Friday 21st August 2015

My Experience In Banksy’s Dreamed Up Fun Park Nightmare

I feel so fortunate to be alive and in Weston to see such an exhibition come into my hometown. Not only does Dismaland showcase the works of the most prolific and controversial street artists of our time, it features 50 other hugely talented artists from around the globe.

The theme, a dysfunctional and abysmal take on well-known fun-park with a strong classic British seaside influence complete, with a sprinkling of authority ludicrosity. The canvas for this piece is our very own dilapidated and derelict Tropicana.

This opportunity was not to be missed. I queued like many of Weston’s locals on Friday 21st August for this surreal chance to walk into the Tropicana once more and view the exhibition the whole world is talking about. 

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Once through the front door, the experience started immediately. I was greeted reluctantly by security with a palm to the face and a voice saying “ hold it right there!” just like the dismal experience one receives when addressed by security at any airport, but this encounter obviously had a twist. The whole setting was cleverly constructed out of cardboard by Bill Barminski

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Once the frisking was over, I was allowed out into the main attraction. The first thing that came to my mind was the condition of the Tropicana; a sinking feeling hit me. In that moment, my childhood memories flooded straight back, even the music playing, which was comparable to the tune in the opening credits of the series Trailer Park Boys, seemed familiar in that setting. I clocked the fountain I used to play in and its smashed appearance bought me back to reality.

 

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Taking in the whole picture with Banksy’s fabricated Disamland vision in situé, the Tropicana really is the perfect setting of such an art installation. Everything blended so well, the rough exterior, the rusty rides, crude signs, music, murky water and the dark undertones expressed through art displayed.

It was like an exaggerated experience at one of those dodgy pop-up fair grounds that comes into town twice a year.

The old café and hire spaces were stripped bare, lightly littered with cobwebs and existing graffiti, all natural light was blocked out with aged plywood boards. The art glistened through, lighting up the room with vivid colours and imagery that drew you in to stare in admiration. Installations were compelling, with powerful representations. Everything was so visually exciting each piece urges to return for a second look.

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The exhibition had definitely opened my mind into different ways an art gallery can be perceived. Banksy utilized the space as a full art installation complete with interactive games, and even got his staff to portray a depressive state; all visitors lucky enough to experience the exhibition could feel fully submersed into his abysmal world. It would be nice to think that the world’s mindset of art exhibitions is expanding into uncharted territory thanks to him, and that the making of this movement started in our humble town of Weston-super-Mare.  

I could talk all day about my experience at Dismaland, but I’d rather hear what YOU think about it! Let me know by posting a comment on our blog or on our facebook page.

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Photography By Jack Britton 

Posted in Museum Blog.