Dismaland – the UK’s Number One Bemusement Park (teen+)

Note: Much as art should be for everyone, this exhibition is definitely something that I would say is pitched at adults.  Consequently, I could not put anything less than a teen+ rating to this blog.

“Welcome to Dismaland.”

Dismaland is the brainchild of the infamous street artist “Banksy”.  Taking a disused park on the beach of Weston-Super-Mare he and a number of other artists pulled together an installation exhibition that pokes a very hard stick at the world and especially that corporate fun factory of Walt Disney.  It’s only open for five weeks and as I’m up in London during the week we said we’d try to get there on the first day.  To some extent, we actually became part of the art on Friday as we tried to get tickets online – and much as the PR people said that the server crash was due to popularity, the general consensus was that actually this was all part of the hype and part of the show.  So instead, with nothing better to do on Saturday we set off early for Weston-Super-Mare, parked up and joined the first queue at about 9am to buy our tickets.  The line moved slowly (there were already a LOT of people) and about 10:30 we got to the ticket office and bought the wristbands that would get us in.  Then we joined the second queue.

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The queue to buy tickets is on the left; the queue to get in is in the middle and Dismaland is on the right

To be fair, the organisers did make sure that there were toilets available (which was very, very nice) and everyone was quite polite about letting people hop out to “pop to the loo” or nip over to the cafe and get a coffee.Around 1 o’clock we actually got to be let in.

sue at dismaland  queue2015-08-22 12.51.46

Once through the “security check” we were inside, and the full… err .. pleasure was open.  Ever helpful staff were on hand to give out leaflets (in my case, flick in the general direction so I had to go and pick it up myself).

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yes, that mermaid is wonky

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this was a truly dark and immersive experience and certainly made you think. There was dark humour, black humour and anarchy throughout – even the opportunity to see what it would be like to live like a princess just mirrored the real world using a fairy tale princess (and it was not difficult to work out who the princess in the story really was supposed to be).

pocket money loans - hand over your chocolate coins!
pocket money loans – hand over your chocolate coins!

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This van was equipped for Northern Ireland; now fitted with a fountain and slide
This van was equipped for Northern Ireland; now fitted with a fountain and slide

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crockery that can pour itself.
crockery that can pour itself.
What happened to the magician
What happened to the magician

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Damian Hirst provided the Unicorn
Damian Hirst provided the Unicorn
your chair?
your chair?
Note the horse hanging in the background...
Note the horse hanging in the background…

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one of the "toys" available in the Pocket Money Loan shop...
one of the “toys” available in the Pocket Money Loan shop…

It wasn’t all dark – around the park were some wonderful pieces of art that just couldn’t be ignored!

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There was a proper art display – again, a lot to make you think and smile about.

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There was also a model village display – and I was not prepared for the incredible display.  It was huge – and unlike ANY model village this had everything that I really wanted to see in a model village (and it inspired my blog picture of the toy car on bricks too).

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.Being a parody of “the happiest place on earth” Sue had brought a pair of “Mickey ears” with her, but I ended up wearing them round the exhibit… and realised that my own shadow was making it’s own art…

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This is obviously only a small fraction of the experience – and a small summary of the many pictures I took.  But of course, the exit was through the gift shop… and yes, we did buy T-shirts…

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Dismaland is only open for five weeks.  It costs £3 per person to get in.  The floor is uneven, there is strobe lighting and the whole thing is subversive and makes you think.  There may be an option from the 25th August to book tickets online, but that may be a cunning ruse.



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