Dystopians, rejoice! Your Utopia has arrived, in the form of a major Art installation of gargantuan proportions, bigger and badder than ever construed in your minds, more painful, raw, mind-searing and thought-provoking than anything you’ve been preparing for all your lives!
After an extremely secret hush-hush rush spanning several weeks, in the UK’s not-so-secret tourist seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare (where yours truly has fond memories of spending 3 days every month for 2 years doing her Diploma in Consumer Affairs at a majestically run-down, labyrinthine hotel right on the seashore), artist-activist Banksy‘s “Dismaland” has opened to the public.
Contrary to local folklore, gleefully seeded and carefully nurtured by the organisers to add to the urban legend, the old derelict open-air Lido was NOT the site for filming an up-and-coming film codenamed “Grey Fox”. Instead, Dismaland is a pop-up Art installation with the strapline promising to be “The UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction”, spearheaded by Banksy, being a collaboration of more than 50 other artists of international renown.
Staff at Dismaland wear those famous black ears, and bright pink high-visibility vests with the word DISMAL emblazoned on their backs. Only the most morose, bored, dispirited and de-motivated-looking applicants got the job. (Previous Disneyland Mouseketeers and its lawyers need not apply).
Dismaland is an apocalyptic dig at consumerism and capitalism, a dystopian’s wet dream of what will happen to us all frighteningly, if Society today carries on with its relentless, mindless, let’s-all-bleat-to-the-same-sheeple-tune march towards self-annihilation.
Whether or not the general hoi-polloi will get that message, is not clear as yet. Certainly, I envision that many will throng to the attraction for sheer entertainment value, whilst leaving their brains safely cotton-wooled at home. They will come across the many strangely distorted sculptures, bizarre juxtapositions and positionings of Disney princesses, a weird machete-wielding butcher/scientist on a carousel, epilepsy-inducing strobe light effects, depressing messages stencilled in giant letters too big to miss, sooty stencils of humans that look like they were blasted into oblivion against walls etc…and whether or not they understand the underlying message behind the allegorical scenes, or simply accept them at face value i.e “entertainment”, is anyone’s guess.
If they are disappointed by what they find, then Dismaland has lived up to its promise. If they do understand the message, then Dismaland has served its purpose to awaken a few more souls each day.
(If I sound like a drunken poet today, it’s because I’m currently reading Russell Brand‘s latest book “Revolution“, and I may subconsciouly be channelling Russell’s unique way of speaking and writing. What can I say, the man does not speak so much as spout poetry in motion. If Russell Brand ever starts an anti-consumerism, anti-capitalist, alternative lifestyle cult, I’ll be one of the first to follow him. Hell, I’ll make sure I become his First Lieutenant!)
Dismaland will remain open to the public for 5 weeks. So, if you still have the stomach for it, and especially if you “Get it”, then make sure your flight ticket to England is already in your hand.
I’ll leave you with some links for further information on Dismaland, as well as some of the first images of Dismaland starting to flood the internet.