MONA Has Announced Their Impressively Weird and Wonderful Dark Mofo 2016 Lineup

Exhibitions with entry by mirror, parties at funeral homes, ritual burnings and that winter solstice swim.
Sarah Ward
Published on April 08, 2016

Pack your bags, book a flight, grab your winter woolies, and get ready to head to Hobart. For yet another year running, the Museum of Old and New Art is making Tasmania the place to be with events more weird and more wonderful than ever before. Yep, they've unveiled their stellar Dark Mofo 2016 lineup.

From June 10 to 21, the museum every mainlander wishes was in their home city is unleashing its unique brand of large-scale art, food, film, music and just general light, noise and mayhem upon the apple isle. It's the kind of cultural pandemonium that has inspired more than 130,000 people to make the trek to Tassie in previous years. Now that's how you celebrate the winter solstice.

One-off installation Asylum, set inside a historic mental institution, includes a 72-hour, non-stop performance by artist Mike Parr — and it only accepts mirrors (yes, those shiny things you can see your own reflection in) as an entry fee. It's the type of event most festivals can only dream of, so, naturally, it's on the Dark Mofo program. So is Ryoji Ikeda's supersymmetry [experience], which springs from his 2014-15 residence at the European Council for Nuclear Research, the home of the Large Hadron Collider, and will become the latest addition to the MONA collection.

Dark Mofo - supersymmetry

With the Juliana Engberg-curated exhibition Tempest bringing a blend of piracy and wild weather to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery at the same time, that's part of the Dark Mofo shenanigans as well. And it includes Event for a Stage: the Australian premiere of a new stage-to-film exploration of the acting and the creative process made by Turner Prize-winning Young British Artist Tacita Dean OBE, starring Game of Thrones' Stephen Dillane, and shot live during the nineteenth Biennale of Sydney.

If that's not enough to inspire a mid-year pilgrimage, then perhaps a public art playground filled everything from swinging pendulums to LED light drawings that transcribe the patterns of the wind will be. Yep, the dockside Dark Park is the place to find Divination, Nancy Mauro-Flude's thirties-era cabaret crossed with a cypherpunk internet cafe; A Galaxy of Suns, where Michaela Gleave and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Chorus turn constellations into scores; and the disorienting chamber of kaleidoscopic reflections that is Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney's House of Mirrors, too. We're noticing a theme here.

Dark Mofo - The Bacchae

The Bacchae. Image: Pia Johnson.

And really, that's just the beginning. Performance-wise, pop-up space Block Box will play host to a whole heap of pieces — although it depends if Lustmord's dark ambient tunes or hallucinatory theatrical event The Bacchae, a dream-like invocation of excess and violence as told through the eyes of teenage girls, is your kind of thing. Music fans will want to flock to Hymns to the Dead, where death metal gets its due, or to Rivers and Streams, the only Aussie show by Ukrainian maestro Lubomyr Melnyk, aka the fastest concert pianist in the world. Anyone fond of costume balls can don their best gothic threads for The Funeral Party — and given that it's set at Turnbull Family Funerals, it's certain to be as dark as it sounds. Plus, film buffs should expect another fright-inducing feast of sinister cinematic delights, such as heavy metal horror effort The Devil's Candy.

Dark Mofo isn't just about all things new and exciting, though, with a couple of old favourites also returning. Late-night event Blacklist will turn both weekends into an art party, and the Winter Feast will serve up another communal banquet. Don't forget to purge your fears with the annual burning ritual of the ogoh-ogohs, and take part in the Nude Solstice Swim after the longest night of the year. Basically, whatever type of activity floats your boat, you'd best get on one — or another type of landmass-hopping transport — to take part. With a lineup this killer, you know you're going to kick yourself if you miss it.

Dark Mofo runs June 10 to 21 in various locations across Hobart, Tasmania. Tickets are on sale from 10am on Monday, April 20 from the festival website.

Published on April 08, 2016 by Sarah Ward
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