Dark Mofo will cast a spell over Hobart for three bewitching weeks, from 6–23 June. Things are growing wild this year, with several new venues incorporated into the forest-themed 2019 festival. The packed program features an eclectic mix of art, music, theatre, film, festive parties, and dangerous thoughts.
Prepare to join hands and skip off into the deathly-dark forest. We’ve put together a little guide below to keep you out of too much trouble (there’s also a handy map). Remember, don’t trust smooth-talking wolves or little old ladies.
Be a dear and grab our coats.
[Crying child disclaimer: Parents/caregivers, you know your little ones best. Please decide for yourself what you think is appropriate.]
- Purge your fears in a huge swift parrot-shaped ogoh-ogoh, then watch them swiftly burn.
- Fatten up your bony fingers (but not too much) at the Dark Mofo + City of Hobart Winter Feast. Under 10s can explore new flavours with Fire & Ice (4–5pm nightly), a new kids’ program focused on native foods and the stories behind them. [Tickets on entry, u/16 free, all free after 8pm + on 23 June]
- Why follow stale bread crumbs when there are warm red lights to guide you? Paint The Town Red is back with lights on from 1 June, enveloping businesses, homes, hotels, and landmarks.
- Prowl the ground floor windows around the Centre for the Arts and trespass into Panopticon III: The Garden of Earthly Delights.
- CORONAL MASS is an electrically-charged wave of sound, transcribing the patterns of solar wind and the Aurora Australis, at the Salamanca Art Centre.
- Only the Penitent Shall Pass at Rosny Barn’s risky, anarchic playground. Featuring a performance by dancer and choreographer Nicole Morel.
Yes, we’re heading down it. Discover many strange, wondrous and contemplative artworks along Dark Path, a new 4 km public art walk between the Regatta Grounds, Queens Domain, and Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
- 6th: As night falls, traipse up to the old Beaumaris Zoo to bear witness to a ‘digital de-extinction’ of the legendary Tasmanian tiger via sweeping projections, sound and light.
- Take This, For It Is My Body: Take tea and scones at Government House, while three Aboriginal performers offer you a provocative choice (tickets $15).
- Missing or Dead: A memorial to 180 children stolen or lost during Tasmania’s early colonial years.
- Demon Core: A radioactive metal sphere emits flashes of light and sound, causing tanks of luminescent matter to glow and fade in the darkness.
- Limbic Resonance: Listen out, as rituals of primal screaming and meditative breathing ring across the dark gardens. With candles, bells, salt, soil, mirrors and her voice, Blacklock explores mythologies of the witch.
- Enclosure: Explore the human urge to alter, capture and reproduce the natural environment—but also, how we distinguish ourselves from it.
- All This Coming and Going: Roam through a sprawling outdoor installation about humankind’s fatal relationship with the ocean (a dozen shipping containers and a bar).
Run amok in A Forest, a new art precinct at the former Forestry Tasmania building in Melville Street. This is no walk in the park; discover confronting artwork, loud noises, performance, and the violent undergrowth of human nature. [$20 timed entry on the hour]
- Universal Estate: A nightly, durational dance bad dream, set in a retro-futurist beige enclosure in the middle of a huge, derelict office.
- Song of the Phenomena: A decommissioned particle accelerator transforms the decomposing atoms in bananas and pomegranates—naturally radioactive due to their high potassium—into sound.
- Bunghole: An industrial vacuum pump sucks at empty oil drums, causing them to implode at random.
- Real Violence: Bear witness, via a virtual reality headset, to the artist carrying out a violent act on a city street.
- Aetheric Pluxus (The Field): Tread carefully beneath the dome.
- Tiresias: The artist presses their body up against a neoclassical male torso carved from slowly melting ice.
- Inextinguishable Fire: A looped, filmed performance of a treacherous fire stunt, referencing continuous cycles of political uprising and apathy, life and death, ignition and extinguishment.
- Slow Rinse: Hundreds of electroluminescent lines lance through an abandoned building, reimagining the natural phenomenon of refracted light.
