On Campus

When art goes wrong

Student charged with OCAD bomb hoax let off hook

Thorarinn Ingi Jonsson, a former student at the Ontario College of Art and Design, was spared a criminal record late last week when a Toronto court dropped mischief interfering with property charges against him.

The international student, who has since withdrawn from OCAD and returned to Iceland, was charged in November last year after what critics called a “misguided art project.” For the final project in his video class, Thorarinn Jonsson, 25, left a fake bomb at the Royal Ontario Museum and posted a fake video on YouTube depicting the explosion.

The fake bomb — three simulated pipe bombs wrapped in wire with a battery — was found in a bag Wednesday, shortly before 2,000 people were to arrive for the Canadian Foundation of AIDS Research fundraising dinner. The $600 per plate dinner, expected to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for AIDS research, was cancelled while the Toronto police bomb squad investigated.

Later that evening the video portion of the hoax was uploaded to YouTube. It shows a woman walking into the ROM, stopping to wave to the camera, and entering the museum just as the fake explosion occurs. With a flash and a bang, the shaky video goes black, leaving only the sound of screaming.

Jonsson is obviously remorseful for his actions. He spent 320 hours this summer volunteering for an AIDS organization in Iceland, far more service than a judge would require as punishment. He also delivered an apology in court that the judge later remarked appeared to be very sincere.

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