Remi Gaillard is a merry prankster of public space. His art is in athletics and devoid of the sharp social, political, and ethical satire of Banksy, Ji Lee, or other modern troublemakers active in metropolises, but the work is no less entertaining and done at greater (immediate) personal risk.

Hailing from Montpellier, France, Remi’s got mad soccer skills and a knack for circumventing authority. His tour de force came after Lorient won the final match in the 2002 Coup de France. He stormed on the field in a replica jersey, ransacked the goal with the real team, did that weird flying-a-plane thing that soccer players do when they’re excited, and posed for the press, trophy in hand.

But that was for a special occasion. Normally, Remi’s performances are relegated to city streets and buildings and captured by handheld cameras. Under the banner n’importe quie (I don’t speak French, but I hope it means, “Awesome”) he recreated Rocky, practiced the rings in a metro car, tunneled his way out of prison, broke into bodybuilding competitions, and scored touchdowns with found objects.

Remi’s clearly talented, both physically and in deciding what makes for great hidden-camera-performance-art, but his latest videoFoot 2008, where he makes soccer goals out of the urban landscape – looks a little too slick to be legit.

Watch it. It feels like a viral video made by an ad agency, the third installment from the Feed Company after successful, similar iterations seen in Rayban’s Dude Catches Sunglasses with Face and Levi’s Guys Jump into Jeans.

Like its possible forbearers, Remi’s vid features a smug star emitting an aura of casual confidence while displaying ridiculous acts of athletic trickery. Can he really make all those shots? Did he shoot hours of footage until he got it right? No special effects involved? And why does the camera linger on his yellow Nikes at :42 seconds in? Is this a subtler version of Ronaldinho’s Touch of Gold?

Of course, there are lots of arguments that could be made to vouch for the video’s authenticity – most notably, ad agencies probably wouldn’t have Remi shooting at police property – but I’m still not convinced this one doesn’t have corporate backing.


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