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Dismaland has created a media tornado travelling across the UK, sucking up all in it’s path and delivering them far from home, to a land of make believe. Except it’s not, not really. The media hype surrounding Dismaland has sucked me in and created a desire for a ticket but it has not delivered me far from home – not at all. Do I want to go and witness the art works that have actualised some of the great truths, hidden behind the lies of our media machine? Yes, yes I do. Do I want to go enough to queue for hours on end, to feast my greedy eyes on the real life reflected back at me, in a twisted truth called reality? Let me think… The part of the exhibit that has made the biggest impression (even though I have only seen this from news hype) is the boats with immigrants in. Yes I know there are immigrants in Calais, hundreds of them, with not enough clothes, food or dignity to go around yes I realise most of these people will wait days, months, sometimes years to get to a place where they can start to re-build their lives. Do I want to go and spent a pound to drive an artists impression of these people around back and forth across a small dirty pond? Or should I donate that money to the people who don’t actually have enough food tonight?
The Dismaland staff who quite rightly look dismal, don’t make me smile or applaud the satire streaked over their attire. It makes me want to march for minimum wage to rise now, not in six years time.
Pixelated princess does please me, to see distortion in the packaged beauty pumped out from Disney – a glitch in the mask of perfection – allows me to breathe a little more freely.
Don’t get me wrong, Dismaland is genius, choosing to bring Weston Super Mare a much needed tourism boost is a gift. Choosing to deposit real life un-censored real life observations in a theme park setting – spot on. As the rise in ‘haves’ spending money on escapism, while the ‘have not’s’ desperately try to dig their way out – it’s reassuring to me that truth is represented through art. In some small way the world is unfolding as it must and in times of great need artists become vital and socially essential, to document what is happening and stop our history from disappearing. To witness the thoughts on our streets, directly below the media out-pourings – there are getting fewer places to hide.
As I walk though Bristol City centre to work there are more people sleeping rough, more people hungry. Last week I caught myself hurrying by a woman, as she lay on the pavement, red-eyed, wild haired, colouring the air blue with her abuse aimed towards the world. I picked out the words ‘give some bread, just give me some bread’ as she threw a can of opened cider down the road. A small place inside my body, must have been my heart opened up , as I saw beneath her mask of anger to her hungry despair. I shared my lunch with her, wasn’t much but she thanked me, until I was out of site. I hurried on my way to work, having passed by the man who snored loudly in the Bear Pit, face pressed against concrete on the floor in the tunnel; the woman I mistook for a pile of rubbish, until I saw her move; the man who had just left hospital, tubes still in his hand, wanting money for dinner; the man who.. and the woman that… and the child that had nothing…. and I thought…
I thought, yes I would love to go and feast my hungry eyes, fill my belly with voyeuristic plenty, by immersing myself in the genius inspiration of Dismaland. However if I do make it there and even if I don’t I will offset my time by immersing myself in the real life of my home town – Bansky’s home town and make the time to share more than just my lunch, as I hurry on by to my way to work.
I’ve just joined Acorn communities, to volunteer my time and skills. They have been invited by Banksy to spread the word about building community and ‘doing something about it’. Join in!