That Banksy in Melbourne video, and the perils of anonymity

​There’s a lot to be said for anonymity – just ask any online troll hiding behind a fake name. But it has its downside too, as Banksy might attest.

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Anyone can claim to be Banksy and there’s not much the real Banksy can do about it without unmasking himself. You could claim to be Banksy, I could say I’m Banksy (and so is my wife), and no one could prove it wasn’t true. Je suis Banksy indeed.

This week, video surfaced of the world’s most famous street artist spray painting a wall in Melbourne. The footage – which has been viewed almost half a million times since Tuesday – was shot and uploaded to YouTube by Mia S. It is her only YouTube upload.

A link to this video was emailed to a number of media outlets (though not this one) by one Mia Stern. Ms Stern is a former employee of Fairfax Media whose linkedin profile describes her as a “digital-savvy multimedia professional with over 7 years experience in Melbourne and London”. Presumably she can now add “has a fortuitous gift forstumbling into Banksyin the dead of night” to her CV.

Though the video is an obvious and fairly clumsy fake, AAP reported it straight, and a variety of other media outlets (including Channel Nine) both in Australia and abroad ran it the same way.

Of course, the story flourished because the only person who could definitively prove it was bollocks couldn’t say so.

Just last monthBanksy was “outed” as Robert del Naja, the founder and frontman of Massive Attack. Never mind that Craig Williams,the young journalist who joined the dots, doesn’t think del Naja is Banksy (or at least doesn’t think only del Naja is Banksy; he suspects Banksy is a collective of artists linked to Massive Attack). Much of the media ran with it as definitive proof, and they could report it that way because who could refute it? Certainly not Banksy.

This week’s faux Banksy video appeared to be tied to the exhibition of his work that opened on Thursday in Melbourne, though the PR firm working for the promoter of the show swears it wasn’t involved and doesn’t know who was.

That exhibitionincludes 80 works by Banksy. At least, we’re told they are works by Banksy. But how do you establish provenance when the signature is typographic and the works are by their nature easily replicable by anyone with a stencil and a spray can? This is art in the age of mechanical reproduction, with the mechanics reduced to the bare minimum and the notion of the artist as “author” of the work all but shredded.

Local street artist CDH promised to take this question to its logical extreme with a stall set up outside the exhibition to sellBanksyforgeries and a Banksy-on-concrete-slabwork for sale in portions. “Patrons willbe able tobuythe work by the gram,$1 per gram,” CDH promised. ” ‘How many grams ofBanksyart would you like to buy?’ We’ll then chisel pieces off the slab, weight it out andcharge people based on the weight.”

The works in the exhibition proper are brought to us bySteveLazarides, a London-based art dealerwhose greatest claim to fame is that he was onceBanksy’smanager. Or maybe his agent. They met in 2001 whenBanksywas beingphotographedfor the Bristol street magazineSleaze Nation, whereLazarideswas picture editor.

Lazaridesreportedly played a major handin taking Banksy’s work from Main Street to the mainstream, a leap that saw the six-metre-long stencil-on-board workLaugh Now– originally commissioned for a bar in Banksy’s hometown of Brighton – sell for £228,000 at an auction at Bonhams in February, 2008.

As it happened, that was the height of street-art mania. Still, Banksy’s work continues tocommandbig sums. A painting calledThink Tank, from the seriesthat begatthe cover of Blur’s 2003 album of the same name,sold in 2013 at Sotheby’s for £397,250, more than twice its estimate.

At any rate, the relationship between Lazarides and Banksy ended in 2009. As he notes onhis own website, Banksy “is NOT … represented by Steve Lazarides or any other commercial gallery”.

Then again, is it really Banksy saying that? Who really knows?

