Dark Mofo 2023

Tasmania's dark and delightful winter arts festival is back with a 'Twin Peaks'-inspired ball, a teddy bear with laser eyes, dance theatre riffing on Dante and more.
Sarah Ward
Published on March 31, 2023


Run by Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art, Dark Mofo is an arts celebration where anything truly can occur. A haven for shows, gigs and installations of the dark, sinister, confronting and boundary-pushing variety, it's back for another stunning year in 2023, taking place in Hobart between Thursday, June 8–Thursday, June 22.

This year's weird and wild lineup includes a Twin Peaks-inspired ball, a teddy bear with laser eyes, sleeping over, catching Soda Jerk's latest film and seeing punk icons Black Flag play their first Aussie gig since 2013. Oh, and Florentina Holzinger's dance theatre performance  A Divine Comedy, an Australian premiere and an Aussie exclusive that reimagines Dante's classic examination of hell, purgatory and paradise,

That ball both wonderful and strange? That'd be Dark Mofo's hedonistic masquerade, which this year is called The Blue Rose Ball. David Lynch fans, this sounds like heaven — in a mystery venue turned into the Blue Velvet Lounge, and with live tunes and performances all on theme. If your costume includes red and white zigzags, you've obviously nailed it.

That teddy bear? It's called Giant Teddy, a new commission by Dark Mofo from EJ Son. Festival attendees will see a giant Korean pop culture-inspired teddy bear that, yes, has lasers for eyes — plus a camera that'll show its live surveillance elsewhere in Hobart.

Winter Feast, Dark Mofo 2022. Photo credit: Rémi Chauvin, 2022. Image courtesy of Dark Mofo 2022.

The sleepover comes courtesy of Max Richter's SLEEP, which returns to Australia for an eight-and-a-half-hour overnight stint. You'll slumber, and Richter's compositions will play. The former will happen on beds provided by Dark Mofo, and the latter is based on the neuroscience of getting some shuteye. And if you've seen the documentary about it, you'll already be excited — and have your pyjamas ready.

Soda Jerk joins the fold with Hello Dankness, which compiles samples into a 70-minute survey of American politics circa 2016–21 — so, a chaotic time. And Black Flag won't have Henry Rollins with them, but will be doing a one-off exclusive Australian show in Tassie.

The music bill also features First Nations artists BARKAA, Tasman Keith, dameeeela, DENNI, MARLON X RULLA, Uncle Dougie Mansell, Katarnya Maynard, Rob Braslin and more on opening night; Ethel Cain hitting Australia for the first time; Thundercat breaking out the bass; and Witch with Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis on the drums. Squarepusher, Trentemøller, Drab Majesty, Plaid, Sleaford Mods, Deafheaven — yes, the list goes on, with Zindzi & The Zillionaires, as led by Play School host Zindzi Okenyo, also on offer for younger attendees.

Dark Mofo's arts lineup spans two new pieces by Martu artist Curtis Taylor: video work Ngarnda (pain) about blood rituals, cultural rites and lived experiences; and multi-media installation Boong, which focuses on exposing racial violence. And, there's Western Flag from Irish talent John Gerrard — aka a ten-metre-by-ten-metre digital screen depicting a flagpole, but spewing out black smoke non-stop, in a reference to the world's first major oil find in Texas in 1901.

Ethel Cain | Dark Mofo 2023. Photo credit: Helen Kirbo. Image courtesy of the artist and Dark Mofo.

Top image: Dark Mofo/Rosie Hastie, 2021. Image Courtesy Dark Mofo, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.


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