My five am start, two and half hour drive and four and a half hour queue time to ensure my feet were one of the first across the threshold at Dismaland paid off…
I was in!
The pre-opening ticket PR hype did nothing to quell my excitement, and I was not disappointed. Not one little bit!
The staff are purposefully rude, abrupt and non-responsive, but in such a humourous way that I got an exceptional fit of the giggles as we passed through the fake security entrance. Of course they had been told to do that, but the innocent childish laughter kept coming. Cardboard scanners and CCTV and other props were incredible, polished off by the outstanding performance by the staff who ‘interrogated’ you. After a hilariously impressive start I went through the door half-expecting it to end there but there were more staff to hand out leaflets, only they made it intentionally difficult for you to take a map from their hand, or just stood there looking at you blankly full of disdain. None of them broke character, not once and it totally made the experience.
I found it a visual over load, with so much detail that I took a lot of time taking it all in. It was a magnificent triumph, Banksy had successfully curated a wide array of art and put the artists together to create one fluid and coherent installation. He created this from scratch in under six months, it was seriously impressive.
Having the PR ‘stunt’ fit in line with the event/attraction/installation (well, it is all three!) was the perfect way to promote the event and keep it in line with the mission behind the installation.
The art itself, predominantly installations, were deliberately thought provoking and challenged perceptions. Here’s a peek at some of the works…
It’s a great place for creative thought, perhaps it suggests a way for public relations to come at things from a different angle too. The stakeholders in attendance were a large cross-section of society, some where there because of the hype, the attraction, the installation, to look cool, to be an activist, an anarchist, an artist…
Every sort of person was there and international languages rippled across the air. Stereotypes didn’t really work here, it had a strange mass appeal. Perhaps it’s because Banksy’s works aren’t aimed at one person, they are aimed at everyone, to challenge everyone’s thoughts and what is fundamentally right and wrong.
It was anything but Dismal! We had a wonderful time, and I seriously suggest you go and experience not only the fun side, but the elements which make you challenge your thoughts and ideas on difficult topics.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget to Exit through the Gift Shop…
This exhibition was temporary and ran during 2015.
Well he know’s how to make a point and generate a ton of PR for his art installation.
Dismaland plays on the Disnification of our society and the post-modern, consumerist generation.
The inability to buy tickets for his latest installation has set the social media sphere on fire. ‘I want tickets now’, ‘I NEED Dismaland tickets’ and ‘how on earth do I get a ticket to Dismaland?’ have rendered the internet truly dismal.
But you, probably like me, realised the hypocrisy of his ‘fight capitalism, buy a ticket to the show’ and as a result there are no tickets…the trolley logo remains upside down…empty.
I get the joke, I see the point being made.
I still click on it, I still press F5 and I have done, like a mad-woman, all day, since 6am. I have become all-consumed, the desire of wanting to see some real-life Banksy, not vandalised or removed by others is just too great despite knowing it will be fruitless.
If I know how ridiculous I am being you may ask… ‘Why are you still trying to purchase a ticket?’
For me, this is easy to answer. I want to see one of the greatest living artists of our time. One who brought a ‘criminal act’ in to popular culture as proper art, more so than any other graffiti artist. His clever takes on topical issues such as politics, migration, money, love, slavery, popular media and relationships say things that often people cannot. He’s travelled the world to do timely works in places like the Gaza Strip. He has almost retained complete anonymity (thanks Daily Mail for ruining that one by the way, for that I will never forgive you! For anyone not in the UK, one of our national papers went out of its way to uncover Banksy’s identity. Which, of course, I’m still furious about all these years later. Anyway, I digress…).
I would like to see Banksy’s new works, along those with the other artists he has involved. I missed his last show and although watching all these comments online are funny, ultimately what this masks are my feelings of disappointment. I am a long-standing Banksy fan. I am your stakeholder Banksy and I understand what you stand for, I get the big point you are making with the UK’s most disappointing bemusement park. But, at the same time, despite knowing this, I can’t stop my own personal disappointment, a feeling I probably share with many of your actual fans who’d like to see your new exhibit. If you don’t let the other kids play, where’s the fun in that? And other than thought provoking, it is meant to be fun, right?
The thought that I may miss another of your shows makes me think that the once accessible to all Banksy is not accessible anymore. You are not offering entry-level anarchism if no one can actually gaze upon your musings. If I am thinking this, is anyone else?
Now I, along with everyone else trying to obtain tickets have become the joke, I’d be careful how you play this one team Banksy because it could ultimately turn some of your real fans against you. (I doubt many but it’s a consideration, and we are looking at this from a PR point here!)
I understand the attraction will most likely be open on a first-come-first-serve basis in an attempt to further fuel demand and exclusivity, which in essence Banksy makes you a teenie, tiny bit like those capitalists and consumerists you mock, you are engaging in a PR and sales strategy that is as old as time. Supply and demand, just without the money element. Not that people aren’t willing to pay, fake prices on Ebay have been estimated at £3000 and people on Twitter have been offering to pay over the odds for the tickets which apparently are going to be £3 each.
It’s a wonderful PR stunt, in line with the Banksy values, that has engaged such a large audience in such a short space of time, perhaps he shouldn’t let it go too far though. Banksy’s popularity is based on his talent, us ticket purchasers have learnt our lesson but we’d still like to see your art.
Despite all the rumours of a hoax, I’m going to risk it. So I am hovering with my bag packed ready for an early morning two hour pilgrimage to the arse end of the South West…Weston-super-Mare. Wish me luck fellow Banksy fans, will I be jilted at the Dismaland gate or will I be revelling in entry level anarchism? Watch this space…
This exhibition was on for a limited time in 2015.