The former Santo Stefano al Ponte church in piazza Santo Stefano is transformed with Banksy’s street art from November 26 to February 26 in an immersive experience. Created by the Crossmedia Group and curated by Gianni Mercurio and Madinart, the spaces are projected with the pseudonymous England-based artist’s instantly recognizable works, as images, sounds and music blend together to conjure Bristol’s underground culture.
With the street artist, political activist and film director’s identity still remaining a subject of speculation, this “unauthorized exhibition” is rife with the satirical and subversive themes that catapulted the controversial figure to worldwide attention. Narrating Banksy’s creative journey, the clever mix feels like stepping inside the artist’s artistic universe, even more so with the Oculus VR experience in which visitors undertake a five-minute long virtual adventure.
Interactively grab a spray can to experience the act of creating street art, virtually spraying a wall with whatever you feel like. From the unsettling to the captivating, we are instructed to understand deeply, focusing on the message rather than the form. The legacy of punk perpetuates Banksy’s output, having famously said, “Like most people I have a fantasy that all the little powerless losers will gang up together. That all the vermin will get some good equipment and then the underground will go overground and tear the city apart.”
Both Banksyphiles and the uninitiated will find the experience surprising and unforgettable, with the colours and images dancing around your mind’s eye long after emerging from the former church spaces.