Mona Foma 2021
The huge summer festival will feature more than 352 artists — across everything from light and laser shows to huge art installations and heaps of live tunes.
Dark Mofo might've had to pull the plug on its 2020 event, but the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)'s other big annual arts festival, Mona Foma, will definitely be hitting up the Tasmanian site when January 2021 rolls around. On the agenda at the big summer fest: art, performances, music, eclectic sights, engaging sounds, and plenty to see and do across two weekends — at 58 venues in two cities. Plus, of the more than 352 artists involved, 90 percent of them hail from Tasmania.
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 is splitting its program between both Tasmanian places. Launceston is up first, from January 15–17, with Hobart getting the nod the next week from January 22–24. Whether you pick one or you're keen to head to both, there's plenty on the bill.
First up, in Launceston, the city's Cataract Gorge will host the latest work by audio-visual artist Robin Fox. The site's landscape will be taken over by immersive world-premiere installation Aqua Luma — which'll run on a 20-minute cycle from 9.30am–11.30pm, is free to attend, and includes 12 metre-high water jets that erupt in time with subharmonic frequencies, plus lasers tracing geometrical patterns in the watery mist. Or, you can hop on the Gorge Scenic Chairlift and listen to Chairway to Heaven, a suspended symphony in the sky.
Other Launceston highlights include Acoustic Life of Boatsheds, where you'll flit between boatsheds along the Tamar and Esk rivers and listen to live music; All Expenses Paid, a dance piece about fast fashion and consumerism; 'Til It's Gone, combining installations, sculptures and videos in an old car museum that'll be torn down after the festival; and three interactive spaces as part of Soma Lumia's Lacunae, all spread around the city.
A number of events will hit up both Launceston and Hobart, such as an evening concert series called Mofo Sessions, sound work Zinc, opening performance Relay / Country Remembers Her Names, the fest's beloved Morning Meditations, and After Erika Eiffel — where you'll fire an arrow on a custom-made archery course and learn about Erika Eiffel, the archer who married the Eiffel Tower.
Taking place just 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.
And, of course, Hobart's program has more in store. There's also a musical version of Edgar Allen Poe's The Masque of the Red Death, blocks of ice hanging in the air as part of Lucy Bleach's Rueremus and a Forest Gin Walk. Or, you can check out Making Ground, an exhibition by First Nations and multicultural artists held on sites of colonial ruin; Let Me Dry Your Eyes, a sonic performance at Beaumaris Zoo; and World of Worlds, which is about fictional world-building, other dimensions and parallel realities.
Top image: 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.