Are you looking for an alternative to the sugar-coated tedium of the average family day out?
So asks dismaland.co.uk, the website for notorious UK artist Banksy's latest project: a spooky, satirical take on the classic theme park. Open for five weeks in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset, Dismaland contains a derelict Disney castle that's more haunted house than happily ever after, along with 10 new Banksy artworks and pieces by over 50 other artists that Banksy has curated, from Damien Hirst to Jimmy Cauty.
Update: And he's recently released a tongue-in-cheek 'family friendly' trailer for the park, below.
Banksy has explained his motives in a rare interview with The Guardian, describing the park: "In essence it's a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism. A place where you can get your counterculture easily available over the counter. A theme park for the disenfranchised, with franchises available. I guess you'd say it's a theme park whose big theme is - theme parks should have bigger themes." He goes on to name his inspiration as "the failed winter wonderlands they build every December that get shut down by trading standards - where they charge £20 to look at some Alsatians with antlers taped to their heads towing a sleigh made from a skip." Fair enough.
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In place of merry-go-rounds and laughing clowns, Banksy's Dismaland comes complete with a boating lake full of model asylum seekers, workshops on how to hack billboards and a fire pit for burning Jeffrey Archer novels. After the website crashed due to demand, online ticket sales will be back up and running tomorrow (Tuesday August 25), with door tickets available today if you happen to be in the area.
We see Banksy's point: the over-priced, franchised-to-the-hilt fun to be had at theme parks can be exhaustingly depressing. But after an afternoon spent wandering helplessly from the oil caliphate themed golf course to riot control vehicle, we suspect visitors will leave craving a good old-fashioned carousel ride and some pink fairy floss.
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