Dismaland Bemusement Park

Here’s a very short post to rave about Dismaland, which I managed to get tickets for last week. If you haven’t heard anything about it, a brief outline would be to describe it as Banksy’s brainchild for a dystopian theme park, built within the site of the old Tropicana lido in Weston-super-Mare. It features the work of more than 50 international artists, and is a pop-up event limited to just 5 weeks (ending the first week of October). I really enjoyed it – the whole concept, the varied mix of artwork, and most of all the twisted humour behind much of it.

To quote the brochure…

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 whose 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.

Rather than rewrite much of what is available to read elsewhere on the internet, instead I include a link to a great write-up of Dismaland that I found on Colossal, a blog focussing on art and visual culture. You will also be able to see much better photos of the site and artworks than I can provide here. I took a few pictures, but I very consciously wanted to experience my visit directly and not through my smartphone viewfinder. So I limited myself to incidental shots, largely whilst I was waiting in line for various exhibits. If these are enough to whet your appetite I thoroughly recommend you visit. Tickets are released on a weekly basis and sell out very quickly. Limited tickets are available on the door, but be prepared for a potentially long wait and disappointment. Although, in a way, disappointment is very much the underlying theme.