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15 Sep 1:00am

Big bang theory: how blowing up a Transit van wiped out £1m of debt

The Guardian
Hilary Powell and Dan Edelstyn filled a gold van with £1m in banknotes then blew it up. As their film Bank Job hits the screens, the art avengers explain how they took on toxic debt culture – and won As dawn broke one spring day last year, Hilary Powell and Dan Edelstyn parked a gold Ford Transit van on some waste ground in London’s Docklands. It was filled with £1.2m of banknotes – and it also contained a bomb. They then retreated to a safe distance, leaving a specialist to trigger the device. “It was the money shot,” laughs film-maker Edelstyn. “The camera man was very nervous,” adds Powell. “And we were too. What if we blew the van up but missed the shot?” There was another problem. The shot was to be the climax of Bank Job, a film about their attempts to fight toxic debt culture with art, a battle that involved printing their own money. The scene was supposed to have as its backdrop the Canary Wharf skyline. But mist was obscuring this symbol of capitalism, so beloved of The Apprentice’s helicopter cameras. Emergency services workers, council officials, rubbernecking joggers, selfie-takers, art world hipsters and east London insomniacs waited in eerie silence for something to happen.
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