Dark Mofo 2019 Round-Up
Written by Anabel Dean
We’d like to tell you about last week’s exclusive Culture Scouts visit to The Detached Artist Archive collection during the Dark Mofo Festival in Hobart but it’s still pretty hush-hush.
Arts patron Penny Clive has, unbeknown to most Australians, been transforming the old Mercury newspaper building into a collectors masterpiece and Culture Scouts were the first public group to be guided through the collection that, until now, has only been seen by a handful of art insiders and VIP guests.
None of us expected to walk into a room and find Chiharu Shiota’s extraordinary Venice biennale sensation The Key in the Hand; or Patricia Piccinini’s strangely transcendent World of Love. Nor did we expect to get so close and personal with the provocative works of Mike Parr and Ben Quilty and Shaun Gladwell.
Dark Mofo is all about getting lost, pushing boundaries and finding enlightenment. We threw ourselves into it on the first night at the iconic Winterfeast - a banquet under red cross illuminations on Salamanca Bay - sharing friendly platters of food and wine around fire pits, then striding out for the four-kilometre art trail known as Dark Path.
We were ready for anything in the inner city bushland around the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens where there were strange sights to behold at multiple venues (including the Domain, the old Zoo, The Queen Victoria Powder Magazine and the Regatta grounds). We all had moments of delight, disquiet and awe in a selection of works: Julie Gough’s standout memorial installation to missing or dead Aboriginal children; a giant Tesla coil electrical display by American researcher Greg Leyh; an experimental sound and light installation by Chris Henschke; and the freaky film works in plant houses around the gardens (by Grace Herbert, Paul Murphy and Sawtooth ARI).
Another day, another landmark, another way to get lost with champagne and canapés in the private ‘Posh Pit’ of a ferry bound for MONA (the celebrated art and culture museum on the banks of the Derwent River).
We were thrilled to discover the newly unveiled latest stage of the largest privately funded museum in the Southern Hemisphere was a $27 million extension (called Siloam) with its network of underground tunnels and secluded art spaces. It’s another jewel (housing works by Alfredo Jaar, Ai Weiwei and Christopher Townend) that was years in the making.
The tunnel is said to take you somewhere you don’t want to go but you can’t say that about the swanky Source restaurant or Morilla winery. Our time as diners and sippers provided a moment of respite – while igniting some pretty good conversation – amidst all that crazy cultural investigation.
There was more of everything throughout our curated weekend away but we can’t tell you anymore now. You’ll have to come with us next year to experience Tasmania’s marvellous Dark Mofo winter festival for yourself.
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