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Mona Foma's 2021 Festival Will Fill Launceston's Cataract Gorge with a Light and Laser Show

It'll also fill an entire Hobart warehouse with video installations, art and sculptures by local and international artists, too.
By Sarah Ward
November 20, 2020
By Sarah Ward
November 20, 2020

Earlier in 2020, when events worldwide started cancelling, postponing and rescheduling due to COVID-19, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)'s Dark Mofo was sadly one of many that had to pull the plug. It's also just one of the annual festivals that the venue holds but, thankfully, MONA's summer event will be forging ahead — and, if the first sneak peek at its program is anything to go by, Mona Foma's 2021 festival is returning in a big way.

Come January, arts and music fans will be able to soak in the fest's eclectic sights and sounds across two weekends — and in two locations. Although Mona Foma was originally held in Hobart, where MONA is located, the event made the move to Launceston in 2019. In 2021, however, it'll split its program between both Tasmanian cities.

Launceston will be up first, from January 15–17, with Hobart getting the nod the next week from January 22–24. After revealing back in September that Mona Foma would definitely return next year, MONA has now announced two parts of its 2021 lineup — one per city — which is great news for everyone who loves arts, culture, festivals, lights, lasers, gorges and warehouses.

Aqua Luma, Robin Fox. Photo Credit: Nick Roux. Image courtesy of the artist and and Mona (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

First up, in Launceston, the city's Cataract Gorge will host the latest work by audio-visual artist Robin Fox. Yes, that means the site's landscape will be taken over by an immersive installation, called Aqua Luma — which'll be making its world premiere, will run on a 20-minute cycle from 9.30am–11.30pm, and will be free to attend.

Aqua Luma will feature multiple components, too, all adding to one impressive experience. First, it'll include 12 metre-high water jets that'll erupt in time with subharmonic frequencies. Also, there'll be lasers tracing geometrical patterns in the watery mist. Basically, you'll feel like you're standing beneath a canopy of light and sound — and there'll be an electronic composition sent straight to your smartphone as well.

K&D Warehouse, Hobart, Tasmania. Photo Credit: Mona/Jesse Hunniford. Image courtesy of the artist and Mona (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Over in Hobart, Mona Foma is turning the site of former hardware store K&D Warehouse into a gallery — with exhibition No Place Like Home filling the entire place with video installations, art and sculptures all selected by Mona curator Emma Pike. You'll be able to wander through one of the city's best-known buildings, which dates back 118 years, and see works by artists such as Tony Albert, Zanny Begg, Andy Hutson, Rachel Maclean, Nell, Ryan Presley and Phebe Schmidt. Entry will cost $10 per person.

Revealing Aqua Luma and No Place Like Home, Mona Foma curator Brian Ritchie said that the festival was excited about hosting "installations in two of the state's most dramatically different but equally beloved locations". He continued: "Robin Fox has been involved in every festival program since Mona Foma's inception, so it's appropriate that he has created a new work to address a year like no other. While at K&D Warehouse, the art will take you over the rainbow after the storm that was the year 2020."

If you're wondering what else the event has in store, Mona Foma's full program will be released on Monday, December 7, with tickets going on sale at 8am the next day.

Of course, before you go making big plans for a weekend getaway down south, you'll want to keep an eye on Tasmania's current border restrictions — which, at the time of writing, requires 14 days in quarantine for non-Tasmanian residents entering from a location considered medium-risk, such as Victoria and South Australia. Restrictions on Victorians are due to ease on Friday, November 27, however.

Mona Foma will take place from January 15–17, 2021 in Launceston, and from January 22–24, 2021 in Hobart. We'll update you when the full program is announced on Monday, December 7 — but head to the festival website in the interim for further details.

Top image: Cataract Gorge, Launceston, Tasmania. Photo Credit: Rob Burnett. Image courtesy of the artist and Visit Northern Tasmania.

Published on November 20, 2020 by Sarah Ward


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