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How to Plan for Dark Mofo 2017

Tickets for Mona's annual winter solstice festival are on sale today—here's what to look out for.

It's time to start seriously planning your Tasmanian winter pilgrimage, because tickets for Dark Mofo are on sale today. Creators and VICE are proudly partnering with the annual solstice festival for another year, with 2017's festivities taking place around Hobart and the grounds of Mona between June 8-21.

That adds up to about two weeks worth of subversive art installations and music performances —so whether you're heading down for a weekend or hunkering down in Hobart for the long haul you'll need to allocate your time wisely. Here's what not to miss.


Mike Parr

Mike Parr is probably Australia's most provocative and compelling performance artist, and his inclusion in the Mofo lineup makes perfect sense—he's a pretty dark guy. Case in point: last year, Parr installed his work on the grounds of a former mental asylum. There were, amongst other things, large buckets of human urine involved. In 2017 he will return with a new performance that promises to be similarly confronting, although organisers are remaining tightlipped on the details. What we do know is that the event will take place at 2.30AM on Monday, June 12, somewhere in Hobart. Something terrifying and possibly quite disgusting is going to happen, and you want to be there.

A Massive Laser Show

You've seen lasers before, but never like this. As part of Dark Park, Mofo's massive outdoor "public art playground" which features immersive and interactive works by art collectives from all over the world, UK-based light artist Chris Levine is set to light up Hobart with a sprawling technicolor laser show called iy_project 136.1 Hz. 10m high lasers will shoot into the night sky, crowning the city with shimmering colour. It's all going down from 5pm-10pm on June 9-June 11 and June 15-17. For a sneak peak, have a look at Levine's sprawling light work hovering over the city of Hastings here.

Pagan Rituals

Swim naked in a river! Write down all your deepest fears and burn them in a fire! Be silent for a day! Go to Church and worship the Gods of video art while a pipe organ plays in the background! Listen to feminist punk at a pop-up private nightclub! Over the years, the curators of Dark Mofo have come up with a number of weird and wonderful traditions that keep participants coming back. We're particularly fond of the nude solstice swim, which marks the end of the festival at sunrise on Wednesday June 21—it's a spectacle worth sticking around for.


Creepy Sirens

The tone for this year's Mofo will be set by Siren Song: 550 loud speakers which sound at sunrise and sunset on each day of the festival, blaring "feminine incantations" from artists like Tanya Tagaq and Carolyn Connors throughout Hobart. The broadcast plays with ideas of patriarchal authority and control, and is also a fun way to signal the beginning and end of Mofo's daytime festivities. After all, the atmosphere of the festival changes completely as night falls—that's part of what makes it so much fun.

Winter Hymns

The music lineup of this year's Dark Mofo takes the festival's winter solstice theme to new levels. You want dark, creeping atmosphere? Try Xiu Xiu playing the music of Twin Peaks, or a one-night multi-band metal fest, or a performance of John Cage's 4'33, or industrial noise veterans Einsturzende Neubaten playing 37 years' worth of their music in the exquisite surrounds of the Odeon Theatre. Dark Mofo is definitely the time to try something new—if you want an education in Norwegian black metal, Ulver are playing on the night of Thursday June 17 with some help from the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.


Dark Mofo is as good a time as any to enjoy the strange collections of Museum of Old and New Art. Founded by millionaire David Walsh, Mona is home to cutting edge work from some of the world's leading contemporary artists, juxtaposed with historical artefacts and antiquities. A new show curated by The Museum of Everything opens during the festival, on Saturday June 10. It promises "an astonishing assortment of artworks from the world's first and only wandering institution," and we can't imagine it won't deliver.


Winter Feast

Hobart in June: very cold. The only solution is to sit around drinking hot cider by an open fire, enjoying a hearty meal (we also recommend wearing several layers of clothing). Mofo's nightly banquet, the winter feast, is the place to be as darkness falls by the wharf. You can dine either dine outside, huddled around the aforementioned pit fires, or indoors on long Hogwarts-style tables. Expect over-the-top red neon decor and plenty of candles. The winter feast continues every night of the festival, and if you're dedicated to gastronomy you'll buy a season pass for priority entry into the hall.

Tickets for Dark Mofo 2017 are on sale now. Find out more about the festival lineup here.


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