bansky and anticonsumerism


Bansky is perhaps the most famous, or infamous, artist alive. To some a genius, to others a vandal. Always controversial, he inspires admiration and provokes outrage in equal measure. Since Banksy made his name with his trademark stencil-style ‘guerrilla’ art in public spaces – on walls in London, his works have sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds. Look at the following video in which Bansky is seen, his back to the camera, spray painting a message on a blank billboard in London.  The message says "The Joy of Not Being Sold Anything", how would you paraphrase that in your own words?  What do you think of this Graffiti?  Is it art?

Bansky’s work is about quesitoning authority, the status quo, consumerism and the way we treat our planet. 

The Joy of Not Being Sold Anything!

Look at the following graffiti "Junk-food Caveman"
.   What do you think of it? 


Bansky states:
“You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.” 
What is your reaction to this observation of his?
Banksy, who puts much effort into remaining anonymous, is the ultimate anti-consumer and king of satirical artistry. It is his way of getting his message to the masses, even if his grafitti is painted over, that strikes most people. Banksy’s work screams the truth, and it may be able to be covered, but it definitely has an impact on those who see it.
If you are interested in browsing his website, I am attaching it for you:

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21 Responses to bansky and anticonsumerism

  1. anonimo says:

    The sentence “The joy of not being sold anything” is linked to the blank billboard where it is written. To me Bansky wrote it in order to focus the attention of the viewers on advertising: it is a way to make people realise that we are bombarded by ads and commercials because they are stuck on everything!! To me this is not a form of art…it is only a way to share ideas that would never appear on “ordinary” means of information, as TV or magazines; it is a form of protest, Bansky wants to show his disappointment for society and so what he writes often is not meant to be art.
    I do not like his graffiti "Junk-food Caveman" because it does not seem real, but it is very original because makes people think: the caveman seems to tell us: “You, ignorant and stupid people, do not eat this food any longer!!”….to me Bansky wants to raise our consciousness because he knows that his graffiti have a strong impact on people, but he tends to hide his messages under figures that seem simple and funny.
    I think that he is right…we are controlled and manipulated by ads and we are becoming sorts of robot-consumers because we do not realise that companies play with us and with our minds in order to convince us that what they sell is better than every other kind of good!

  2. anonimo says:

    He is a genius,I love he!!!!!!I really appreciated the ideas of Bansky,he is an innovator or simply he sell himself very well.In this case I consider graffiti a form of art because it expresses an emotion.The message “the joy of not being sold anything” shouts to the world “FOR THE FIRST TIME YOU ARE FREE!!”and nobaody should manipulated if you want.
    With this slogan people are free to think   because they are not bombarded with images or slogan!!
    The second images remember me “odissea nello spazio” and the monkey that hits the black pillar.
    Now the situation is completely different becuase he submits to the industry and changes his identity.
    Bansky as we can see in the third image wants to underline how ads can manipolate our thoughts but that through ideas you can even destroy manipulation!!!

  3. anonimo says:

    “The joy of not being sold anything”. This sentence and the “empty” blue background of this paradoxical ad give me a great sense of freedom. I love it. And I like a lot (almost) all the works by this genius called Banksy. We are not being sold anything. We are receiving an idea. An idea to share with others: no ads (is it a miracle?). Thanks to Banksy. This Graffiti he has created is really “essential” and graphically speaking is paltry, because it focuses on the concept, which is the heart of the matter! Anyway (to me) this Graffiti is not art.
    The other graffiti “Junk-food Caveman” does not draw my attention. Maybe it would highlight how a caveman cannot be related to fast food. His diet should be totally different from the one we often follow nowadays. We recognise a typical fast food menu even though it is not colourful as we expected to see. It is black: is it a good omen? Think about it.
    Banksy is right: companies act in the interests of money and themselves only. The consumer is at the mercy of consumerism and he/she should defend himself/herself from the boldness of the marketing. It is still an undeclared war.


