Why, may you ask, do we hate Banksy? Because it’s so easy to. He has one gimmick and he has milked it for everything he’s got. He’s a sellout (or is he?). His political satire is facile, and puerile. He is easy to imitate, though his imitators, granted, are always even worse than him. He is a cheap imitator himself, as artist Blek Le Rat attests. His heavy-handed visual puns and hectoring tone grate on our nerves.
What can we say? We have strong contrarian passions.
However, we got to give it to Banksy. This time he surpassed himself with Dismaland, his new “bemusement” park that sounds suspiciously like Disneyland. Unlike the amusement park that inspired it, which is terminally cute on the outside and creepy on the inside, Dismaland is overtly creepy.
(Photos by Christopher Jobson from This Is Colossal, where you can read more about Dismaland).
Dismaland is a bemusement park with surly guards, nasty security people and ugly installations. Its purpose is to remind us, in that typically superior and condescending tone of Banksy’s, that we can’t really escape the horrors of the world.
He’s a killjoy. But once in a while, killjoys are necessary. It’s not a bad idea to piss on everyone’s oblivious parade and show the dark side of things on a grand scale. And this time, Banksy has taken over an abandoned amusement park site to make a statement and he has recruited other artists as well.
Some of the art is bad art (Hiroshima cloud? Really?). Art whose only claim is shock value is not very interesting. However, some of the pieces are interesting.
We like this sculpture by Mike Ross (photo via BBC):
Here’s Damian Hirst’s contribution: an inflatable ball that hovers in the wind over sharp blades and daggers. We like this. Fun is never far from fear. We get it. (Photo via BBC)
We assume this is the Jenny Holzer piece.
This is a boat basin where you can control the boats remotely, and they are filled with desperate immigrants and refugees.
We actually like the following piece. A lot. We wish we knew who is the artist:
How clever. But yes, for all the little kids that dream of going to Sea World, a reminder that animals do not belong in circuses for our enjoyment.
Do you love Dismaland or hate it? Tell us what you think.
Here’s a video about a visit to Dismaland.