It has been mysterious to the people of Westen-Super-Mare, a holiday resort in North Somerset, UK of what had been going on behind the walls of the abandoned seaside swimming resort ‘Tropicana’ in the past months.
When the doors opened to the public on August 22, it was no surprise that behind the bizarre imagery that reminds of Willy Wonka and Burning Man at the same time, is no other than Bristol based street artist Banksy.
‘Dismaland’ he calls it. Or also ‘UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction’.
58 artists from 17 countries such as Kate McDowell, Paco Pomet, Dietrich Wegner, Michael Beitz, are exhibiting their works and are inviting the visitors to engage with the scurrile art attractions.
Banksy’s golden threat is of course social critique and anti-consumerism.
There is a wale that jumps out of a toilet through a loop and into a tiny baby plastic pool or a carousel that is occupied by a butcher who made himself comfortable on Lasagne boxes.
But is Dismaland a theme park that only holds up a mirror to the visitors? Or does it yet tie into a commercial idea of art as provocation and thus results in consumerism?
In any case, Banksy offers a full package of ‘anti-entertainment’. Next to the art installations, there are 24 short films by Santiago Grasso & Patricio Plaza, Kirsten Lepore, The Mercadantes, Black Sheep Films among others screened during the entire 4 weeks of Dismaland’s existence. On top of that it is musically underlined by artists such as Massive Attack, Pussy Riot, Sleaford Mods and the Savages.
Dismaland a theme park who’s big theme is: theme parks should have bigger themes…’ will run until September 27, 2015.
If Banksy yet wants to boost his public ego and feed his image or be truly solidary to other artists and filmmakers for giving them a platform to exhibit their works, stands in the clouds.
Dismaland is definitely worth a visit.
Watch the official Trailer for “Dismaland” here:
Photos by Christopher Jobson for Colossal