MC’s Guide to Dark Mofo


You’ve got your plane tickets to Dark Mofo, destination Hobart.

You’ve packed your party pants and then the pants you’re going to sadly wear over the top of them, thanks to South Pole wind blasts. You’ve attempted to navigate the extensive lineup of shows, gigs, films, art, and all the other weird shit Dark Mofo has on offer, and you’ve decided that you’ll sort it all out once you get down there. But you won’t, and we have, so here’s a very solid rundown of both free and ticketed events you should pencil in for your weekend of sin. Let’s get stuck in.

Lou Reed Drones

How’s your hearing? Good. Lou Reed Drones is an installation featuring the Velvet Underground frontman’s very own collection of guitars and amps in feedback mode. The 24 strings are activated by magnetic cones, unleashing cascading and colliding waves of feedback that’ll get inside your brain like no headache the morning after a night spent on boxed white wine will. Time spent with the instruments that helped shape the future of rock music is time well spent, in our humble opinion.

Head here for opening hours. 

Terra Nullius by Soda_Jerk

If you’ve ever watched 13-minute pop culture mashup The Was (and if you haven’t go watch it here right now), you’ll know exactly who Soda_Jerk are. The sisters behind the moniker, Dan and Dominique Angeloro, have returned with feature-length film Terra Nullius, on show all week at Dark Mofo. Out to tamper with the history books, Terra Nullius is a “blistering, badly behaved sample-based film that confronts the horror of our contemporary moment.” Thanks to the duo’s rendering prowess and encyclopaedic knowledge of pop culture, you’ll find Pauline Hanson alongside of Mick Dundee and Sandy from Grease immersed in Mad Max, all woven into a piece of work controversial enough for the Ian Potter Foundation (the trust that donated $100,000 of funding towards the project), to withdraw their support on the eve of its release. (Apparently when they gave out a paycheque to aid in the creation of a “politically engaged work”, they weren’t really expecting to ruffle feathers.) See what all the fuss is about, free screenings daily.

Saturday 16–Sunday 24 June, 1pm, 2.30pm, 4pm + 5.30pm

Photo by Maclay Heriot

Red Bull Music Presents Jagwar Ma

If Red Bull Music have proved one thing over the past couple of years at Dark Mofo, it’s that they know how to curate one hell of a lineup. They’ve called upon Aussie genre-bending aficionados Jagwar Ma to make their first performance of 2018 a headline slot down in Tassie, and it looks set to blow your head right off. While temperatures plunge outside the warehouse doors, support acts Tornado Wallace, NO ZU and Lauren Hansom will be warming up the stage for the boys from Jagwar Ma, helped along by the insane light show courtesy of visual artist Jim Warrior. A guaranteed top pick for your Saturday night, that’ll happily see you through to your Sunday morning.

Saturday 16 June, 7pm. Get tickets here.

Mike Parr – Under the Bitumen the Artist

Ha, fooled ya. You can’t even technically see this one, aside from some recently disturbed bitumen in Hobart’s main hub. Dark Mofo’s characteristically controversial art piece this year comes via artist Mike Parr, whose work often involves self-mutilation such as sewing his lips shut, hacking off his prosthetic arm filled with raw mince meat and blood in front of an audience and nailing his arm to a wall. Bet he’s fun at parties.

His work, Under the Bitumen the Artist, will see him spending 72 hours in a purpose-built tomb, where he’ll have a fan forced air supply, water but no food, and a stool for meditation. The road and the container will then be relaid with bitumen for the entire three days, and filled in with concrete after Parr has been unearthed from the installation. The work aims to draw attention to “the victims of twentieth-century totalitarian violence in all of its ideological forms, including the shadow cast by the genocidal violence of nineteenth century British colonialism in Australia.” Shout out to Dark Mofo for cooling it on the dead cow disembowelments this year, because that’s something this precious little flower wouldn’t have had the guts for.

Thursday 14 June, 9pm–Sunday 17 June, 9pm  Macquarie Street, in front of Hobart Town Hall

Night Mass

For the uninitiated, Night Mass is a culmination of pretty much everything we’re not allowed to do in Sydney, such as have fun when the sun goes down. The late night party precinct features 100 artists performing across five venues, above and below the earth’s crust, connected by an inner-city laneway. Artworks, performances, liturgical raves, and more await those who’re game, and quick enough to bag tickets to one of Dark Mofo’s most popular events.

Get your tickets here. 

St Vincent

Experimental pop masterpieces that travel between melancholic and vibrant is what St. Vincent is known for, and if you’re going to cough up the dollars for a ticket this Dark Mofo, you could do a lot worse than Annie Clark. She’s doesn’t come this side of the hemisphere all that often, and what better place to catch her than in the clandestine hallways of the dark south.

Friday 15 June, 8pm (doors 7pm). Get tickets here

Waterborne – French & Mottershead

Because Tasmania is the closest part of Australia to Antartica, and Dark Mofo is held in the deepest, darkest slice of winter, what could possibly be better than an open-air boat ride down the River Derwent? Added bonus is the audio meditation from UK duo French and Mottershead on the process of a human body decaying and dissolving in water, as it gently floats out to the sea. If you’ve ever wanted to know in minute detail what happens to your body once you’ve vacated the premises, this is for you. Probably don’t do this one after a big night out.

Get your tickets here. 

ZERO at MONA

“It was essentially a filler but a bloody good filler, I have to say, because an exhibition got cancelled because the artist was an arsehole.” That’s how MONA owner David Welsh referred to ZERO, the exhibition coming to the hallowed halls of Tasmania’s best museum in time for Dark Mofo. After first trying to find out who this arsehole is that bailed on one of our country’s finest art institutions, we’ll be heading to MONA to catch the work of artists such as Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, Günther Uecker, Yayoi Kusama, Nanda Vigo, Yves Klein, Marcel Duchamp and Lucio Fontana. A visit to Tasmania wouldn’t be complete without a visit to MONA, and that sentence right there’s straight outta the guidebooks.

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