Dark Mofo Has Unveiled Its Massive 2018 Lineup

Returning to MONA in June, it’s chock full of old favourites, powerhouse female artists and the festival's take on Twin Peaks' Bang Bang Bar.
Melanie Colwell
Published on April 07, 2018

Tasmania's delightfully sinister Dark Mofo is back for a sixth year, and the lineup is bigger and bolder than ever. Taking place in the run up to winter solstice, the festival is all about embracing the shadows and flaunting the freaky. Hosted by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), it explores ancient rituals and mythology through music, performance and art installations — all while showcasing artists, performers and ideas that are otherwise overlooked in mainstream culture.

While the main event is scheduled to run between June 13 and 24, this year's festival will also feature a 'prelude weekend' from June 7 to 10. A sneak peek before the full fest, it'll include exhibition openings at Mona and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and an orchestral quartet at the Port Arthur Historic Site. A symposium titled Dark and Dangerous Thoughts will also run across June 8 to 10, using film, literature and talks to explore moral and ethical issues within contemporary society. Capping it all off — and setting the tone for the entire festival — is Société Anonyme, a masked costume ball where opulence and mystery are to be expected in equal measure.

When the festival proper rolls around on June 13, patrons should expect Dark Mofo's "usual mix of extreme, experimental and eclectic programming", according to creative director Leigh Carmichael. Crowd favourites such as the nude solstice swim and the Dark Park playground are all due to return, with the latter hosting ogoh-ogoh purging and burning, plus Ryoji Ikeda's light installation spectra. Germany's experimental industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten are also back, performing their piece (and studio album) Lament, which focuses on the outbreak of WWI.

Elsewhere, the schedule is full of phenomenal female names. Laurie Anderson will bring her series of essays titled All the Things I Lost in the Flood to life on stage through music, video and spoken word. She has also partnered with new media artist Hsin-Chien Huang to create virtual-reality experience Chalkroom, as well as creating a 'sound bath' using her late husband Lou Reed's instruments alongside guitar tech Stewart Hurwood. Inuk throat-singer Tanya Tagaq will perform her fierce album Retribution, backed by a choir, while Grammy Award-winning crooner St. Vincent is slated to perform on June 15.

Other highlights include a further exploration into the occult, with the Salamanca Arts Centre hosting a grotesque photography exhibition from William Mortensen and holding a ritualistic tattooing session for members of the public. And, for those keen to catch Soda Jerk's latest, their new film work Terror Nullius will screen as part of the fest. Plus, in a huge tribute to David Lynch and Twin Peaks, Dark Mofo will create their version of the Bang Bang Bar. It'll host intimate gigs like you'd see at the series' roadhouse — including sets by Rebecca Del Rio, who featured in the show as well as Lynch's Mulholland Drive.

Dark Mofo takes place in Hobart between June 13 and 24. Tickets on sale from 11am on April 10 (with a subscriber pre-sale from 6pm on April 9). For more information, visit the festival website.

By Melanie Colwell and Sarah Ward.

Published on April 07, 2018 by Melanie Colwell
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