Dark Mofo 2019 program | ‘Within a forest dark’

From 6 to 23 June Dark Mofo will illuminate the darkest Hobart nights with a bold program of art, music, feasting and annual contemporary rituals.

This year Mona’s winter festival will build in intensity, offering major new art and music precincts around the city of Hobart and beyond, showcasing everything from virtual reality, radioactive art and deafening noise to experimental pop, electro-ballads, cult black metal, and a whole lot more, leading up to the solstice night, and a return to the light.

Andrew Hustwaite, M E T A. Photograph: Antipode Danse Tanz. Courtesy the artist and Dark Mofo

Dark Mofo launches into the June long weekend, with the four-day Dark + Dangerous Thoughts symposium examining identity politics, and major art exhibitions opening across the city.

Associate Artistic Director Jarrod Rawlins said: ‘An important point of difference for Dark Mofo is the scale and quality of its visual art program, and the reach this program has across age groups and demographics.’

‘We need to create an experience of a safe but unexpected nature, something that is not designed to shock you, but is definitely designed to poke gently at your curiosity and life experiences. It is designed to make you wonder, in moments that are unfamiliar, unconventional, and unexpected, combined with moments that are simply beautiful and fun.’

Associate Creative Director Hannah Fox said: ‘It seems we have put together the most unlikely program we could have dreamt up—it just evolved that way. Intentionally or otherwise, the artists in our seventh festival have become connected through emerging themes of simulated, mediated and real violence, extinction and the supernatural.’

Julie Gough, Tense Past – Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Locus, 2006. Courtesy the artist, TMAG and Dark Mofo

Visual art highlights:

Mike Parr returns with a new work disorientated by Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square (1915). In ‘Towards A Black Square’, the audience will witness a live video feed on Friday 7 June at The Old Mercury Building, of a performance featuring a blindfolded Parr in an undisclosed location, navigating a bare gallery space with brush and black paint. The location will later be revealed and open as an exhibition for a short time from 8 to 16 June, before the walls are painted out and returned to their original state.

Tasmanian Aboriginal artist Julie Gough questions and re-evaluates colonial history and the impact of colonisation on Tasmania’s first people—then and now. As well as including some of the best artworks from Gough’s oeuvre, ‘Tense Past’ presents new and site-specific artworks that engage with artefacts from major collections from across the country. On show from 7 June to 3 November 2019.

Paul Yore, It’s All Wrong But It’s Alright. Courtesy the artist and Dark Mofo

Paul Yore’s colourful soft-sculptural works will turn DarkLab’s deconsecrated church into a technicolour chapel of worship for Dolly Parton, Justin Bieber, and other icons of love, sex and excess in ‘It’s All Wrong But It’s Alright’ at the Black Temple Gallery from 7 to 9 and 12 to 16 June.

Tony Albert turns an urban conceptual eye on political, historical, and cultural Aboriginal and Australian history. ‘Confessions’ is a new interactive art commission from the artist who was raised Catholic, alongside iconic works from the past decade, new commissions, and recent collaborations with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. On show at Contemporary Art Tasmania from 6 June to 14 July.

Saeborg, Slaughterhouse. Courtesy the artist and Dark Mofo, Tasmania

A latex wonderland inside an old theatre dreamt up by Japanese artist Saeborg with her self-made Kawaii kink craft. A giant pig gives birth in Pigpen to a litter of scrambling, human-sized piglets, desperate to suckle and feed. Nearby, livestock cavort around an inflatable, technicolour farmyard in Slaughterhouse-15, and act out a demented circle of life. On show 12 to 16 and 19 to 23 June at Avalon Theatre.

Australian artist Michael Candy uses kinetic technologies to impart systems on ecology and society. The insect-like robot Cryptid will be creeping and clicking its way around the building.

A live performance of endurance and transformation inspired by the mythological Tiresias, the blind prophet of Thebes who was changed from a man into a woman for seven years. The body of Canadian artist Cassils will press up against the back of a neoclassical male torso carved from ice, which—through body heat—will slowly melt away.

Cassils, Tiresias / Heather Cassils, Tiresias, 2013. Photograph: Alison Kelly. Courtesy the artists and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

An industrial vacuum pump sucks at empty oil drums, causing them to implode at random in Eric Demetriou’s ‘Bunghole’.

Contemplate the fate of an ‘endling’ orchid, the last of its species found only in a rural Tasmanian cemetery, via an immersive sculptural installation, Beware of Imposters (The Secret Life of Flowers) by Selena de Carvahlo. Entry limited to one person at a time.

Spin, push, turn and climb a series of geometric machines, devices, and kinetic sculptures, as historic Rosny Barn becomes a risky, anarchic playground of Melbourne artist Andrew Hustwaite’s design. Featuring an excerpt of META rituals by Swiss dancer and choreographer Nicole Morel from 1 to 30 June.

Mona will also open the doors to a new subterranean tunnel leading to exhibition chambers featuring Ai Weiwei, Oliver Beer, Alfredo Jaar and Chris Townend.

Full program can be found here.