Mastermind of fictional bank heist looks to boost struggling Lisbon

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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An ambitious art director from the UK is raising money to showcase an exhibit this fall based on her two years of research into how to rob a bank.

UK art designer Ilona Gaynor will depict, from the point of view of a police investigation, the fictitious robbery of five Los Angeles banks through the use of sculptures, architectural models, technical drawings, films and photography.

Gaynor produced her art project — Under Black Carpets — in collaboration with the FBI New York Department of Justice and the LAPD Archival department.

Her exhibit is set for display in a defunct bank vault in the lower floors of the MUDE Design and Fashion Museum in Lisbon, Portugal between September 12 – December 15, 2013.

The project was initially funded by the 2011 Ridley Scott Award, which allowed Gaynor to conduct extensive academic research on the subject of “heist crime.”

She also spent time learning from law enforcement experts, as well as field experts like security camera experts and escape artists.

Gaynor is co-founder of the research and design studio The Department of No, and a visiting professor at The Bartlett School of Architecture, the Architectural Association and Princeton University.

The event is hosted by the Lisbon Architecture Triennale, an architecture research non-profit organization.

In a recent appeal to the generosity of philanthropically-inclined netizens, Gaynor launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project’s exhibition in Lisbon.

Kickstarter takes advantage of the social media-driven fundraising technique of crowdfunding and allows potential investors on the Internet to donate various amounts of money towards a project’s specific fundraising goal.

If the project does not meet its established goal by the end of the fundraising campaign, supporters get to keep their money.

Gaynor’s crowdfunding campaign, she wrote on the project’s Kickstarter page, was inspired as a way to overcome budget cuts forced upon the Lisbon Architecture Triennale’s event by the economic struggles of Lisbon.

Those budget cuts negatively impacted numerous exhibits, including Under Black Carpets, she said.

“The goal of the Triennale is to revitalise the city and allow Lisbon (despite the hard economic times we are all facing) to continue to see through a long standing tradition of hosting this huge cultural event,” said Gaynor.

“I have a great team of people offering to work with me on this exhibition.” she said, “but no budget!

Launched on May 31, Gaynor’s 30-day campaign ends on June 20.

As of June 5, she has raised £6,013 ($9,254.61)  of her £20 000 ($30,782) fundraising goal.

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Josh Peterson