Banksy wouldn’t be Banksy if his street art was contextually empty and semantically straightforward. Most, if not all, of his murals promote a certain message and hence are ideologically charged. Sometimes, the image refers to politics, and sometimes, it is an appeal to society. To convey ideas, the street artist uses certain symbols in the shape of different things. You must have noticed the abundance of rats in street art by Banksy, but there is one more element to consider — robots. Banksy robot art is not a frequent occurrence, but it is important for the perception of his work.
Banksy robot art: futuristic art in disguise
On October 28, 2013, Banksy created his famous artwork entitled “Tagging Robot.” It was not the first wall painting where the stencil artist depicted a robot, but it became one of the most recognizable and famous ones in his career. The piece appeared in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Banksy painted a robot spraying a barcode with a spray can. At a glance, there is nothing special about the work, but a deeper analysis might well help us decode the message.
“Tagging Robot” has it all: Banksy signature style, slight controversy, and media coverage, but only a few people went further to find the meaning of Banksy robot art. At the end of the day, that futuristic piece of art should have some underlying idea, shouldn’t it?
Why do we need barcodes? Apparently, they are used as a method to store and track information about goods. It is a cost-effective and reliable way to manage data. And what does a robot with a spray can symbolize? Some would say that this is the embodiment of people of the future, and they would be right. To sum it up, we can deduce that Banksy probably wanted to say that street art is meaningful and can bring changes to the art industry. A robot, in this case, is a person, an artist.
And what do you think about Banksy robot art? Does it look meaningful to you?