Objects and Banksy: Sirens of the Lambs

When I began this project, I thought that there were four basic types of puppet (hand, rod, string and shadow). Now I know more, and I start in a different place, with bigger categories: objects, masks and puppets. In some ways, objects are the most interesting of the three.

Take a look at this piece of street art by Banksy in New York. He’s doing brilliantly what really good object theatre does. He has taken a series of familiar objects—the cuddly animal toys familiar to us as children, vulnerable, soft, comforting and benign. And he’s placed them in a radically new context, with shocking results. Suddenly, looking at this truck that is used to transport animals to the abattoir, we are forced to consider the dark side of our own appetites and habits: what we eat, how we socialize, how we treat in reality the actual creatures that we cuddled as children.

The objects remain objects, although the line between them and puppets is blurry. I’ll philosophize about that at some future time. They aren’t metaphors. They aren’t alive. They don’t possess magical powers. They remain themselves—and that’s the power of this disturbing piece.

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