  4. anonimo says:

    I consider this Graffiti a form of art because art is the way everyone can express themselves. With this message Bansky wants to show us his ideas on consumerism. THE JOY OF NOT BEING SOLD ANYTHING! I think this sentence says that we have not the right of being constantly  bombarded by advertising. People have to choose what buying without being conditioned!
    The second Bansky’s Graffiti “Junk-food Caveman” strikes immediately my attention. The artist wants to represent the typical man of our society: inside this man is like 3000 years ago, mentally and physically; outside he is “ad-affected”. This man stands for the society where we live, conditioned and based on consumerism. A society that outside seems to be in progress, but inside it is in a non-stop decay.
    I love Bansky!! He is the one who is fearless and faced authorities. He is a great artist!


  5. anonimo says:

    I agree. Bansky screams the truth. And he does it so well and in such a funny, sharp way that I can not do anything but appreciate him and his “job”! The sentence “The joy of not being sold anything” is amazing and satirical, because it underlines the constant bombardment we are subject to through advertising everywhere. So that when you see a white, empty poster on a wall you think it is an exception…there it comes Bansky and writes that smart sentence, which makes you laugh but mainly reflect! To me it is genial! In my opinion, graffiti must be divided into two groups: those that are act of vandalism, others that are expression of art and creativity. They can be considered the faster way to communicate with people and to spread the own ideas (but remember they are illegal..!). His graffiti “Junk-food caveman” is an evident provocation and remind us the importance of good eating, rather than supporting fast-food chain that are unhealthy and whose politics is that of profit.
    I reckon he is right when he says that companies owe us something, not the contrary. He is firmly against consumerism and he wants us to be aware of our rights being the consumers not the sellers! The companies court us because without us they are nothing!


  6. anonimo says:

    “THE JOY OF NOT BEING SOLD ANYTHING ”… it seems a bit  strange observing this  apparently empty wall!!! We worked a lot on advertisement , we studied images, colors, music.. and now we are in front of a simple blue wall which tell us more and more we  can  imagine.
    Bansky  is  screaming to the world his own thought.. he wants to share his opinion with other people. He reached  at last his  freedom. And this is the same freedom we can reach too , understanding and thinking like him.  What is he  advertising is his way to see information, his mind.  A mind which is free to say everything, which is able to go over and to overcome obstacles and  limits. Blue is the color  of the sky, the only one space where we can real feel free!
    Graffiti is still considered a crime, but this fact, fortunately does not stop young people leaving their MARK on public and privates buildings. To stop this social disease , many town have organised  “GRAFFITI  WALLS ”, these are special place where graffiti artists can practise their art legally.
    Statistics show that cities with graffiti walls have less vandalism. This is a good point for this  “TEEN ART”. I completely consider Graffiti a form of art, and I like it very much. Its advantages are greater. They put together, dancing, poetry, and fashion.  They are a mixture of real art!
    I don’t like the JUNK FOOD CAVEMAN. Of course it is real strong because  I think he compares we, people, with society and companies.  We are just like a caveman, who doesn’t know anything,  he is curious and he rush buying everything  without knowing what is really doing.
    “nobody asked our permission”, says Bansky. They are manipulating us, and we don ’t notice change.
    “BANKY’S WORK SCREAMS  THE  TRUTH”. We have to be the TRUTH!
    I really love Schildwester’s   quotation.  What she says is true and everybody knows it.
    “All that we are is the result of what we have thought .The mind is everything. What we think, we become. ”…
    “Tell me who you go with and I will tell you who you are”( I don’t know if I am wrong, maybe it is a bit Italian)
    “Cogito, ergo sum”….Cartesio
    Have  these famous quotation  the same meaning?! Let ’s thinking about it!

    Jessica L.

  7. anonimo says:

    “THE JOY OF NOT BEING SOLD ANYTHING” is an impressive message. I think Bansky is referring to the fact that if anything is sold we are free, maybe we can have our ideas, because advertising manipulated us. When we see a white billboard I think we noticed it immediately, because is something strange, in this case it is directly linked to the sentence. He is trying to explain to the other people how dangerous the world of advertising is. I don’t think this is art; it is a courageous act to share ideas against the today’s society.
    I think Bansky is fearless because he wants to change the world.
    His graffiti “Junk-food Caveman” is original and funny because he wants to tell us that fast-food is something that exists since we were monkeys and it has evolved with us. Obviously this is not the truth, but it is something that stirs people up, he means that fast-food is part of us, I think.
    I agree with Bansky’s consideration. Advertising manipulated us and we don’t know it, the most important aspect is that “they never asked for your permission”! We will be all the same, consumers that are not reasoning; we will buy, buy and buy!!


