My project is a place called Punxland, an alternative Disneyland that plays on the illusion of inclusivity and the “dream that everyone can aspire to.” Punk as a subculture grew out of a sort of alienation from the mainstream as the economy and the government both failed to live up to their promises of success and happiness, making it the perfect vehicle to explore elements of the “other” in American society.
Drawing on those ideas of the “normal” and the “other,” the park presents two options for entrance. Using the “normie” entrance guarantees an experience of punk as an era of history rooted in postwar London and New York in the 1970s. Both attractions on this side of the park cater to a more touristy experience of monetizing cultural products – visitors are encouraged to have a drink at the British-style pub Spirits of ’77 (which recalls the first wave of British punk, known as the “Spirit of ’77” or “Class of ’77,” that features bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash) before traveling down the path to a true replica of New York’s infamous CBGB, transformed into a museum/gift shop.
The other entrance, designated for “punx” only, opens up into a more ideological iteration of punk. Entrants must go through the Anarchist open-air market to receive their park hand stamps, providing vendors, artists, and activists with the opportunity to build a community with those who attend the park and promote their projects. After they leave the market, visitors will find themselves in a straight edge section of the park, which will promote clean living and expound upon punk’s more ideological facets – such as the DIY philosophy and activist pursuits. Ian Mackaye’s Dischord record label will present panels on punk history, punk idols, and punk ideology. A fortune teller dummy in the shape of a New York hardcore dude will give you gruff advice for the low cost of fifty cents. No alcohol will be sold, but a soda stand will provide refreshments in the form of fancy root beer, orange soda, and cola. From there, visitors will move to the Riot Grrrl Hall of Fame, a testament to the white ladies of the early 1990s who made feminism an important part of American punk.
Both paths will meet at the end of the park in front of a large stage used for festivals, organized in turn by anyone involved in the daily operation of Punxland. There, both “normies” and “punx” will mix in the pit, enjoying the blurring of stereotypes in the one truly free space for expression.
I am obviously not the best artist but hopefully the picture kind of shows what I’m going for here.