You'll no doubt recall our recent post on Banksy's latest installation project, a massive undertaking dubbed 'Dismaland', a riff on the famous American theme park Disneyland. The project ran for five weeks, from August 22 to Sept 26, and sold out it's 4000 available daily tickets every single day that it was in operation, an impressive feat in and of itself. Banksy apparently called the installation 'crap', but if anyone knows how quickly the public eats up his work, it's him.
Now that the installation has run its course, however, there is a new plan in place for the remnants of the installation. It was incredibly large, though nowhere close to the size of the park it's cheekily mocking, and now Banksy finds himself in possession of a huge amount of raw building materials that can easily be repurposed. So what's a politically aware street artist to do?
It turns out that he's willing to put his money where his mouth is, and has decided to dismantle the park and ship all the materials to Calais, France, where a huge number of migrants fleeing strife in the Middle East have congregated. The camp in Calais, known as The Jungle due its incredibly high rate of crime and terrible living conditions, is temporary home to an estimated 5,000 refugees at the moment, and that number is only likely to rise.
The website for the project, dismaland.co.uk, has now been updated with the photo shown above and a brief message, which reads:
“All the timber and fixtures from Dismaland are being sent to the Jungle refugee camp near Calais to build shelters. No online tickets will be available.”
It's a strange world we live in, where a mock theme park (a 'bemusement park', as Banksy put it) filled with anarchist training courses selling hacking kits run by a political activist artist is going to do more to help refugees than governments do. Admittedly, governments tend to have more hoops to go through, but that doesn't make the human cost any lower. Here's hoping that others will follow Banksy's good example and try to contribute what they can to alleviate people's suffering. Not that he's the only one helping, of course - many brave and compassionate volunteers around the world are helping every day without getting a whit of credit - but it's nice to see people continuing to step up to the plate.
The world just can't get enough Banksy. From fighting over the rights to spraypaint scrawls on walls to outright thefts of public property to million dollar auction prices, Banksy is one of the most well-known disruptive influences in the current art world (whether this is a blessing or a curse depends on which part of the gamut you're in). The satirical lampooning of popular culture and media icons continues in his latest project, a massively scaled installation titled Dismaland Bemusement Park.
Set up in the English coastal town Weston-super-Mare in the south-east part of the country, the grey skies most often seen above the park seem perfectly suited to a grim, bleak mockery of Disneyland, the famous American theme park that refers to itself as 'The Happiest Place on Earth'. The entire place is a monument to the destruction of ersatz happiness: the castle centerpiece of the real Disneyland has been reconstructed and burned down, and the entire place is strewn with the gritty underside of the world - that which we pretend to ignore yet obsess over compulsively, and that which is just downright alarming. Cinderella's coach has crashed into a building and is surrounded by paparazzi, while children are offered advance payroll loans on their allowance.
There's more to the installation than just sending up Disney, however, as there are several galleries contained within the installation itself. Showcasing works from Jenny Holzer, Damien Hirst, and a number of other artists whose pieces were felt to support the underlying premise of the "park", over 50 in total from around the world. Banksy also has several new pieces on display, the most poignant of which is presented as a game, where visitors pilot boats filled with migrants through corpse-riddled waters. Definitely much grimmer than the real deal, it nevertheless sparks much more thought, debate, and dialog. Even the gift shop is more novel, where it's supposedly even possible to pick up a kit designed to hack bus stop billboard displays - no word on the price, however
Tickets to Dismaland are limited to 4000 per day, and cost under $5, meaning that they're likely to be sold out each and every day. It opened on August 22, but it will only be open until September 27, so be sure to get in there while you have the chance. It might not be the happiest place on earth, but it sure is the most interesting for the moment!