The countdown has begun— In just a week’s time Banksy’s Dismaland will open to host an array of musical artists. The elusive graffiti artist calls Dismaland a “bemusement” park, no doubt poking fun at more cheerful amusement parks, such as Disneyland. Some synonyms for “bemuse,” as defined by Webster, are “bewilder” and “puzzle.” Not surprisingly, Banksy wants to make his audience think.
The park, located in England, will be open for five weeks and will feature artists such as DJ Yoda, Peanut Butter Wolf, Breakbeat Lou, Run the Jewels, Savages, Sleaford Mods, Kate Tempest, Massive Attack, and last but not least, Pussy Riot. The artists will play among a dilapidated Cinderella-esque castle surrounded by a murky pond. A photo suggests that staff will don Mickey Mouse ears and hold balloons that read, “I am an imbecile.” The park will feature art including a wall that has the word “Mediocre” plastered over it and a collection of TV dinners that’s reminiscent of Duchamp’s readymades or a depressing “I am now a part of the American system” scene from Herzog’s Stroszek. Banksy released a statement on Facebook:
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 sardonically political undertones address possible notions such as our attachment to television, satisfaction with society’s mediocrity, and our artificial notion of happiness. They’re eerily comparable to Herzog’s film Stroszek, which highlights a depressing yet realistic desire to be a cog in America’s machine. But as Banksy suggests, that’s up to the audience to decide.