By now you’ve heard about artist Banksy’s dark and twisted alternative to the Magic Kingdom. Dismaland is a five week long festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism. With imagery and language not suited for younger children, the post-apocalyptic looking Bemusement Park features outdoor art installations and three large indoor galleries of contemporary art by 50 artists from 17 countries.
The Art Guide To Dismaland
Constructed in an abandoned outdoor park on the English coast, Dismaland was built under top secret conditions, with fake notices alerting passers-by that Hollywood’s Atlas Entertainment production company would be filming a crime thriller called Grey Fox there.
An early sketch of the site and intended park:
In addition to the three galleries, the art exhibition contains a dilapidated Magic Castle, dark twists on childhood fairy tales, and caricatures drawn on the spot – but of the back of one’s head. A perverse version of Splash Mountain called Water Cannon Creek has an armor-plated riot vehicle equipped with sniper posts and grenade launchers that has been turned into a children’s slide and a distorted version of The Little Mermaid arises from the brackish water.
The entire exhibition is staffed by morose Dismaland employees wearing hot pink vests with Dismal marked on the back. Speaking in monotone voices, the staff are purposefully uninterested in being helpful or informative.
A staffer hands out “I am an imbecile” balloons, a very different version of the popular Mickey Mouse balloons found on every corner at Walt’s Disneyland:
Dismaland boasts three large galleries which together comprise the finest collection of contemporary art ever assembled in a North Somerset seaside town.
2. Model Village
Jimmy Cauty’s hand crafted miniature world will delight and amaze (and potentially cause seizures in persons sensitive to strobe lighting).
above photo courtesy of Yui Mok/PA Wire
A view of the entire installation, Photograph by Christopher Jobson for Colossal (click to enlarge):
A video of Jim Cauty’s miniature village installation:
3. Cinderella’s Castle
Step inside the fairytale and see how it feels to be a real princess. Souvenir photos available.
4. Guerilla Island
Features a bus-mounted museum, library, gallery of guerilla art, Comrades Advice Bureau and workshops in how to hack billboards.
above: Visitors can buy the tools to break into bus-stop advertising boards and make their own propaganda for just £5
5. Ben Long
Ben Long has constructed a stallion entirely from used scaffolding.
6. Water Cannon Creek
An armour plated riot control vehicle built to serve on the streets of Northern Ireland. Equipped with sniper posts, grenade launchers and now – a children’s slide.
7. Mini Gulf
An oil caliphate themed crazy golf course made from the hockey pitch at Cheltenham Ladies college.
(sorry, I could not find an image)
8. Giant Pin Wheel
Commissioned by Banksy to power the entire site, it turns out this ecological marvel has trouble charging more than two mobile phones at once.
9. Kids Enclosure
Strictly for the little ones – an area that combines soft play and loan shop.
above photo Toby Melville/reuters
10. Punch and Julie
The infamous Julie Burchill has given this seaside staple a good kicking. Now includes references to Jimmy Saville and Fifty Shades of Grey.
A puppet revue show constructed entirely from the contents of Hackney skips – it’s ‘Fly Tip Theatre’ by Paul Insect and Bast. Self operated.
12. Jeffrey Archer Memorial Fire Pit
Warm yourself around an authentic real open fire ceremonially lit each day by burning one of the famed local perjurer’s novels.
13. Portrait Artist
Nettie Wakefield renders your likeness in an exquisite pencil drawing, but only the back of your head. Surprisingly revealing.
above photo by Christopher Jobson for Colossal
14. Picnic Area
The humble picnic table proves a rich source of artistic ammunition for American furniture twerker Michael Beitz.
Truck-mounted outdoor screen playing a rolling program of 24 short films day and night. Cushions not provided. (Tiz Creel has links to all the films that will be playing here)
16. Circus Tent
A gothic sculpture park in a tiny big top tent.
Knock over an anvil in David Shrigley’s game of skill and cunning. Win big prizes on an oil-slicked hook-a-duck and the shooting gallery. Navigate the high seas with Banksy’s Mediterranean boat ride.
Topple The Anvil:
18. Big Rig Jig
A masterpiece of post-industrial assemblage art – it’s two juggernauts performing ballet by Mike Ross.
above photo courtesy of Yui Mok /PA Wire
Several new pieces of Banksy’s own artwork can be found throughout the Bemusement Park, such as the pieces shown below:
Other artwork and images from Dismaland:
Dismaland is situated on the seafront in legendary Weston-super-Mare and is easily accessible by train, bus and road. Open everyday from 22nd August – 27th September 2015. 11am – 11pm.
Dismal Tickets Sales
The on-line ticketing system will be open on Tuesday 25th August from 12 noon at www.dismaland.co.uk when you will be able to purchase tickets for that evening’s session (7-11pm) and the next 7 days.
Entry into the park on Monday is on a walk up basis and cash only.Admission £3, free for the under 5’s.
Capacity is limited, visit the ticket page and book a time slot for guaranteed entry.
additional image sources: Colossal, The Guardian, Reuters, NBC News, Barbara Arvanitidis/CNN, Express, PA/NewsWire