It’s been known to break all the rules and this year, it will be no different. Dark Mofo promises a haunting and heady line-up of ‘intense experiences’ to be staged over the darkest days of Tasmanian winter in what has become MONA’s highly-anticipated annual winter festival.
The 2017 Dark Mofo theme is ‘silence’, but expect it to be nothing other than attention-grabbing and thought-provoking as the festival delves into centuries-old winter solstice rituals and artfully dissects themes of darkness.
Free and ticketed events will play out long into night across Hobart over two weeks, from June 8 to 21, with large-scale public art, food, film, music, light and noise all set to climax on the season’s longest night.
As always, there’s a huge line-up of events to get excited about. Here’s a handful of our favourites.
Chris Levine at Dark Park
Interactive, immersive and mind-blowing. That’s what we’ve come to expect from the global works that hit Dark Park, a “public art playground” that will this year see the biggest laser show in Dark Mofo history. Enter – UK-based artist Chris Levine. In a larger-than-life technicolour laser show, he’s set to light up Hobart’s night sky in a series of super-powered lasers reaching 10 kilometres high, creating patterns dictated by the rules of sacred geometry while an immersive soundscape by Marco Perry booms out.
Don’t miss Dark Mofo’s Winter Feast – the culinary centrepiece of the festival action. Eloquently combining the elements of fire, food, wine and festivity, it goes off every year along the Hobart waterfront at Princes Wharf in what is a contemporary take on a medieval heathen feast. Indulge in Tasmania’s finest gourmet fare as well as never-tried-before flavours at delicious food stalls, before sitting down at communal tables to the tune of psychedelic lighting in a community event that’s not to be missed.
New Exhibition to open at MONA
MONA is set to use Dark Mofo as a platform to launch its latest major exhibition: The Museum of Everything. Heading to Australia for the very first time, it has been described by curators as "an astonishing assortment of artworks from the world's first and only wandering institution for the untrained, unintentional, undiscovered and unclassifiable artists of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries”. While the grand opening takes place on Saturday 10 June, it will remain on display challenging established perceptions of art until early April 2018.
Red Bull Music Academy: Transliminal
There’s an incredible line-up of music acts to catch, from indigenous hip-hop act A.B. Original to Norwegian black metal pioneers Ulver in concert with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. But one that really stands out is an industrial-scale transcendental rave, brought to rave-goers over four nights by Red Bull Music Academy. Expect the world’s finest mish-mash of everything from dubstep and acid techno to Turkish rock and deep, dark discotheque – plus so much in between.
Ogoh Ogoh Burning Ceremony Parade
The official closing event is as noisy as it is colourful – intended to inject light into the dark winter days. It sees a traditional Indonesian Ogoh-ogoh monster procession come to life as it weaves through the city to a cacophony of chanting and banging. The wolf-shaped monster sculpture will then be ritualistically burned in a special ceremony – but not before you get the chance to scrawl your darkest fears on a piece of paper to put inside and then watch burn to ashes.
Nude Solstice Swim
Think you’d have to be crazy to swim in Tassie’s waters in the winter (or even in the summer for that matter)? If there’s one day on the calendar that provides ample motive it’s in the final hours of the Dark Mofo program, on the shortest day of the year. The Nude Solstice Swim has become an enduring icon, when hundreds of swimmers shed their clothes - and inhibitions - for a dip at Long Beach in Sandy Bay, just as the sun rises – bringing a rather bold and cheeky end to the long line-up of festivities.