I’m a little torn by this, but I guess it wouldn’t be art if I wasn’t at least a little bit conflicted. I’ve been a fan of Banksy for several years, and I’ve loved Disney and Disney World since I was a little kid. Honestly, I think I love Disney World even more as an adult. Still, it’s kinda fun to think of what a dystopian version of the park would be, and that’s exactly what Banksy has given us.
I’m pretty sure this would have to be the biggest Banksy installation yet. It’s based in Weston Super Mare in the UK in an old, abandoned water park. They are calling it Dismaland (“The UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction”) and it looks like all the biggest theme parks in the world, gone horribly wrong.
For the five weeks that it is open, visitors will be able to revel in Banksy’s favorite themes of apocalypse, anti-consumerism, and anti-corporate messages. They will also be able to experience several other artists, as Banksy teamed up with 50 other talented people to make this happen including: Damien Hirst, Bill Barminski, Caitlin Cherry, Polly Morgan, Josh Keyes, Mike Ross, David Shrigley, Bäst, Espo, Escif, Maskull Lasserre, Kate McDowell, Paco Pomet, Dietrich Wegner, Michael Beitz, Brock Davis, Ronit Baranga, and others.
Here’s what the brochure has to say:
Are you looking for an alternative to the soulless sugar-coated banality of the average family day out? Or just somewhere cheaper. Then this is the place for you—a chaotic new world where you can escape from mindless escapism. Instead of a burger stall, we have a museum. In place of a gift shop we have a library, well, we have a gift shop as well.
Bring the whole family to come and enjoy the latest addition to our chronic leisure surplus—a bemusement park. A theme park who’s big theme is: theme parks should have bigger themes…
This event contains adult themes, distressing imagery, extended use of strobe lighting, smoke effects and swearing. The following items are strictly prohibited: knives, spraycans, illegal drugs, and lawyers from the Walt Disney corporation.
Once inside the park, you can go on sub par rides, play impossible to win fair games, enjoy interactive works of art, random live performances, and interact with the “morose Dismaland employees who seem completely uninterested in being helpful or informative.”
In what seems even more timely, given the new announcement that Regal Cinemas will be checking bags for everyone going to the movies, guests will go through a very uncomfortable and awkward NSA style screening to get both in and out of the park.
Dismaland is open to the public from August 22 through September 27th, 2015. On the 25th, there will be concerts by Pussy Riot and Massive attack.