Saturday, August 22, 2015

'Dismaland' - Dazed and Bemused - The New Banksy Exhibition is more than meets the eye.

If ever there was a town gripped, to the point of crippled, with celebrity fever, it's Weston super Mare today. This afternoon, the word on everyone’s lips is ‘Banksy’. You can’t venture out, go anywhere in the town, without hearing someone mention the elusive satirical street artist’s name.

For the past few days, locals have been given tantalizing clues that ‘something’ was about to be revealed on the seafront, mainly in the guise of an entertainment ‘event’. It was at first rumoured to be some kind of Hollywood film set. Little did anyone anticipate that the big reveal would literally become a mega phenomenon.

The international arts sensation that is ‘Banksy’ is headlining all the local news media, and some mainstream international outlets, with the likes of CNN and ABC News, plus Variety, and The Huffington Post getting in on the act.

UPDATE: Approximate queuing time for Dismaland... Five hours!

The 100,000 tweets in 24 hours had the words 'Weston-super-Mare’swirled around the internet… this had never happened to my little home town before. Not bad for a traditional sea-side venue, that’s a holiday for day-trippers, and a retirement destination, but usually catering mostly for those on a low income.

This is the crux of why the town plays host to such a prestigious contemporary art exhibition at all. Banksy chose the dilapidated old swimming pool (lido) on the seafront, now mostly filled with seagull droppings and empty bags of chips, precisely because it reminded him of his childhood. The renowned Bristolian, spent many summers splashing around the pool, according to his own recollection...

Banksy said: “I loved the Tropicana as a kid, so getting to throw these doors open again is a real honour.

“I hope everyone from Weston will take the opportunity to once more stand in a puddle of murky water eating cold chips to the sound of crying children.”

The Old Tropicana

Bring on the controversy!
The once glorious summer holiday venue, now reduced to a concrete shell, with the faded shadow of its sign ‘Tropicana’ staining the facade above the entrance, has repeat visitors reminiscing about ‘the good old days of Weston’. Perfect to host a pastiche of the new world, a homage to what has now come to pass, with works by 58 handpicked artists including Damien Hirst. Installed across the 2.5-acre site, it's a large-scale group show lampooning Disneyland, but with its very own message to the masses.

‘Dismaland’ is born. “The UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction”.

The website explains little…

Dismal Land – a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism.

Are you looking for an alternative to the sugar-coated tedium of the average family day out? Or just somewhere a lot cheaper?
Then this is the place for you. Bring the whole family to come and enjoy the latest addition to our chronic leisure surplus…

Even the online ticketing system played into the premise of a dismal experience. Today it's announced that you can't buy a ticket online anyway... site crashes engineered to enhance the experience!

Queuing had already begun overnight, so the chance of getting into this contemporary art exhibition is pretty slim.

My local paper prints the World Exclusive!

Jack Black loves Weston too!

As close as I got to Dismaland yesterday!

You really don't need to venture into the town, and queue for hours, before discovering other brilliant satirical works of street art. Weston has its very own Banksy in the guise of JPS Artist. I've already posted some of his works that I've discovered around while returning to my old haunts.... such as...

If I do happen to get into the venue, I will post more... apparently there is controversy, thought-provoking masterpieces of pop-art, and sick satirical jibes, strictly not suitable for children!


Brizdaz (Darren) said...

Great Post.
I had never heard of the town Weston super(night?-)Mare before this Banksy story started doing the rounds.
And to think that you are from this town as well.
It's a small world after all. ;-)

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Hi Darren! Thanks, queues for Dismaland are literally horrendous so no chance of getting in for a while unless I wait (at least) five hours in the pouring rain! Is Banksy et al worth it?

This miserable town (;-) has a lot of history, I've written a little about it in my first posts I think. It was a favourite haunt of Crowley's would you believe, Golden Dawn and all that. Also, the first telegraph cable across the Atlantic to Canada made landfall here!

Apparently the New York Times did an article on Weston today...who would have believed it! Can I make a claim to fame now too? I shall say that the Synchromystic community has it's own local representative, and that I once met the man who played Darth Vader in Star Wars here! It's all true!