Banksy has outdone himself once again with his latest exhibition, a full-scale dystopian theme park known as "Dismaland." Situated on a four-acre lido in the sleepy seaside town of Weston-super-Mare, this monumental "Bemusement Park" is a visually jarring satire of the tourism and theme park industry, complete with dilapidated rides and distorted attractions.
One of the most prominent structures in Banksy's "theme park gone awry" is the centerpiece of the exhibition, a life-sized replica of Disney's iconic Cinderella Castle that appears to have fallen into serious disrepair.
Banksy recruited the help of over 50 notable artists (including Jenny Holzer, Paco Pomet and Damian Hirst) to provide various installations within the park, each of which contribute to the wryly sarcastic and overall bizarre tone of the exhibition.
Dismaland carries the look and feel of a post-apocalyptic amusement park, and is replete with humorous and oddly surreal sights such as the grim reaper cruising in a bumper car, a gigantic rainbow-colored pinwheel (intended to "power" the site like a windmill), a functional carousel in which one of the horses is hanging slaughterhouse-style from the interior, and the Cookie Monster riding in a banged-up jeep with what appears to be a group of armed mercenaries.
The park is attended by highly uninterested employees who offer little to no help (all by design of course), and admission is only allowed after undergoing a TSA-style security screening.
The exhibition has become a worldwide phenomenon, attracting more than 150,000 visitors and selling more than 4,000 tickets a day online since its opening. Self-billed as "entry level anarchism", Dismaland has ironically managed to critique the ill effects of excessive corporate greed while boosting the local economy to the tune of well over $20 million dollars.
The stamp of Banksy's cynical social commentary is all over the various features and installations in Dismaland, but as always, visitors who want to enjoy all that this subversive theme park has to offer will have to exit through the gift shop.