First arts line up announced for Dark Mofo 2016

Winter solstice festival Dark Mofo will return to Hobart this June to greet the colder months with fire, art, music, food, film, and more, and we’ve finally got our first look at how this year’s event will be shaped. The midwinter festival brings visitors from all over Australia and abroad to be a part of the large-scale cultural pandemonium, which lasts for 11 days, from 10th to 21st June.

Dark Mofo will run across a number of new spaces across Hobart’s waterfront; from Salamanca Place to Dark Park at Macquarie Point; at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; up river to Mona; and further, to the historic Willow Court in New Norfolk.

The two week program will include performances and exhibitions that showcase the work of artists in a broad range of art forms and will this year work in collaboration with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) on a number of initiatives inspired by deeply Tasmanian themes and ideas. Creative Director Leigh Carmichael says “It’s our belief that Tasmania cannot achieve its winter tourism potential without TMAG, so we are very pleased to partner with them on this upcoming exhibition.”

Some highlights from the program include the Asylum installation Willow Court in the Derwent Valley, in which the seminal Australian performance artist Mike Parr will create works in response to the site of an historic mental institution dating from 1827. Asylum will occupy different buildings including The Barracks, “C Block” (former “Male Maximum Security Ward for the Criminally Insane”), “Allonah” (former “Female Maximum Security Ward for the Criminally Insane”), and the Occupational Therapy Block, with video, sound, photos, objects, and an interactive piece.

Asylum includes Entry by Mirror Only, an exclusive 72-hour performance from Thursday 9 June to Sunday 12 June in the “Allonnah” ward, in which Parr will be drawing for the duration, or as much as possible. The site will be open to visitors 24 hours a day during this time. The cost of admission to the site during the performance is a mirror, of any kind, to be left behind.

In week two, the ogoh-ogohs return for the communal Purging of fears throughout the festival. Guests are invited to write their fears down on paper and sacrifice them to a giant demon at the Winter Feast. It’s a family-friendly ritual building up to a procession across the docks to Dark Park, and the Burning on the solstice night. (The Purging: Wednesday 15 – Saturday 18 June, free. The Burning: Sunday 19 June, 5pm, Winter Feast PW1/Dark Park, Macquarie Point, free).

The festival will end with the Nude Solstice Swim, after the longest night of the year on Tuesday 21 June at 7.42am at Long Beach, Sandy Bay. The Solstice Swim is a contemporary ritual enacted as the sun rises, to welcome back the light. People shed their inhibitions with their clothes and brace themselves for a new year. It’s not a spectator sport – it’s a rite of passage, and a lot of fun. “O heavy lightness! Serious vanity!” – Romeo. (Free; register online).

More ticketed events announced include:

  • Our Time – United Visual Artists (UVA, UK) This London-based collective creates a grid of pendulums, suspended in a huge warehouse, and set into unified motion. Mind your head. (Free).
  • Bodystorm – Grupo EmpreZa (Brazil)
    This bracing Brazilian performative group will create a physical installation inspired by sandstorms, tornadoes and other windy phenomena. (Free)
  • THUNDERHEAD – Tina Havelock Stevens
    You may know her as ‘White Drummer’, performing in the waters off Little Frying Pan Island near Mona. Here, Havelock Stevens will drum up some apocalyptic meteorological drama with an improvised one-off live response to a video of the perfect storm along Highway 54 in Texas. (Free).
  • The Cloud – Patrick Hall
    The artist who created Mona’s “I love you” drawers (When My Heart Stops Beating, 2011) celebrates our brief time here with hundreds of illuminated faces hanging overhead in bottles, weeping into a thin skim of water on the ground below. (Free).
  • Anemographs, 2016 – Cameron Robbins
    Complementing his Mona exhibition, Field Lines, Robbins’ ephemeral LED light drawings will transcribe the patterns of the wind. (Free).
  • House of Mirrors – Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney
    An elaborate chamber of kaleidoscopic reflections create a disorientating installation in which to lose yourself—and your friends. (Door sales $10).
  • Divination – Nancy Mauro-Flude
    A thirties-era DaDa cabaret crossed with cypherpunk internet café, peopled by talkbots and other data-driven non-humans. (Maiden voyage: Friday 10 June, 7pm. Register for the event in advance: Installation continues until Sunday 19 June, 5-10pm. Free).
  • The Labyrinth – Mayonaize
    An experience that will morph and evolve throughout the festival in a joint project between calligraphic Melbourne street artist Mayonaize and Richmond Maze. (Door sales $10).
  • A Galaxy of Suns – Michaela Gleave & Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Chorus
    Constellations are transcribed into scores, as members of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Chorus sing the stars with lead artist Michaela Gleave, composer Amanda Cole and programmer Warren Armstrong. (Friday 10 + Saturday 11 June, 5pm, Free. Exhibition ongoing).

During the festival MONA will be hosting their major winter exhibition, Field Lines by Cameron Robbins, which features mechanical instruments used to create artworks from the natural elements, including new site-specific works responding to the museum’s location.

Tickets for the festival are on sale from 11am Monday 11 April AEDT. To purchase tickets, full program details or for more information on the festival, see

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