Karl Quinn is on facebook atkarlquinnjournalistand on [email protected]

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Photos of the weekOctober 3-8, 2016

Photos of the week | October 3-8, 2016 COOLAMON: Three generations of Hopkins, (centre) drover Harold Hopkins, his daughter (left) Patricia Hopkins and granddaughter (right) Kelsi Hopkins. Photo- Rachael Webb

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MOREE: Anglicare teenage pregnancy support worker Louise O’Neill and Centacare manager of personal helpers and mentoirs program Nikki Thorn.

EUABALONG: Damien Doyle, “Wistaton”, Euabalong, pictured beside his mailbox and front gate under water on the Lachlan Valley Way where water flowing from the local creek meets the Lachlan river towards Euabalong.

MARGARET RIVER: Locked in Drift Cafe’s Gaye, Colin and Brooke McQueen show their support for the campaign with Lock the Gate signs and Gasfield Free SW stickers. Photo Nicky Lefebvre.

CAPEL: South West MP Sally Talbot, Collie Preston MP Mick Murray and WA Labor leader Mark McGowan in Capel on Thursday morning to announce if Labor are elected in March they will ban fracking in the South West.

ARMIDALE: Super star Russell Crowe stops in for a photo with coffee shop co-owner Chrissy Rologas at the Courthouse Coffee shop in Armidale on Monday.

INVERELL: A look back at the The floral parade in Inverell, 1970, as the floral festival gears up 60 years on.

CONDOBOLIN: Local girls from Condobolin having fun in the water over the racecourse. Photo- Rachael Webb

GUNNEDAH: Miya Law, Julian Heath and Aidan Wise drum to the beat with fRETfEST music mentor Alan Buchan at the Town Hall.

GUNNEDAH: Bunnings Tamworth team members Lorraine Staniland and Christina Driver get stuck into arts and crafts with 60 kids at Gunnedah PCYC.

HILLSTON: Paul Cleton, Riverview Farming, Hillston, and his kids, Hugh, 7; Lucy, 9, and Douglas, 4, checking Bellaroi variety Durum Wheat. Photo- Rachael Webb.

HILLSTON: Cleton kids- Douglas, 4; Hugh, 7, and Lucy, 9, patting their dog Rex at their front gate underneath their family’s property sign, -Whealbah-, Riverview Farming, Hillston. Photo- Rachael Webb.

GLOUCESTER: James Ross likes to incorporate a few gigs in Gloucester when he’s back home visiting his family. Photo: Anne Keen

KEMPSEY: Milton Budge can get lost in his art for hours and even days. Photo: Lisa Tisdell.

FORSTER: It took 12 crews to contain the fire at Diamond Beach on Thursday. Photo: Glenda Saville.

WAGGA: Snake handler Tony Davis, with an eastern brown snake, said the reptile can become more visible and move around during flooding. Photo: Les Smith.

WAGGA: Kasye Pollock 5, Jessie Pollock 3, Max Taylor 4 and Elsie Taylor 2 enjoying fairy floss and popcorn at Little Big Day Out. Photo: Laura Hardwick.

COOTAMUNDRA: The roof was torn from a Cootamundra High School block during a wild storm on Tuesday. Photo: Nick Schuller.

WAGGA: Fostering love- Morris Benjamin, 12, and Frank Allen, 13, with the puppies and kittens being cared for by Marion Benjamin. Photo: Les Smith.

GRIFFITH: Keven Bradford is fed-up with cracked and botched tarring on the pedestrian crossing over railway tracks. Photo: Anthony Stipo.

TENTERFIELD: Parkes man Jeff McClurg loves to go for a leisurely ride – the wind in his hair and cruising as slow as he likes.

GLEN INNES: Andrew Hancock, Mike Norton, Ron Easy, Brock Harvey, Carly Overton, Allison Ostenfeld, Nicola Geddes are among a field of world class show jumpers at the Glen Innes Spring Showjump.

WAGGA: Caiden Honeysett and Jurrah Penrith at Little Big Day Out. Photo: Laura Hardwick.

MANDURAH: Michael Murphy’s piece Lime Box won the prize for Best Artowkr by WA Regional Artist at this year’s Perth Royal Show. Photo: Jess Cockerill.

