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Dark Mofo 2021: Our Guide

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Dark Mofo is back for 2021!

Tasmania’s dark and mysterious winter festival is back for another year. After going dark in 2020 (literally), the festival has been reborn to the cheers of locals and interstate visitors alike.  2021’s theme is that of rebirth or coming to the light, a fitting tribute to the strains of the past 12 months and the hope and strength we have coming out of the pandemic. Kicking off on 16th June, the festival will run for one week with a huge range of events to enjoy. While the program is slightly shorter than previous years, you can still expect an incredible array of art, music, food, and wine scattered throughout the program, many of which are free events.

To help you navigate the program, we have put together a guide on what to see and where. There’s also a handy map to help you get around.

Dark Downtown

Take a stroll into the darkness to discover the light.

Stroll Hobarts streets and discover the city after dark at Dark Downtown. What to expect? art, light, sound, bars, food trucks and live performances weaving through Liverpool, Bathurst and Melville Street in the CBD. There is even an interactive art piece that you can ride. Dark Downtown is free and features different events throughout the area. Capacity is restricted due to COVID-19 limitations so make sure you get in early!

Where: Liverpool, Bathurst and Melville Street between Murray and Harrington Street

When: Wednesday 16 June, 7–11pm
Thursday 17 + Friday 18 June, 6–11pm
Saturday 19 + Sunday 20 June, 5–11pm

Price: Free

Dark Downtown Events Include:

  • 3.2: Dark Mofo Lasers are back. 3.2 features a great chamber of light and deep, body-shaking vibrations.
  • Double Eclipse: Giant eye beginning to go blind as if by a solar eclipse. A metaphor for the power of the gaze or the blindness of desire.
  • Earth Deities: Monumental, sculptural false gods come to life at night through fire, electricity, and the generative force of destruction.
  • Behind The Sun: Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri repurposes amateur VHS footage of Kuwait’s burning oil fields, set ablaze in the aftermath of the First Gulf War (1990–91).
  • The Character Ride: Surreal interactive sculpture. Jump on and hold tight.
  • Slow Room: Watch a living room be pulled into a hole in the wall over the course of the festival. How? you better head along to find out.
  • O Peixe: River fisherman in remote Brazil cradle the dying catch in their arms. Intrigued?
  • The Purging: Write your fears on paper and offer them to a giant Bruny Island Mt Mangana Stag beetle. It has been a tough 12 months after all.
  • Home State Nipaluna: This installation involves a community coming together to build a traditional hut and rekindle knowledge and skills once widely used in Tasmania.

Photo Credit: Dark Mofo/Rémi Chauvin

Festival Favourites

Celebrate the return of festivals to the state and warm up with these familiar favorites.

Spectra

A great beacon in the sky, Spectra lights up the Hobart night. Located at Mona, the light reaches 15 kilometers into the sky and can be visible from many locations! Head out to the museum and enjoy food and drink at the wine bar and on the lawns until 6:30 pm each night and enjoy the light show.

Where: Mona

When: Wednesday 16 – Tuesday 22 June, sunset to sunrise

Price: Free

Winter Feast

Feast on local produce by the fire with a cup of mulled cider.. sounds pretty good to us! The Winter Feast is a must-visit when attending Dark Mofo. There will be a great range of food and wine available with seating indoors and outdoors. There will be capacity limitations and most visitors will need to be seated, except when browsing stalls and buying food and drink.

Where:  Princes Wharf 1, Castray Esplanade

When/Price:

Wednesday 16 June, 4–10pm, $10
Thursday 17 June, 4–11pm, $20
Friday 18 + Saturday 19 June, 4pm–midnight, $20
Sunday 20 June, 4–11pm, free
Free after 9pm nightly, and for under 16s accompanied by a parent or guardian

Nude Solstice Swim

Rip of your clothing, and your insecurities and the troubles of the past year with a nude dip in the wintery waters of the Derwent River. The swim kicks off at 7:42am following the longest night and is certainly one way to get the heart pumping in the morning (who needs coffee, right?). The swim has become quite the tradition over the Dark Mofo festival and those looking to participate must register prior to the event.

