A lot of people forget that fairy tales weren’t always sugar and spice and everything nice. Hundreds of years ago, they were cautionary tales meant to teach young children about the dangers of the world. Internationally renowned street artist Banksy has worked to take back a little of that reality from the gilded cage of the Disney machine with the six week installation Dismaland in Somerset, England.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to wait in the virtual line for hours for one of the 4,000 tickets available each day, let alone hop on a plane and fly to England at some point in the next six weeks. It’s a good thing then that the UK’s Channel 4 News took a tour of the installation for their audience, which you can watch above. Be prepared. It’s a little dark.
Artists like Julie Burchill, Jeff Gillette, and Jimmy Cauty are among the collaborators hand-picked by Banksy to be involved in the installation. Each brings something special and very real to a place that is supposed to be surreal. It’s hard not to see the truth behind the abusive relationship between Punch and Judy, and the post-riot city peopled only by media and authority figures with no place for the victims. Perhaps most disturbing and relatable is the installation within the Dismaland castle modeled after Disney’s iconic towers. Cinderella, flung out the window of her carriage post-accident, surrounded by the flashing lights of the paparazzi. I don’t think it really needs an explanation.
The installation is meant to spark controversy and conversation. Given the news coverage so far, I would say it’s succeeding. One must wonder whether the conversation will continue after it is dismantled and the international press and art community are looking elsewhere for inspiration.
Would you jump on a plane to go see Dismaland if you could? I know I would.
HT: Laughing Squid
FEATURE IMAGE: StreetArtUtopia