Hosted by the Museum of Old and New Art to revel in the winter solstice, this icy sibling to January's MONA FOMA is a brazen, hearty and all-embracing artistic feast with more than a nod to pagan notions of staving off the darkness.
Art, music, food, light, fire and noise are all celebrated and Dark Mofo is at once challenging, disturbing, exciting and enlightening. The festival lies in search of "unchartered territory and new experiences", and with 250 national and international artists, a new festival precinct and a fair chunk of Australian exclusives, Dark Mofo 2015 is not to be missed.
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The eclectic music program will once again be hosted in Hobart's historic Odeon Theatre, with transgender performer Antony and the Johnsons and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, British art-pop collective The Irrepressibles, Japanoise-maker EYE, genre-bending Seattle rocker King Dude, Arkansas metalheads Pallbearer, sludge metal band The Body, The Drones frontman and founder Gareth Liddiard, as well as Melbourne guitar rockers My Disco, odd pop from Hobart's Tiger Choir, smoky chillwave from Melbourne's Klo, and Oz rock heavyweights The Preatures.
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A new feature for 2015 will be Dark Park, a precinct at Hobart's harbourside Macquarie Point hosting large public artworks and the Fire Organ, a project by German chemo-acoustic engineer Bastiaan Maris and producer Duckpond. Also appearing will be Night Ship, set to lurk around the River Derwent throughout the Dark Mofo. Festival-goers are warned they'll hear Night Ship coming - creepy much?
Coddle the dark foodie within with the Winter Feast - extended this year to five nights of lusty indulgence. Delight in music, fire, and food from chefs Martin Boetz, O Tama Carey, Jake Kellie, Mike McEnearney, Sean Moran and the Mona Source restaurant team. Audiences will be treated to the world premiere of the drama TV series The Kettering Incident, shot south of Hobart.
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Dark Mofo Films will intrigue with the Tasmanian premiere of Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson's A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting on Existence (winner, Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival 2014), complemented by a retrospective series of dark Nordic folkloric films.
Theatre buffs and virgins alike will be treated with The Rabble Theatre Company's hallucinatory rework of Virginia Woolfe's gender-bending, time-travelling novel Orlando. Roald Dahl's disturbing The Witches will be playing for the young at heart.
Dark Mofo visual arts highlights are plentiful and start with internationally acclaimed light artist Anthony McCall (whose work is currently at the MCA as part of Light Show), presenting two works at the Dark Park and a third visible from the Hobart waterfront. Life and art partners Patricia 'Skywhale' Piccinini and Peter Hennessey's will also present their latest offering, The Shadows Calling, at Hobart's latest cultural space, Detached.
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My pick of the don't-miss indulge-your-dark-side participatory events of the 250-plus available that week? Here goes...
- Blacklist - a late night, ceremonial death dance curated by Supple Fox and Duckpond, and June 12-13 and 18-20.
- Private Archaeology, internationally-acclaimed artist Marina Abramović's major retrospective exhibition and MONA's new major exhibition (coinciding with Dark Mofo), opening on June 13.
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- Wild at Heart - the ultimate Dark Mofo adventure, a two night immersive art experience sleepover at Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park on June 15-17.
- Nude Solstice Swim - an annual tradition attracting more than 700 brave souls into the brisk River Derwent at sunrise on June 22.
Tickets are on sale now, visit darkmofo.net.au for more info.