  8. anonimo says:

    As we we can see from the image it is a simple sign made with spray paint on an empty wall. At the first glance somebody would think :" what does it mean?" or " is he nuts?". A common people would be in a maze because it is something unusual,weird and different from normality because nothing is advertised.
    For the first time there are no images, no colors and no prices, but a simple written really meaningful. 
    Bansky is saying that all of us are living in a fictitious and hypocrite world, where everything is asleep and worthless because of our frenetic lifestyle and our unconsciousness submission to advertising. Through this graffiti he expresses a new feeling,that is the "joy" of simplicity and naturalness sprung out by the absence of advertising and the capability of an unconditioned thought. In my opinion this is the real freedom!
    Very funny but at the same time meaningful is the " junk-food Caveman".
    the caveman represents the modern human being : we live in a technologic society where every is presumed but at the same time we behave as monkeys that imitate one another without reasoning.
    We are paradoxical as the caveman with the  junk food =)
    I like his consideration because it is honest and explicit, for this reason I really appreciate his works.
    I don't think he considers himself as an artist but simply as somebody who does not like submission with the difference that he wants spreads his messages to people.


  9. anonimo says:

    Bansky is one of the most popular street artist all over the world,but unfortunately we don’t know his real identity: he is the Van Gogh of our times, because,according to me,they have the same humility and the same revolutionary innovation in the art’s world. His graffiti are iconic but even provocative,as the massage “The joy of not being sold anything”: you are happy if you are not a corrupt man! You don’t have to make compromises in order to be successful or rich, this is what joy is all about! I believe than the result of our expressions is ART; you can’t give a precise definition of what real art is. I prefer graffiti to billboards, they are a way to shout your opinions and it is even a way to socialize and get in touch with other culture and lifestyles. We have to focus on the potentiality of the language and the intertextuality hidden behind the wall; it underlines the wish of young people to bring art on the street. “The junk-food caveman” makes me laugh: it is very very ironic but in a subtle way. In our society even if we have computers,mobile phones and we are constantly bombarded with new technologies,we are cavemen! Our minds are in the background,because first of all there is the cult of beauty and money. We don’t even pay attention to our health any longer, we eat junk-food, do not exercises and we are turning ourselves into couch potatoes! “They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you”= they took your dignity, throw it away and put themselves on the highest step of the podium. It can be true,but in my opinion not completely. I always think that if anybody has the power and the strength to submit, to cow and to control you is because you let it do it; we can change our world, I am very convinced about it, it is not too late. “Men are strong so long as they represent a strong idea they become powerless when they oppose it” this is a quotation by Sigmund Freud that I looked for in the net,and with this message of hope I want to end my blog.

  10. anonimo says:

    First of all, as I read in the Internet, Bansky is a sort of myth, because everybody in the street look for him; they hardly know how he looks like, and so on… He is an American activist, who experiments every kind of form of communication, not only graffiti, and produces some controversial pieces of art, especially in the streets, in order to show his disagreement. To me, Bansky statement means: stop thinking it is the only way we can see the world.

    I think graffiti can be considered art whenever it appeals to the idea of beauty and whenever it conveys a message. It is more than art when it takes the place for something that in the society is not granted, for example, remembrance of people who died, whose death has not been denounced to the world; denunciation of crimes that the government, whatever it be, has buried.

    Bansky often depicts cavemen, with bow and arrows, with clubs, that get in touch with objects of modern society and consumerism, for example shopping carts. Ironically speaking, they seem to embody the idea of purity, and the objects are the contamination of this purity. Besides, we have got used to junk-food and we cannot do things our way anymore, like cavemen did: we have got addicted.

    The fact is, why should we be bombarded with advertising, even if we have not pleaded for it? Why should we stay still in front of such invasive advertising and endure in silence? I think he is perfectly right. They tell us not to leave painting on buildings, that look like scars in the face of the city, while they allow companies to fill the facades of many buildings with huge billboards, which are not art at all and, since we cannot shut our eyes walking down the streets, they force us to look at and think to their products only.

    Stefano P.

