Earlier this week, rumors began swirling that Banksy was building a theme park called Dismaland, after images popped up on Twitter and Facebook depicting shadowy art installations. Now, it’s confirmed: Banksy is building Dismaland, and he’s already banned Disneyland’s lawyers from entering.
The likes of Damien Hirst, Pussy Riot, David Shrigley, Run the Jewels, and more are helping to launch Banksy’s warped, dystopian nightmare land. It’s located in Weston-super-Mare, United Kingdom, on “four acres of walled seafront compound,” that Banksy describes in a Juxtapoz exclusive as resembling a “neglected prison yard”; a look he supposedly has tried to preserve.
All told, 50 artists, Banksy included, will transform their works into Dismaland attractions. As Christopher Jobson of Colossal's photos of the burnt-out Magic Castle and abstracted gas truck suggest, the artworks should be mind-bending, indeed.
Describing it as “an art show for the 99% who would rather not be at an art show,” Banksy says that Dismaland aims to be a reflection of the generation; that is, “scrappy, incoherent and self-obsessed.”
Over the last couple of years, there were a couple of warning signs that Banksy might go in this direction: That time he and Thierry Guetta (aka, Mr. Brainwash) walked into Disneyland in Anaheim, California to put a Guantanamo Bay detainee doll by a roller coaster, resulting in a ride shutdown and Guetta’s subsequent interrogation by park security, for example. Or when Banksy’s stooges drove a cargo truck around New York City, opening the back door to reveal a surreal, small-scale take on the demented sunshiny happiness of theme parks.
And, yet, it’s quite another thing to actually witness Banksy taking these pranks to their ultimate conclusion; to what is perhaps the ultimate prank on global capitalism. If Disneyland is a dreamlike reality designed so that people can forget war, pollution, police brutality, famine and so on, then Dismaland is its dark mirror image, showing all that Disneyland attempts to hide.
The "bemusement park" is open for five weeks only, starting Friday. And, as the site states, it "contains uneven floor surfaces, extensive use of strobe lighting, imagery unsuitable for small children and swearing." Oh, why can't it just stay open forever?
Head over to Colossal for more exclusive images of Dismaland.