JUNEE: Katrina Hodgkinson officially opens the Junee community recycling centre with members of Riverina Eastern Regional Organisation of Councils.

RIVERINA: Ron Wilson of -The Pines-, Ladysmith features in #ourfarmingfaces this week.

RIVERINA: Barnaby Joyce and member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, announce $25 million in funding for on-farm water infrastructure in the MIA on Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Stipo

COOTAMUNDRA: A train was nearly derailed after a Manildra Meat Company dam burst its banks. Photo: NSW Fire and Rescue.

PORT MACQUARIE: Khristina Joy, Kevin Carmody, Jenny Hyde and Keith Dalton from the Z Chords. Photo: Peter Daniels.

COOTAMUNDRA: A homeowner was lucky to avoid injury after Tuesday night’s storm tore a tree out of the ground, bringing it crashing down onto his home. Photo: Nick Schuller

CULCAIRN: Scott Jones, -Eurunga-, Culcairn, checking his paddock of IH51 variety canola sown during the last week of April. Photo: Rachael Webb

GRIFFITH: Inspector Jason Wall from the MIA district says the city should not let the wet weather fool them. Photo: Anthony Stipo.

GUNNEDAH: Alyssa Wise and Kadence Milne with the bird houses they made with the help of visiting Bunnings staff.

GUNNEDAH: Evan, Jake, Kianna Goy and Tahlia Goy patting the baby dinosaur outside the Gunnedah Town Hall after the Erth’s Dinosaur Show. Photo: Hayley Hausfeld.

GUNNEDAH: Jack McCulloch creates a unique beat at a drumming workshop in the Gunnedah Town Hall.

GUNNEDAH: Thomas and Mitchell Woolley are looking forward to putting their finished bird houses in the family garden.

MANDURAH: An alleged drunk driver was charged following a vehicle rollover in Ravenswood on Wednesday evening. Photo: Kate Hedley.

MOREE: Jataya Wilson embraced her Gamilaroi culture at the National Aboriginal Model Search in Sydney on October 1 and left with the junior crown.

QCL Cotton Plant gets underway. Photo: Kelly Butterworth.

QCL Cotton Plant gets underway. Photo: Kelly Butterworth.

YOUNG: (standing) Alex Dalglish and Angus Metcalfe, -Olde Milong-, Young, and their kids (centre) Will Metcalfe, 15; (right) Tilly Metcalfe, 13, and (left) Will’s mate Lachie Doust, 15.

TweetFacebookA look atphotostaken by Fairfax photographers across Australia.

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Rebel Wilson, Sir Ridley Scott to receive Australians in Film Awards in Los Angeles

Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect. Photo: Steven Siewert Rebel Wilson is an air steward in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. Photo: Fox Searchlight

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Comedian and actress Rebel Wilson and director James Wan have been named among the Australian trailblazers in Los Angeles who will be honoured for their professional achievements.

They join a stellar lineup which includes Sir Ridley Scott, film executive Greg Basser, Suicide Squad star Jai Courtney and Top of the Lake director Garth Davis.

The Australians in Film Awards are announced annually, acknowledging individual achievement in the film and television fields; the awards are given either to Australians, or individuals who have contributed to the Australian film and television industries.

Wilson, who starred in the films Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, will be the recipient of the inaugural Annette Kellermann Award, which honours trailblazing Australian women in Hollywood.

The award is named after the professional swimmer turned vaudeville and film star Annette Kellermann, who worked in the US film industry at the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1916, Kellerman was the first actress to appear nude in a film, Fox Film Corporation’s A Daughter of the Gods.

“Annette Kellermann was Australia’s first leading lady to make an international name for herself in Hollywood,” Australians in Film president Kate Marks said.

“Rebel Wilson is a unique star, a one-off trailblazer who has made her own influential mark in Hollywood and represents what this award is about.”

