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Atmosphere TV and Unauthorized Banksy Art at SXSW

By: Laura Kobylecky

Atmosphere TV wants to bring people together to watch things and share experiences at the “Unauthorized” Banksy Exhibit at SXSW 2022. I sat down with Blake Sabatinelli · Chief Operating Officer at Atmosphere to talk about what they do and what brought them here.

Sabatinelli says that “it started with our two co-founders sitting at a bar, looking up at TV screens in this bar.” The TVs were muted and playing ESPN and Judge Judy. The co-founders, John Resig and Leo Resig thought “there had to be something better.” They made it a goal to “produce content for people’s eyes instead of ears.”

The co-founders considered the reality that  “people spend 70% of their day outside of the home.” However, television is designed for home consumption. So they made it their goal to produce content that would make people “look up from their phones.”

They source content from a variety of places. Sabatinelli describes them as “curators of the internet” who “find the best from the internet” and bring it to venues where people gather. They get their content from YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok as well as more traditional TV channels.

Their goal is to “elevate” the communal experience of TV in public spaces. Sabatinelli describes Atmosphere TV as “kind of a nexus of new creators and the older formats like TV bringing them together.”

But why is there Banksy art here? Sabatinelli explains that the “co-founders are huge fans of his artwork.” They have been collecting Banksy art for almost ten years. Sabatinelli says that they “wanted to make sure they were sharing their artwork with the world.” Since Austin is their “backyard” they specifically wanted to give back to this area.

As I speak to Sabatinelli, loud group yells erupt at various intervals, in response to things happening on the TV screens. Apparently, they have succeeded in bringing people together to share content.  Sabatinelli summarizes the feeling of SXSW 2022 when he says “It’s great to have people back out in the world, sharing something together.”