  11. anonimo says:

    Usually in these billboards are sticked up posters of advertisements or of publicity and of electoral propaganda (even in Pordenone there are them, under the railway bridge).
    But this billboard is clean and Bansky wants to emphasize this unusual fact by his message; so he sells an idea and his originality,his thought.
    I think that Graffiti is a form of art, it's the modern answer to paiting: no more canvas or pictures, just walls and public spaces.
    Writing on walls is a vice we have till when we were kids and it's forbidden severely at home, at school, on public transports, etc…
    Therefore, Graffiti blame the respectable society, they shout (through colors and swollen or exaggerated words) against passers-by, they travel with their messages by trains ( these genre of “decoration” are typical on the sides of vans).

    “Junk-food Caveman” it's strong! I like it! Certainly the caveman prefers to eat this ready food in order to work hard to catch a rare animal that, maybe, has even to share with the rest of the rest of the clan!
    And I like he has right in this regard and also in his states. If they had could, they'd have imposed their ideas and their lifestyle at time of cavemen too!


  12. anonimo says:


    I think that graffiti is a form of art. Bansky is a genius and I think that he is original and he is a great artist!!!!!! Thanks this particular form of art he can express himself and his own opinion.I think that, generally ,art is a way through wich everyone (children, adults….) can express themselves.
    "THE JOY OF NOT BEING SOLD ANYTHING" is satirical and astounding because with this slogan Bansky wants underlines that we are constantely bombarded by advertising.

    The graffiti " JUNK-FOOD CAVEMAN" catched immediately my attention.I think that Bansky wants rappresented a typical consumer. In my opinion the prehistoric man chooses the junk-food because is a ready and quick food for people that do not have a particular sensibility taste. Moreover this kind of food is easier to find and it is not so expensive.

    With this observation Bansky wants underline that we are always manipulated and we are constantely an object by advertising. Advertising does not ask permission to do or to say something. It seems that wants follow the interests of the final-consumers but on the contrary it follows ONLY his own economical interests.


  13. anonimo says:

     With the phrase “the joy of not being sold anything” Bansky wants to underline the way that we are surrounded by advertising. He uses an original way to criticize our world and our society. He doesn’t care for the consequences of what he does. He wants only express himself and his opinion. In the video we can see that he does graffiti as it is a normal thing, also when people are passing. I like very much the way how he do everything, he is an artist and he is not afraid of what it could be happen on breaking the law. The graffiti “junk-food caveman doesn’t catch at once my attention, but then I observe it carefully: I think Bansky wants to criticize the technologic man of nowadays, who eats only fast food. But in my opinion Bansky creates a subtle image to fault society, maybe he compares the modern man with the caveman because he is fool and don’t understand the good and  the evil, is only persuade by advertising. On his observation, Bansky wants to let us know that we are only manipulated by advertising. Companies of products ask us nothing, they use their economical power and their persuasion to hypnotize us and to enter in our lives. This the reality, everything we see around us is a mode to manipulate our mind and to let us become as a robot that answer on command. The true is that we are bombarded every day, hour, minute, second of  advertising, but we are so accustomed that we don’t realize that…

  14. anonimo says:

    In my opinion with the phrase "The Joy of Not Being Sold Anything"Bansky wants to underline the great amount of ads we have around usand the way we are influenced by them.
    I think this is a simple graffiti, it is only a phrase is not art but when he makes a design it's a art, I think graffiti is a form of art and I like them, they contribute to colour the city, but this is only a phrase(as I just said)…
    I think he has a fantastic imagination, I never associated a Caveman with Junk-Food, in my opinion ha wants to criticize the modern society where people have not time even for eat calmly with family on the contrary of Caveman..
    With this observation he wants to underline that we are constantly manipulated by advertising. I agree with him, he is very explicit, I like him!
    By the use of graffiti, I think he wants express himself and simply be himself, he deos not like submission and he try to help people's spirits to wake up and react against psychological submission make by ads..
    I like Schildwester's quotation, she tells the truth, without thinking we are nothing for us but we are a "free field"for the other who want "to seed" something on our mind in order to manipulated us…

  15. anonimo says:

    “ THE JOY OF NOT BEING SOLD ANYTHING”: even if companies are tring their best to sell us happynessthrough their products, there is just one thing that can give you the real joy, and that is the rediscovery of those values that cannot be possibly quantified, commercialized or  sold. If one looks around, one soon understands that in the nowadays society we are bombarded by messages that try to sell us something and we almost feel sick by it. I admit my ignorance saying that I have never heard about “Bansky” and his graffiti but I think it is cool that he avoids celebrity by remaining anonymous; in this way  he does not become part of the” system” . Anyway, I do not think that the message he wrote on the billboard can be considered art but a protest and a new way of communication: writing on walls is not certainly polite, but let’s think about the other means that he could have used  to spread his message without involving money: newspapers? Books? TV? Radio? No, none of them enables communication without paying. I consider art the graffiti of the caveman instead, which I really like! It is really witty because through a well-done drawing it carries a strong protest: is the human kind evolving or rather regressing? With this graffiti Bansky gives an effective portrait of the nowadays man, slave to fast-foods, to technology and to money, all things that do not help in developing brain’s skills. Regarding Bansky’s essay on companies I think he is completely right but we have to bear in mind that we are all part of their business: if we don’t buy, companies don’t sell and this has indirectly damages also on our own economy. But there is one thing that the consumer must be aware of, and that is that ads and commercials AIM to make us buy the product, and companies would do (almost) everything to convince us that they are the right choice! Finally, if they think to be smart, let’s show them that we are much smarter!

  16. anonimo says:

    I consider Bansky a genius!!
    I did not know anything about him but thanks for the comments of my schoolmates I came across with some interesting information about his activities…. I really like him!!
    I consider his action a form of art because he expresses his emotions and his point of view…but…
    I agree with Erica when she writes: “In my opinion, graffiti must be divided into two groups: those that are act of vandalism, others that are expression of art and creativity. They can be considered the faster way to communicate with people and to spread the own ideas (but remember they are illegal..!)”.
    According to the image “Junk-food Caveman” I will share with you what I thought when I have seen it the first time: I think that it represents a man of today’s society as the result of the heavy consumerism…
    This image gives us a strong message: we must pay attention to consumerism, advertisement and feds because they have a strong power: they can clear out our mental faculties and our capability to choice freely!!

    Chiara B.

  17. anonimo says:

    This quotation can be "I do not sell myself to anyone… i am free to do what i wanted to do and I love it!!!!"
    For me there are two types of Graffiti. the first type is graffiti like "i love x" or things like that… this is not art, it is vandalism! "Real Graffiti" like Banski's graffiti are pure art! i love it! his Graffiti wants to raise our consciousness. The "junk food caveman" is adorable! i supposed that Banski wants to makes us think about our society. he wants to told us that even if we "wears" the clothes of human beings of 21st century, inside we are like a caveman. We are so advertisement-aholic that we eat junk food just because an ad told us to eat it!  
    I agree with Banski's quotation… we depends totally on what "they" say.
    We are manipulated by ads… sooner or later we will not be able to decide with our mind anymore! we must be careful of the use that we made of ads.
    Chiara F.

  18. anonimo says:

    For me, “the joy of not being sold anything” is an expression of astonishment and relief. Astonishment, because it is rare to see nowadays a blank billboard; relief, because we see there is nothing to advertise.  It is a little bit disturbing however seeing blank rooms in the walls of our cities, because we are so used to see advertising everywhere, that we immediately spot the “white” spaces. I think this graffiti could not be considered properly as art; it is a way to raise a protest against the system.
    The graffiti “Junk-food Caveman” is an ironic way to state that fast-food and, generally speaking, consumism is not a peculiar feature of man’ s existence, and it could not be that man grows up apart from his products.
    Personally, I consider art this last graffiti. “ There’s no such thing as good publicity” gives to publicity an important task in our society, because, if it is good, contributes to the spreading of universal ideas and opinions. Bansky, in this work of his, reinforces again his outcry against industries employing publicity as a subtle means to sell their products.

  19. PaulAuster2008 says:

    This is what an Internet surfer wrote about Bansky.  Since I liked the way he summarizes Bansky’s main traits as an artist, I feel the urge to share the comment with you:
    Banksy's a clever artist, and he knows that there are certain forms that you can and can't work in as a graffiti artist. Which is probably why he is moving away from pure 'scene' graffiti interventions (although the fact that he is very famous and has an agent might have been an incentive too).