- Cryptid: An insect-like robot creeps its way around the building.
- Lost Angeles artist Paul McCarthy presents a psychosexual trip of surveillance and humiliation.
- Air Dancer as Black Body: A burst of action, triggered by your approach, confronting how non-white bodies appear in Eurocentric frameworks of art and culture.
- For, In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit: Wander through a thicket of microphones and metal spikes, each piercing a verse written by a jailed poet.
At Mona Museum
Don’t get lost, now. Or maybe, do. [$28 / $25; free for Tasmanians & u/18s]
- Journey underground for Mine, Simon Denny‘s new exhibition revolving around mining, data collection, and augmented reality.
- Siloam features works by Ai Weiwei, Alfredo Jaar, Oliver Beer, and Christopher Townend.
- Kirsha Kaechele’s Eat the Problem exhibition explores whether invasive species could be a delicious feast. Feasts, performances and treatments accompany the launch.
- Mona will switch on spectra, Ryoji Ikeda’s monumental beacon, to mark the winter solstice.
Are we out of the woods yet, are we out of the woods?
- On Saturday 22 June at 7:42 am, shiver, shrivel and turn all of your cheeks a little bit blue at the Nude Solstic Swim, Long Beach, Sandy Bay.
- Visit Japanese artist Saeborg’s latex wonderland, featuring giant pigs and an inflatable, technicolour farmyard, in the old Avalon Theatre.
- Towards a Black Square: Watch a live feed of a blindfolded Mike Parr in an undisclosed location, navigating a bare gallery space with brush and black paint. The location will later be opened as a temporary exhibition.
- At the Black Temple Gallery, worship icons of love, sex and excess in a technicolour chapel at Paul Yore’s It’s All Wrong But It’s Alright.
- is a rotten mess of performance, installation and video works at the Old Hobart Blood Bank & Merchant Store, exploring transformation, exchange, and currency. ompo$t
- The Aftermath Dislocation Principle: Outside Hobart Town Hall, peer through observation ports cut into a forty-foot shipping container. Discover a vast landscape in miniature: a desolate, mythical English town in the aftermath of a riot.
You know nothing.
- Dark + Dangerous Thoughts: has identity become our new religion? Chat with one of the speakers over lunch and drinks in Breaking Bread. Also, Lauren Winzer can give you a tattoo from a flash card.
- TMAG’s major new exhibition by Tasmanian Aboriginal artist Julie Gough, Tense Past, is an interrogation of colonialism and its impact on Tasmania’s first people—then and now.
- Confessions: divulge your secrets and sins to the artist, Tony Albert. Presented alongside select works from the past decade, and recent collaborations with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.
- Patrick Hall’s If They Should Accidentally Fall is an intimate installation of bottled faces, whispering and illuminated, at Narryna Heritage Museum.
- How can the dead help the living? Forensic pathologist Roger Byard delivers the UTAS Arthur Cobbold Memorial Lecture, Lessons from the Mortuary.
- A conversation between musician and composer Warren Ellis (Dirty Three, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Grinderman) and Zan Rowe from Double J. A live recording of Double J’s Take 5 radio segment and podcast.
It’s a party
Dress to excess. [Tickets selling fast]
- Altar is a temple of live music, in the heart of the city, opening at Dark Mofo and continuing beyond. Altar will showcase a curated mix of emerging and established artists, including Briggs, Lonnie Holley, Phurpa, and Author & Punisher.
- Prowl the Night Mass nocturnal neighbourhood, featuring artists from all over the world: 208L Containers, Empress Of, FAKA, Gabber Modus Operandi, IC3PEAK, Junglepussy, Mallrat, Sampa The Great, Teto Preto, Via Sao Paulo, and many more.
- Head-bang the night away at Hymns to the Dead, featuring Mystifier, Dragged into Sunlight, Funebrarum, Zhrine, and Heresiarch. Your mum would shake her head and mutter ‘devil music’.
- Laterne By Berlin Atonal: Two big nights of high-concept and audio-visual artistry, curated by the German capital’s advanced music festival.