There are two recipients of the International Award, director James Wan, whose credits include the Saw franchise and the new MacGyver television series, and Sir Ridley Scott, who has just completed filming of Alien: Covenant in Sydney.

The International Award is given for contribution to international cinema.

This year there will also be two recipients of the Breakthrough Award, which acknowledges rising Australian talent in Hollywood; they are actor Jai Courtney and filmmaker Garth Davis.

Previous Breakthrough Award winners include Margot Robbie, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Debicki, Jacki Weaver, Joel Edgerton and Ryan Kwanten.

The night’s major award, the Orry-Kelly Award, will this year go to Village Roadshow Entertainment Group chief executive Greg Basser.

The Orry-Kelly Award is named for the pioneering Hollywood costume designer Orry Kelly, who was born in Kiama.

During his career Kelly won three Oscars for his work on An American in Paris, Cole Porter’s Les Girls and Some Like It Hot, and was nominated for a fourth, for Gypsy.

Marks praised Basser for his work in building Village Roadshow into a major force in global cinema,

“It is now one of the world’s leading independent film producers and financiers, [and] Greg’s passion for this business and the industry is inspiring,” she said.

The awards will be handed out at a gala hosted by musician, actor, comedian and director Tim Minchin in Los Angeles on October 19.

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‘Nothing can be more socially relevant to India right now’: Bollywood’s foray into feminism with Pink

A scene from Pink, Bollywood’s first truly feminist film. Photo: Supplied Pink’s director, Aniruddha Roy Chowdury, decided to do something after being disturbed about crimes against women in India. Photo: Supplied

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Legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan plays the lawyer who defends a woman against the charge of injuring a man who tried to sexually assault her. Photo: Supplied

Taapsee Pannu plays a working woman who hits back at a man who tries to sexually assault her. Photo: Supplied

New Delhi: In a pivotal courtroom scene, a young woman charged with injuring a man who tried to sexually assault her is asked a series of questions to establish her ‘character’.

Has she had sex before? Has she slept with more than one man? Does she drink? Is she friendly and relaxed while talking to men? Does she laugh with them? She answers yes to all of them.

In any Indian film, this would instantly put her into the category of “loose”, that is, a woman who can’t complain if a man forces himself on her.

But not in a new film called Pink. In perhaps India’ first truly feminist film, legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan​ plays the lawyer defending the woman. In his trademark baritone, he tells the court that when a woman says “no”, it means no, whether she is drunk, flirtatious or is a sex worker.

Sexual violence is not new to Bollywood films. But it is usually shown with the camera objectifying the victim, lingering over her body and trying to use the scene to arouse, rather than repel, the audience.

Pink’s uncompromising message has made it one of the most talked-about films of the year. India was convulsed by introspection after the 2012 gang rape in Delhi and has since regularly debated why some Indian men treat women so badly. The debate triggered by Pink is a continuation of that self-analysis.

Pink takes a stand. Indian women are free to dress and live as they wish. The three women who live together in a New Delhi apartment are like young women anywhere. The men they meet at a rock concert also seem to be modern but, as the girls soon discover, under this superficial veneer, they harbour a feudal attitude towards women.

Director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury​ said the daily news of crimes against women used to disturb him.

“It wasn’t just the crimes that made me want to do something. It was also moral policing. A single woman told me that people in her neighbourhood threw her out of her apartment as she used to party and because her boyfriend used to visit her,” Chowdhury says.

Many young women have loved the film. “I just wish my parents had seen this while I was growing up. They would have realised that all those restrictions they imposed on me – no short skirts, no sleeveless tops – were irrelevant. It’s the man’s problem, not mine,” says fashion design student Anoushka Seth.

What impact Pink might have on making young, small town men look at women and the issue of consent differently cannot be predicted. It will take more than one film to chip away at misogyny. Writing for the Indian version of the Huffington Post, Aanchal Arora​ described watching the film in a cinema in Allahabad, a small town, which was packed with young men.

