually laid a hand on any money) but they all got jail time: stupid and drunk or not, they did attempt to commit a pretty serious crime.

"Art project" my ass. Like with my cousin, it doesn't matter why this dude says he did it; this professor a) has admitted to committing two thefts, and b) terrorized innocent people while doing so (think those tellers weren't scared? Think again!), and he should do real jail time. Or as the saying goes: don't do the crime if you can't do the time.
posted by easily confused at 11:31 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


>I just worried if I had enough problems within me that I could exploit.

Does being a jackass count? If you can do art about that, he's set for life.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:32 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Will the sentencing be based on sound critical theory?

Mostly Foucault I'd imagine. Unless it turns out the judge is actually a performance artist...
posted by sobarel at 11:32 AM on January 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


In other news...
posted by cubby at 11:32 AM on January 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


“He was doing research for a film,” said his dazzled cell-mate Kaylan Sherrard, 27.
“It’s not a crime; it’s artwork… He’s an intellectual,” Sherrard gushed.


this world can only be cleansed with fire
posted by poffin boffin at 11:32 AM on January 14, 2015 [14 favorites]


Clearly he was refuting Duchamp.

Job well done, I say.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:35 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Man, Gotham has really hit the bottom of the barrel when it comes to ideas for villains of the week.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:35 AM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Here's more background (not from the Post).
posted by blue suede stockings at 11:38 AM on January 14, 2015


The police detective told me that they had me on film outside the bank for quite a while … that’s probably why the [camera] battery started going dead during the actual robbery.

Sounds like somebody forgot about the panopticon.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:40 AM on January 14, 2015


So is this what's meant by an artist suffering for their art? Because I think he's going to end up suffering a bit.
posted by klarck at 11:41 AM on January 14, 2015


They could make a great film with this premise.

Rimbaud: First Blood
posted by iotic at 11:46 AM on January 14, 2015 [13 favorites]


He's a performance criminal, like Moko Jono.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:46 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I may not know art but I know that I like acting out in a felonious manner that will reward me with either incarceration or wads of unspendable ink-stained cash.
posted by item at 11:52 AM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


…and was not shot dead by police.
posted by LMGM at 11:54 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


This was anticipated by Tibor Fischer's The Thought Gang.

Which was an excellent read and a terrible guide for life.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 11:56 AM on January 14, 2015


He's like a method film-maker. Gotta live the film to make the film. "Gibbons has admitted to using illegal drugs to inspire his short, semi-autobiographical films." ... "—I made one or two films based on drug addiction."

MIT has a fair number of nutjob professors, or at least did when I was there. There was one tenured Computer Science professor who taught semester-long classes that, as near as I can tell, were 100% nonsense. In a speciality area I knew something about, I don't think this was just the case of me being an arrogant grad student in over his head. He'd come in and spend an hour lecturing about some new work he was doing and I'd try to take notes and at the end of the class none of it made any coherent sense.

I finally asked my advisor what was going on and she just nervously said "oh, don't take classes from him." Later I met some of his PhD students and they didn't seem to see any problem, but then their work was foundering too. It was all very much through-the-looking-glass. I sort of see how that could happen in the arts, but end of the day CS is a discipline with real-world, testable output.
posted by Nelson at 11:56 AM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am absolutely positive that the film rights are being negotiated on this right now.
posted by C.A.S. at 11:56 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


World War II was a masterfully ironic statement on the artificiality of the social barriers that separate us and the absurd prejudices and bigotry we invent to contextualize and reinforce them. Hitler was so horribly misunderstood.

once again, the art world let him down...
posted by Naberius at 12:01 PM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Batman villains are in real life now?
posted by sleeping bear at 12:30 PM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


and for the money

[Sigh] Isn't it always?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:36 PM on January 14, 2015


Ceci n'est pas un gub.
posted by BWA at 1:00 PM on January 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Bank robbery law has some the harshest punishments for the crime. Stealing a $100,000 painting from someone's home might get you probation. Stealing $1,000 from a bank gets you years or decades in jail. This is why cybercrime is up -- it's much less risky and even if you get caught (unlikely) you won't be punished like a bank robbery. And cybercrime rewards can be massive, millions.
posted by stbalbach at 1:15 PM on January 14, 2015




This is the most violent interpretation of Rimbaud since Sylvester Stallone
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:19 PM on January 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Banksy.
posted by Kabanos at 1:37 PM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, not guilty by reason of art seems like a novel legal defense theory. I don't think it's going to persuade any judges or juries though, and I'm pretty sure it's not a valid legal defense anyway, even if it were true that calling this art makes it art. So. I don't know. This just kind of seems awkward. What would the fact of this being or not being an art project really change anyway? Maybe it's Art™, maybe it isn't. But it's definitely still a crime either way, right?
posted by saulgoodman at 1:52 PM on January 14, 2015


"And as the jury can see from this surveillance footage, my client was clearly making air quotes as he read his demands to the teller..."
posted by Bromius at 2:42 PM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


“I left a message with my girlfriend’s sister and I told her, ‘Yeah, I’ve got into the city, I’ve got myself a room at The Bowery Hotel, I filed for Social Security, I robbed the bank and I went to the drugstore,’” the 61-year-old told The Post in an exclusive interview at the Manhattan Detention Complex on Sunday. “I told them, but they just didn’t pay any attention to the ‘robbed the bank’ part.”

Gibbons said that he had to work up the courage to do his New Year’s Eve holdup, which he filmed for what he called an art project.

“But to be honest, I stood outside the bank talking into the camera for quite a while … going over the different reasons to do it and not to do it,” he said. “The police detective told me that they had me on film outside the bank for quite a while … that’s probably why the [camera] battery started going dead during the actual robbery.”
I think I've seen this Coen Brothers movie.
posted by kagredon at 5:57 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Terrifying. I keep reading this and thinking "this is me in 15 years time". Oh god.
posted by silence at 11:11 AM on January 15, 2015


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