Where: Long Beach, Sandy Bay

When: Tuesday 22 June, 7.42am

Price: Free – registrations essential

Oogh-Oogh: The Purging & The Burning

Purge your fears onto paper and offer them to a giant Bruny Island Mt Mangana stag beetle, crafted by Balinese artists. The burning of this year’s Oogh-Oogh, is a time to reflect on your fears and watch them burn away. The Purging, where you can write down your fears on Paper, will be located in Dark Downtown from 16th – 19th with the burning on the 20th June.

Where/When:

The Purging: Dark Downtown, Wednesday 16–Saturday 19 June, 5–10pm

The Burning: Sunday 20 June, 5–6pm: Hobart Regatta Grounds

Price: Free

Photo Credit: Mona/Dark Mofo/Rémi Chauvin

Paint the Town Red

Let there be light!

Once again local photographers can come out of the darkness and capture the light with the Paint the Town Red photography competition. As local businesses light up red after a year of darkness, photographers are invited to head out and capture the essence of the festival, whether that’s the people, the light, the art, whatever Dark Mofo means to you. There are some great prizes up for grabs so be sure to check out the competition details.


Art

In the wise words of Pablo Picasso (you may have heard of him) “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

  • Home State Reclamation Walk: Visitors will follow fire and smoke through the streets, to the place retaken by vegetation.
  • Memorial: Memorial sees ashes of deceased Tasmanians launched into fireworks. Art, a fitting tribute, creepy? It’s Dark Mofo, so anything goes.
  • The Dust: Artist, Tianzhuo’s video sees farming tools and ceremonial relics take on new significance. Set in a Tibetan village and celestial burial ground.
  • The Tench: Visit the old Hobart Penetenitay for two films portraying incarceration, sex, and surveillance. This work is sexually explicit and contains violent material.
  • Paradise Lost: An exhibition about Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, one of Australia’s most accomplished colonial artists and suspected serial poisoner.
  • Nightwalks with Teenagers (Ticketed Event): Roam through Hobart’s nocturnal landscape with local teens as your guide. Grounded by the power of walking together, this is an unexpected, intergenerational tour of the town, where anything can happen.
  • Crone: An exhibition by Sally Rees at Mona, visitors will find themselves in the midst of a flock of birds. These ‘birds’ are also, in Rees’ vision, crones: portraits of aging women from her life that she aspires to emulate.
  • Thence We Came Forth to Rebehold The StarsAn experimental percussion score will be transposed from London into a pyrotechnic symphony in Hobart. Sounds like fun!

Music

Shake it off, shake it off.

