ELUSIVE street artist Banksy may have been unmasked — by mathematics.
Scientists have applied a type of modelling used to track down criminals and map disease outbreaks to identify the graffiti artist, whose real name has never been confirmed.
The technique, known as geographic profiling, is used by police forces to narrow down lists of suspects by calculating from multiple crime sites where the offender most likely lives.
The researchers used the location of 140 Banksy artworks in London and Bristol, western England.
Writing in the Journal of Spatial Science, they said the artworks “are associated with sites linked to one prominent candidate” — Robin Gunningham, previously named in media reports as Banksy.
Banksy’s spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment yesterday.
The artist’s satirical stencils — rats, kissing policemen, riot police with yellow smiley faces — first appeared on walls in Bristol before spreading to London and then around the world.
His works have fetched as much as $1.8 million at auction.
The researchers say their art-sleuthing “demonstrates the flexibility of geographic profiling.” Lead writer Steven Le Comber, a mathematical biologist at Queen Mary University of London, said the technique had uses beyond criminology, such as working out where epidemics start.
“Some terrorists will engage in graffiti, banner-posting and leafleting to establish their credibility,” Le Comber said.
A new mural by Bansky, which highlights the use of tear gas by French police against migrants, was quickly covered over in January after it appeared on a building opposite the French embassy in London.
The mural features the character Cosette from French author Victor Hugo’s classic novel Les Miserables, holding a French flag and crying as tear gas billows out of a canister below her.
news.com.au 5 Mar 2016
This technology is not only used to hunt for the illusive Banksy...