- Natty Waves: Cruise the icy river aboard a floating natural wine and food bar.
At the Salamanca Art Centre
I can’t quite put my finger on it.
- The Inbetween celebrates liminal spaces and the undefinable. Featuring The Irresistible: an award-winning, unsettling play about memory, desire and depravity, in the spirit of Twin Peaks and Stranger Things.
- CORONAL MASS is an electrically-charged wave of sound, transcribing the patterns of solar wind and the Aurora Australis.
- Beware of Imposters: The Secret Life of Flowers contemplates the fate of an ‘endling’ orchid, the last of its species found only in a rural Tasmanian cemetery.
- The Van Diemonians: A Catalogue of Hobartian Mythology reimagines Tasmanian mythology through local stories.
Fire up the old projector.
- The silent German horror film Der Golem (1920) will screen at the Hobart Town Hall, with an original live score performed by Berlin-based electronic producer and sound artist, Lucrecia Dalt.
Music to my ears. (All selling fast, so get on it.)
- Against All Logic (aka electronic artist Nicolás Jaar) presents a rapturous night of distorted house, funk, and soul.
- Nicolás Jaar & Group perform instrumental new music, with saxophonist Mette Henriette, pianist Johan Lindavall, and Hamlet Nazaretyan and Ivane Mkirtichyan on the traditional Armenian duduk.
- FKA twigs performs new genre-bending music and artistry.
- Sigur Rós singer Jónsi Birgisson and film composer Alex Somers, together with the TSO, present a rare live performance of their debut album Riceboy Sleeps.
- Sharon Van Etten and band will perform dreamy rock and brooding pop songs from her new album, Remind Me Tomorrow.
- Candlemass, Sweden’s doom metal masters, perform in Australia for the first time ever.
- Instrumental rock maestros, Dirty Three, perform their eponymous debut album in full.
- John Grant will perform synth-pop and electro-ballads of love and tragedy from his new album, Love is Magic.
- serpentwithfeet + Kelsey Lu present an electronic melodrama of R&B, gospel, pop, lust and devotion, with classical/dream-pop cello alchemy.
- KiKu featuring Blixa Bargeld + Black Cracker: A Swiss electro-jazz trio, an industrial noise pioneer, and a New York rapper.
- Goth-rock changeling Anna Calvi turns to pop noir, with new music from her latest album, Hunter.
- Electronic, orchestral-infused art pop from Hobart-based sonic and literary maven Adam Ouston, premiering Costume‘s debut album, Pan.
- Revered junkyard artist and visionary musician Lonnie Holley sings and improvises to make sense of a troubled America.
- Roger Eno performs haunting and sparse piano compositions.
- Indie-rock darlings Augie March will ruminate on corruption and ambition.
- Mette Henritte, Trondheim’s celebrated saxophonist and composer, experiments between classical and jazz.
- Harpist Mary Lattimore + composer Julianna Barwick perform with layered choral symphonies, a forty-seven-string harp, synths and otherworldly vocals.
- Van Diemen’s Band presents baroque orchestral meditations on mortality and sin, juxtaposed with new works by Icelandic composer Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir. Featuring soprano Lotte Betts-Dean.
Let’s experiment, darling.
- Phurpa: Moscow’s underground collective conjures rituals of ambient droning, shamanic rites and Tantric chanting, with traditional Tibetan throat singing.
- Author & Punisher: One man and his grim mechanical instruments unleash industrial doom, drone and noise, exploding the boundary between human and machine.
- Borderlands: Subject your body and mind to the intensities of sound, courtesy of this curated selection of experimental music makers. Featuring Stephen O’Malley, Kusum Normoyle, Lucy Railton, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Joe Talia + Eiko Ishibashi, and The Sheer Frost Orchestra.
- Liminal Soundbath: Lie down in a massive, haze-filled chamber and submit yourself to a blissed-out ritual of ambient sound, performed live by Jónsi Birgisson and Alex Somers.
- Blixa Bargeld reunites with Italian composer Teho Teardo to subvert classical instruments with electronic experimentation.
See the full program for more info (and to buy tickets).
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