Bank Robbery?


Bank Robbery? recreates the act of robbery by wearing motorcycle helmets and spraying “Bank Robbery?” on banks in Beirut. The stencil is part of Paper Stages and is available for you to reproduce your own cinematic scene in your cities. You will need to cut out the block letters, hold it up to a wall, and spray paint over the cut out parts. If you do, email us photos to

Who robs whom in this country? Who controls whom? Who serves whom? Who works for whom? Who monitors whom? One day, the news in Lebanon read, “Two armed men wearing motorcycle helmets walked into the bank at around 1pm on Tuesday. A few minutes later, the robbers made off with over 76,000 $.” A few weeks earlier, another armed bank robbery took place in Beirut, but  did not make it into the headlines. If events in Lebanon were art forms, bank robberies would have been cinema, Tarantino style, and what is now important news would be tribal dance since it involves armed men moving around burned tyres in the middle of the streets. I personally would vote for cinema. Bank robberies are presented as easy, exciting, successful and fair. In fact, I was one of the people who commented on this week’s robbery with “good on them.” Others have said the blatantly racist “they’re probably immigrants” or more Lebanese-specific comments “no one died so it’s nothing.” Some went for the depressingly true comment “this is the only solution left for us.” Bank robbery, anyone?

400 words of injunction to detourne the unblinking facades of banks, with their app-like colour schemes, their appearance of global facility; their talk of community while implicating us in hegemonic financial systems, sucking money from the localities they squat in.”
Exeunt Magazine


Commissioned by Forest Fringe as part of Paper Stages 2012.