11 Jun Dark Mofo 2023 Tasmania
Dark Mofo 2023 has been my first experience with this winter festival in Hobart, Tasmania. Something that I have been wondering as I have been wandering around the festival is what does Mofo stand for in Dark Mofo? If you have ever wanted to know the answer to that question too, here it is:
Mona Foma, stylised as MONA FOMA (an acronym for Museum of Old and New Art: Festival of Music and Art, often further shortened to MOFO) is an annual music and arts festival held in January in Tasmania, Australia, curated by Violent Femmes member Brian Ritchie.
Winter Feast 2023
My first engagement with the festival was walking down the stairs from Battery Point to Salamanca, and seeing the lights and fireworks of the Winter Feast installation. Outside this space, with no audience, but a microphone was a man who was proselytising about the fact that anyone who engages with this festival will be damned eternally; and despite the advertisement of the Night Mass on the festival lineup, I wasn’t aware that it would be quite the satanic worship fest!
I don’t mind particularly. As I am not religious. But it is a little confronting at times, with some challenging concepts. And all the red crosses everywhere (they were once installed upside down, but one of the controversies of Dark Mofo were banned from future festivals).
It definitely feels like a feast of the senses though. And what gorgeous spaces they have curated.
It is bloody freezing of course, but what can you expect from winter in Hobart? I feel like I haven’t experienced cold weather like this before (I have). And stepping out of any warm space, into the icy, windy and wet evening is definitely a shock to the system.
The sights and sounds of Dark Mofo 2023
I have been enjoying the art at Dark Mofo 2023. The Dark Park was a wonderfully, eerie set of light installations that left me feeling very unholy. But my adventure is only just beginning. Dark Mofo 2023 has only just begun, and I have two more days of it! There is another whole week of the festival to go!
It was easy to find healthy food at both MONA and the Winter Feast. I got a flatbread from Flamecake. It was absolutely delicious and easy to digest. One of the hardest things I think about travelling is eating foods that don’t make you feel sick for hours afterwards.
I loved the Twist exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum. They have done a really amazing job there, and it is a fascinating place to spend some time. Especially cosied up over winter!
Lot’s of free stuff to do
The best part of the festival is being in Hobart and feeling like there is all this free stuff to do and see if you run out of activities. It only runs until Sunday night though, so we will have to entertain ourselves in other ways tomorrow.
Dark Mofo 2023 was a wonderful initiation into this lovely winter institution. It has been expensive and I have spent way too much money, but that is what makes the free exhibitions all the more worth it.
Hobart has a lot of character. Centred around piers on the River Derwent, the city is quite sophisticated for a city of its size. The organisers were expecting 100,000 ticket sales to Dark Mofo 2023 and 25,000 visitors from interstate. From talking to some of the people who live there, Hobart does need that kind of economic ‘boost’, so it was good to visit and partake in the festival this year!