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October 11, 2010

Banksy's Simpsons storyboard

11 October 2010

Street artist Banksy has taken his commentary to the television screen, with his own storyboard on American sitcom and satire The Simpsons.

As a child, The Simpsons was one of my favourite shows. We would make sure dinner was prepared by half-six in the evening so we could get our weekly dose of laughter.

I didn't realise until much later that the sitcom was a satire of American or Western life, much as South Park is. It is a place where the writers and artists can make comments about society and what is wrong with it.

Although I was not familiar with Banksy's work until recently (I tried to enter a competition revolving around using his artwork as inspiration for an image), his storyboard for The Simpsons strikes a note with me because it touches on the Asian sweat market, and thus everything that America represents.

The show itself is drawn by dozens of factory workers, who pass their animation sketches to a little boy, who in turn dips it into toxic sludge to develop it. AS we follow the sequence further underground and into the darker areas of "slavery", we see merchandise being created to fulfil the mass demand of the Western world. The "slaves" blatantly make use of animal parts as they go about their business, from using a dolphin's tongue to close up the boxes, to de-furring small creatures to use their fur as stuffing for Bart dolls.

Asia is known for its disrespect to the animal world, but this is drawn sharply into perspective, because it is demand, and, seemingly, Western demand, that is fuelling their misuse of the world.

Take a look at the clip. Please comment, I would love to know what you think!