Banksy's #Dismaland takes over London ad space & is sent to Calais to shelter refugees

The 15th of September, Banksy and Dismaland artists pulled off quite the heist where advertising spaces all over the city where hijacked for protest art. Over 300 pieces appeared literally overnight, occupying bus shelter ad space, London underground tube poster space and even big billboards.

No longer would Londoners have to travel to the Banksy's theme-park parody Dismaland to get a slice of the Dismaland experience, if you were using public transport or walking around the streets of London the day before the DSEI - that's Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition in London. The ad art protest wants to #StopDSEI - and many of the protests around London centered specifically on "stop arming Israel".

Using tools neatly called 'Ad Space Hack Packs' to open the poster casings and switch out adverts for their parody posters, the group managed to switch out over 300 posters overnight. The group called 'Special Patrols Group' ( @specialpatrols) have sold over 2,000 of these tool packs at Dismaland, so expect more posters switched out in the future. The £6 pack of Allen keys claims “gain access to around a third of bus stop advertising space on the planet”.

London Transport were not amused by the poster switch: "This is not an authorised advert. It is fly-posting and therefore an act of vandalism which we take extremely seriously. We have instructed our contractor to remove any found on our network."

It wasn't just anti-establishment artists protesting, however, Amnesty International highlighted the Defence and Security Equipment International’s jamboree at the ExCeL Centre in London’s Docklands, the world’s biggest arms fair via a sharp sarcastic spoof ad. The Amnesty video was created by ad agency VCCP working pro bono, with the graphic designer and voiceover artist also working for free. VCCP creative director Matt Lever was struck by the silence surrounding the advertising of the arms fair – with a blank space on ExCeL’s calendar – and thought: “Let’s give them the campaign they are trying to avoid.” he said to the Guardian.

Meanwhile in the French port city of Calais, the number of migrants camping is currently at a high. The disassembling of Banksy’s “Dismaland” will begin Monday, and the fragments will be used to help shelter refugees in Calais. Although the number of migrants in Calais is currently at a high due to the refugee crisis, it has been a destination for refugees for over 15 years. The controversial Sangatte refugee camp was opened there in 1999. Despite the camp being closed down in 2002, refugees have continued to camp there on the grounds known as “the Jungle” to this day. It's the best way to get to the UK via the English Channel. The deconstruction of “Dismaland” is expected to take about three weeks and all the timber and fixtures will be shipped to Calais.

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