  • Thurston Moore performing with the Dead C and Wobbly (Ticketed Event): Post-punk legend and guitar wizard Thurston Moore leads the music lineup performing over two nights. The first night sees Moore team up with New Zealanders, The Dead C, and the second night with experimental electro producer, Wobbly. Both nights are seated performance & subject to capacity.
  • OM (Ticketed Event): Hailing for the USA, OM is a heavy Eastern rhythm trio that are sure to get some heads banging.
  • Circuit Des Yeux (Ticketed Event): International artist Haley Fohr of Circuit Des Yeux and focal powerhouse will perform meditative dark folk tunes and octave-spanning melancholia.
  • Circuit Des Yeux, Music Box: Haley Fohr plays and sings with music boxes with the performance featuring soft instrumentation and ambient sound in an intimate setting.
  • The Dead C, Lucas Abela: Joining forces, The Dead C use traditional instruments to create unique sounds while Lucas will use a not-so-traditional instrument (a piece of glass) to craft sounds that will make you look twice.
  • Pope Alice Close Encounters: As patron saint of the Hanging Garden Cathedral, Pope Alice (who fell to Earth through a black hole) will bestow gifts upon the faithful with ancient rituals and outrageous ceremony. Expect smoke, lasers, and who knows what else!
  • X-Cathedra: Transforming The Hanging Garden over 5 days, X-Cathedra will see midnight DJs and blessings from Pope Alice. More to come on this soon.
  • Night Shift (Ticketed Event): It’s time to party! From 10pm – late, Thursday 17 – Sunday 20 visitors will be on Night Shift. Held at the Altar and High Altar, Night Shift will see electronic DJs and nocturnal artists put on a show.
  • Screams From The Abyss (Ticketed Event): An evening of heavy metal music.
  • Confidence Man, A. Swayze & The Ghosts, King Stingray: Free lunchtime live music? yes, please!
  • Solstice Eve (Ticketed Event): A sit-down feast of ambient, experimental soundscapes to prepare you for the solstice
  • Lo!, Injured Ninja, Threats, Drug Cult: Head thrashing, scream-inducing, voice losing, punk music. It’s an acquired taste.
  • Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet (Ticketed Event): Gavin Bryars conducts the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in a piece crafted from an old homeless man sings ‘Jesus’ blood never failed me yet’; a refrain unearthed from discarded tape recordings made with people sleeping rough in London during 1971
  • A Hut In Toyama: Viola Concerto (Ticketed Event): The world premiere of new work by English composer Gavin Bryars, written during the pandemic lockdown and featuring soloist Morgan Goff on viola.
  • Black Cab, Jeremy Gara, Slag Queens: Join Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara, Black Cab and off-kilter post-punk Slag Queens for a free Sunday night gig.
  • Grace Cummings, Chloe Alison Escott: Enjoy folk tunes from Grace through vocals, guitar and harmonica with Chloe bringing it to the piano.
  • Terminal Guitar: No composition, no limits, no mercy with any resemblance to actual music is, at best, fortuitous. What to expect here, nothing and everything? Best get along to see.
  • {{Black:Rainbow}}Held on the Wednesday night, {{Black:Rainbow}} is a ritual offering of smoke, noise and devotion, along with a dj set.
  • Towards A Great Silence: One for the night owls, Towards a Great Silence runs from 10pm on Monday 21 June to Tuesday 22 June, 6am. Expect durational, episodic performances. Gregorian chanting and choral music spanning the last six hundred years.

Photo Credit: Dark Mofo/Rémi Chauvin

Family-friendly

Time to let your hair down.

Grab the kids and enjoy a night out with the fam. There are a number of family-friendly activities but parents, you know your kids best so best to decide for yourself what feels appropriate.

  • Dark Downtown: Wander the streets at night with the kids, discover the artwork and feast from the local food trucks.
  • Oogh-Oogh: The purging and the burning are a bit of fun for everyone!
  • Memorial: Who doesn’t love fireworks! If your little one gets a bit creeped out, maybe don’t mention the whole human ashes thing…
  • Winter Feast: Ah feasting on burgers and ice cream. What’s not to love.
  • 3.2: Walking through a tunnel of light and vibrations, sounds like fun. If the kiddies are sensitive to light and sounds, best they sit this one out. Along with those who have issues with strobe lighting.
  • The Character Ride: A mechanical bull likeness. Great for teens, tweens (and adults!) but the wee little ones might struggle here.
  • Spectra: Point out the beacon in the sky or head out to Mona and enjoy the range of food, drinks and activities available when you get there.

 


See the full Dark Mofo 2021 program for more info (and to buy tickets).

We love it when you share your adventures with us! Share your snaps by tagging @hobartandbeyond and using #HobartandBeyond on Instagram and Facebook – we’ll share our favourite pics on social media and in the blog.


Blog Header: Dark Mofo’s Winter Feast. Image courtesy of Dark Mofo/Lusy Productions

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