Exit, Pursued by a Gift

It doesn’t seem like three years since Banksy’s refreshing antidote to the creepy enforced have-a-nice-day-ness of Disney, called Dismaland Bemusement Park – but apparently it is.


At the time I thought it was a brilliant idea and I still do; there’s nothing more depressing than enforced smiling, and no better antidote to such tyranny than a healthy dollop of hyper-realist misery.  Dismaland featured such British greats as constant rain, invasive baggage searches and broken rides.  You could purchase a black balloon that says ‘I am an Imbecile’, see mock-ups of motorway accidents and nuclear mushroom clouds, genetically modified mice and abandoned, graffiti-covered tube carriages.

But just as Mickey Mouse is the poster-boy for have-a-nice-day capitalism, so Dismaland is overtly political too.  They show you how to subvert adverts by reclaiming public space with art, as this video shows:

I wonder what Americans would have made of this?  It’s very typically British to queue up for a miserable experience rather than being happy-happy-happy.  The staff at Dismaland never smile and openly state that they don’t care about your problems, hence the Customer Service Desk is closed 24 hrs a day.  There’s a long queue for ‘pocket money loans’ – a reference to the way companies target children to get their customers while they’re young.  And of course you exit through the gift shop…

Kirk out

One thought on “Exit, Pursued by a Gift

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