She said they cheered the men in Pink when they talked of “teaching girls a lesson” and jeered at Bachchan in all the scenes where he defended women’s freedom of choice.

“I strongly believe that the men in the theatre do not have the mental acumen to engage with such movies. The male ego is way too strong for most men to give space to any other gender in their heads,’ Arora wrote.

Coming at the film from a different perspective, Seema Mustafa​, editor and found of the website The Citizen, said the film was let down by Bachchan playing the man who “saved” the women from the trouble they were in.

“Pink does not carry a message of empowering women. It justifies the status quo while trying not to, and makes the women appendages in a system where only the man can save them,”  Mustafa says.

Audiences have been flocking to see the film and it has won widespread critical acclaim.

“Nothing can be more socially relevant to India right now, and to me and my friends, than the message of this film,” Seth says.

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MPs’ perks: Court to rule on bigger pensions, more free travel for retired politicians

Former Labor minister Barry Cohen is one of four former MPs in a High Court bid for better taxpayer-funded retirement benefits. Photo: Supplied Former speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s pension is approximately $255,000 a year. Photo: Rick Stevens

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Retired federal politicians will get bigger pensions and more free travel paid by the taxpayer if the High Court rules in their favour this week.

The judgement will be handed down as the Turnbull government continues to drag its feet on reforms to the entitlement system for current MPs.

The court will give its ruling on Wednesday after it heard a challenge by four former MPs – Labor’s Barry Cunningham, Tony Lamb and Barry Cohen, and Liberal John Moore – seeking a big boost to their entitlements.

But if they’re successful, the ruling won’t just benefit the four of them. It could benefit up to 350 former MPs – including recently retired politicians like Bronwyn Bishop and Philip Ruddock – and 100 spouses.

That would add millions of dollars to the $40 million pension bill taxpayers already pick up each year.

Most MPs who entered Parliament before 2004 are entitled to generous pensions under a defined benefits scheme, which pays them around $120,000 a year – regardless of how much they contributed to their fund.

Those who occupied senior positions like the Speaker’s chair get even more: Mrs Bishop gets an estimated $255,000 a year.

Mrs Bishop lost her job as Speaker after amid public fury over her profligate use of entitlements, including her decision to charter a $5000 helicopter to attend a party fundraiser in Victoria.

The scandal ultimately led to an independent review of the entitlements system, which delivered its report in March. The government said at the time it accepted all 36 of the review’s recommendations but more than six months later it has not actually implemented a single one.

Special Minister of State Scott Ryan says the government continues to support the changes and he is working with the Department of Finance and Remuneration Tribunal to implement them.

“The government remains committed to creating a framework which is transparent, clear and has the confidence of the public,” he told Fairfax Media.

A positive ruling from the court could also give former MPs unlimited free business-class travel on the Life Gold Pass. Changes have limited them to 10 return flights a year but the plaintiffs want that overturned.

They are using section 51 of the constitution – made famous in the Aussie comedy classic The Castle – to challenge legislative changes that have slowed the growth of their retirement allowances.

They claim the changes were an unlawful acquisition of their property by the Commonwealth – the same argument the Kerrigan family used to fend off developers who wanted to take their home.

But in its submission to the court, the government argued the payments do not meet the definition of property and Parliament has the right to make changes.

Such decisions are made with “regard to a wide range of factors including the Commonwealth’s fiscal and economic circumstances and community concerns”, the government told the court.It also pointed out “each plaintiff has already received vastly more by way of retiring allowance than they contributed during their service in the Parliament”.

It singled out Mr Lamb, revealing he paid just $35,297 into his super account during his nine-year parliamentary career – but has so far been paid $1.3 million in benefits.

While the pension scheme is not available to anyone elected after 2004, more than 187,000 Australians have signed an online petition this year calling for it to be scrapped altogether.

Mr Cohen was a minister in the Hawke government and Mr Moore was a minister in the Fraser and Howard governments. Mr Cunningham and Mr Lamb were both Labor backbenchers.

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