Dismaland, the 'family theme park unsuitable for children', was a temporary art project organised by Banksy in Weston-super-Mare, England. It was an incredible exhibition, with works by 58 artists including Damien Hirst, Ronit Baranga, Dietrich Wegner, Jenny Holzer and Jimmy Cauty. Banksy created a dystopian bemusement park which reflected the injustice, exploitation and inequality of modern society.
Greeted by disgruntled staff in high visibilty jackets and novelty ears, visitors were made to pass through mock security screening, and emerged in front of a destroyed fairy tale castle. Inside, the princess had died in a horse and carriage accident whilst trying to escape from pursuing paparazzi. Other installations included ‘Pocket money loans for kids’ (whilst I was there children played non-ironically in the sand pit – which felt strangely out of context), Mini Gulf (a crazy golf course themed around oil), a Ferris wheel, refugee boats, intimidating seagulls. And, of course, you had to exit through the gift shop.
The brochure stated '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.'