Banksy Monkey Business
“They say that if you gave a thousand monkeys a thousand typewriters at some point you’d have yourself a novel. I was wondering if you gave a thousand monkeys a thousand sticks of dynamite how long would it take for them to make the city a more beautiful looking place.”
Collection of Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Orléans
2. SIMPLE INTELLIGENCE TESTING
While the monkey in the first pictures is primarily a symbol for the primitive in general, in the fifth picture, paradoxically, the positive connotations appear cunning and cheeky. Here the monkey manages to break out of its prison by stacking the safes on top of each other and slipping through the ceiling. The fifth picture serves as an alternative end to the test series. Unlike conventional animal experiments, Banksy gives the monkey the chance to escape the laboratory by using intelligence and available resources.
At Banksy, the monkey functions as a symbol for humans. He criticizes the kind of person who acts according to norms and rules without evaluating them and making their own decisions. Individual behaviors are subjected to social and political constraints. The series of images Simple Intelligence Testing in Dumb Animals is therefore to be understood as a system criticism. Banksy gives the solution in the last picture – this can be undermined by intelligent use of the tools provided by the system. Banksy’s books “ Banging your head against a brick wall ” and “ Wall and Peace ” with the quote next to the series of images “A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to” consolidate this interpretation.
3. LAUGH NOW
“Laugh Now, but one day we’ll be in charge”
4. KEEP IT REAL
5. MONKEY DETONATOR
6. MONKEY QUEEN
Deride and Conquer
7. DEVOLVED PARLIAMENT