I recently attended the Dark Mofo Festival in Hobart, Tasmania, held in the darkness of a Tasmanian winter. This annual event is organised by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and offers a charismatic mix of art, music, food, and fresh culture. The festival takes place against the stunning backdrop of Hobart, and every year; the organisers create a mesmerising tableau that merges contemporary and ancient elements.
The festival is well-known for its impressive lineup of local and international artists who showcase installations and performances that challenge the everyday and banal. Despite its gothic appearance, the artists’ radiant creativity offers a striking contrast
One of the festival’s highlights was the ‘Procession of the Dead,’ a thrilling nocturnal parade inspired by the medieval tradition of Danse Macabre. This performance combined the solemn symbolism of mortality with the celebration of life, illuminated by the eerie glow of crimson crosses that pierced through the winter darkness and a giant burning platypus. The spectacle was a powerful reminder of Dark Mofo’s appreciation for paradoxes.
However, it’s worth mentioning that Dark Mofo is not for the faint-hearted. The festival pushes boundaries with provocative themes and bold displays that may discomfort those who identify with the banal. Yet, this is precisely what makes the festival so charming. It’s an audacious yet introspective journey that forces us to question, react, and ponder the limits of our comfort zones. Music, the soulful undercurrent of the festival, vibrates with a wild mix of electronic, experimental, classical, and metal genres, genuinely celebrating the eclectic nature of the festival. The city of Hobart becomes a living gallery, with art installations and performances spreading across its streets, alleys, and waterfront. Even the majestic River Derwent hosts the festival’s signature winter solstice event, the Nude Solstice Swim, a chilly dip saluting resilience and renewal.