    I think I like him for not being a graffiti artist in the usual sense. I mean, why does most of the graffiti around today look like the stuff that was happening ten years ago? That's weird. Graffiti fans want graffiti to stay the same, even after it's been commercialised terribly by brands like Nike. Banksy, despite getting rich from his artworks, doesn't seem to give two hoots for any strictly commercial ideas about what should be done, nor what graffiti thinks he should do.

    Original thinkers are hard to come by.
    Now watch and listen to the video on Bansky, I think it is quite interesting if you are interested in this artist:
    Stefania, you state that Bansky’s “graffiti” are meant to raise people’s awareness as to some specific issues, but then you claim you do not think he is an artist.  Don’t you think art is a way of inviting people to reflect upon issues dear to an artist (be it a performer, a painter, a sculptor, a graffiti, a visual artist, a singer, a dancer, an actor, a slammer, a writer, etc.)?
    Erica,the analysis of the caveman is quite to the point. It seems that human beings have made great headway in certain fields, but have we really always made progress for our benefit or our detriment?  This is the issue, I think.  Are we better off than our ancestors if our sign of progress is visible in eating McDonald’s food?
    Erica, I agree with you that a certain form of graffiti is a way of communicating powerfully and effectively with lots of people.
    Jessica your quotations certainly deserve some thinking.  They overlap in some of their meanings, but I wouldn’t say they are the same.  As to the second one, yet is it definitely a translation from Italian, but since we are Italian, we do grasp what you want to say. 
    Arianna, we won’t necessarily buy and buy and buy because we have been lucky enough to work a lot on the deviant uses of advertising and we have thus hones our skills.  Now we are aware of how advertising works and we can then “act” more responsibly. 
    Valentina, I think that Bansky’s message is even more powerful thanks to his anonymity.  I am sure that some people would use Bansky’s background or personal information of any sort to demean and thus discredit his powerful message.  Since he goes against the system, the system would use or “construct” some kind of “deviant” info just to deflate/”deploy” his art. For sure we can change the world.  DO you think we would have worked that hard on this blog if we did not believe in a better future?
    Gloria,thanks! You wrote what I observed in my reply to Vale(ntina)!  I got to know Bansky’s work just a few years ago.  I was in London and I saw some of his graffiti (without knowing they were his).  I was mesmerized by them.  Then on the same day I walked into HMV and there I saw this book that caught my attention.  I leaved through it and I saw there was one of the graffiti I admired on that same day.  Needless to say, I bought the book.  I cannot consider myself a Bansky fan, since I do not hunt for his graffiti and I do not keep myself updated as to his artistic production.  Yet I am an admirer of his graphic artistry and mainly of the scope of his message.  I think Bansky is a HE, but it could also be a SHE!
    Chiara F., you coined a new word “advertisement-aholic”, nice!  Be careful though.  I do know some people who are not affected by advertising at all.  So as I point out in class, do not use “all” when you make your considerations.  There are always people who do not pertain that label “all”.
    TO ALL OF YOU! Be your own Bansky, try to change the world for the better and do it with the great gifts and talents you all have.  This will make you proud of yourselves.  Knowing that you made some kind of difference, that you left a mark worth of notice will mean you have lived your life fully.  Thanks for your last post.  I feel really sad, we have come to the end of this blog. Hope you have found it useful.  I would really appreciate if you could possibly leave a few comments as to its usefulness or the opposite.  I appreciated all of you, equally.  Do not think that when I reply to one of you specifically I do not appreciate what the others have written.  It is impossible for me to reply to all of you since this is extra work for me and I work late at night to read your comments.  If I do not reply to you personally it is just because some of your comments are quite similar and so I do not want to sound redundant in my feedback.
    It was really a joy for me running this blog with you.  I learnt so much about you and I have come to appreciate you more.  I am proud of your use of the language and even though as a teacher of English I have not been appreciated or esteemed by all of you (that is normal!), I am sure I have done my best to teach you both language and BEING.
    Good luck with your exam.  Good luck with your life.

    Hugs and kisses.C.Z.

  20. Chris Rich says:

    Such an important message. I’ve have linked to this from my blog. Thanks for writing this.

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