A World Apart: Dark MOFO, 2017

[posted 6th June, 2016]

This year’s Dark MOFO runs from 8th to 21st June, and will be loosely based around the theme of “silence”. We are promised  “New Wonders, New Horrors”.

Here are some of the participants.


Feminist punk collective Pussy Riot will come to a screening of the documentary Act and Punishment, by Evgeny Mitta, and participate in a Q and A session afterwards.

There will be a sound project, Siren Song by Byron J Scullin and Supple Fox. This will be broadcast across the city at sunrise and sunset each day from 550 loudspeakers, installed around the Hobart waterfront. Images of the speakers can be seen on Scullin’s Twitter account and webpage.


In past years, Dark MOFO has featured light installations around Hobart’s waterfront.

Tasmania MONA Dark MOFO Purple sky sml
by Alice Hansen via Tourism Tasmania


This year Dark Park will host an installation by Chris Levine, a Canadian light artist based in the UK, in which technicolour lasers will reach 10km into the air, accompanied by immersive sound.  iy_project 136.1 Hz, will be housed in an empty warehouse, with laser holograms forming floating structures of light, accompanied by sound at a frequency that is claimed to resonate with both humans and celestial bodies.

In his art, Levine seeks to create a collective experience that is immersive and transformative. He explores the nature of light and its effect on our sense of being, taking inspiration from his practice of meditation. In other words, he considers his work to have a spiritual dimension. Read more at Chris Levine’s website  or an article in Wallpaper magazine.

Alfredo Jaar

The Sound of Silence is an installation piece by Chilean-born artist, Alfredo Jaar, which will be exhibited at Dark Park over the two weekends. It is based around a searingly disturbing image of a tiny, starving Sudanese girl, and tells the story of the photographer, Kevin Carter, who eventually took his own life.

Jaar’s work confronts us, in the most wrenching way, with desperately sad facts and stories, but also challenges us with the problem of the image in our contemporary image-saturated world.

“We are bombarded by thousands of images … I believe that we have lost the ability to see and be moved by images.” Alfredo Jaar, in an interview with Pat Binder and Gerhard Haupt.


Jaar’s work often focuses on military conflict, corruption and globalisation. He uses photographs, video, neon signs and constructed elements.

“There is a huge gap between reality and its possible representations, and that gap is impossible to close. So as artists we have to try different strategies of representation.” Alfredo Jaar on Art21’s program about the work “The Silence of Nduwayezu”

For Jaar, each image we confront presents an idea, a curated conception of the world, a new “reality” carefully constructed by the image’s producer.

 “I am suspicious and disillusioned about the uses and misuses of photography in the art world, the press, and the world of entertainment. And to make things more complicated, I don’t think that the general public is well educated regarding images. Generally, we are taught how to read, but we are not taught how to look.”

Jaar in “The Aesthetics of Witnessing”.



This year will feature Norwegian black metal band, Ulver.



“Don’t be afraid, it’s only music” Ulver Facebook Page

There will be  Scottish art-rock band or “post-rock” band, Mogwai, and German industrial band, or experimental “pioneers of industrial noise”, Einstürzende Neubauten.

Einstürzende Neubauten.


US experimental ensemble Xiu Xiu will perform the soundtrack to David Lynch’s classic Twin Peaks at the Odeon Theatre in Liverpool Street. On the Spin website, David Bevan says that the writing of Xiu Xiu’s songwriter, Jamie Stewart, is characterised by honesty.

He is “unafraid of bringing us (sometimes uncomfortably) close to topics and textures and characters we might normally sidestep or miss.” David Bevan.

New Wonders

There are too many wonderful art works to mention here. They are all listed, with some tantalising images and sound previews on the Dark MOFO website.

Here are just a few:

Mike Parr, who was featured in Dark MOFO 2016, will return with a piece titled Empty Ocean, set on Bruny Island.

The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra will present Perrault’s fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, at the Theatre Royal, in a performance featuring 27 huge gothic puppets.

The Federation Concert hall will host a piece titled “Silence”, curated by Rainer Jozeps, and described on the Dark MOFO website as “a meditation on sound and silence, culminating in a rare performance of John Cage’s 4’33”.”

There will be a series of free talks on the theme of silence at the Dechaineux Lecture Theatre, at the Uni of Tasmania’s Centre for the Arts.

Once Again

As in previous years, there will be a Winter Feast, this time over seven nights. An ogoh-ogoh sculpture will be paraded and ritually burned. And, on the morning after the longest night of the year, hardy souls will plunge naked into the icy waters of the Derwent.

Tasmania MONA Dark MOFO Nude Swim in Derwent River

It somehow wouldn’t be Dark MOFO without it.



Thanks to these people for the images

“Pussy Riot at Lobnoye Mesto on Red Square in Moscow” by Denis Bochkarev [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

“Dark MOFO Purple Sky” by Alice Hansen, via Tourism Tasmania.

“Alfredo Jaar in The Creative Time Summit” by Andrew Russeth (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

“Ulver” by Krzysztof Kucharski ([KLUB STUDIO]) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

“Concerto da Einstürzende Neubautenhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einst%C3%BCrzende_Neubauten

Still from “Winter events: Yes it’s cold” video by Tourism Tasmania https://visuals.tourismtasmania.com.au/site/welcome.me

References and Other Reading

Binder, Pat and Haupt, Gerhard (2002), Interview with Alfredo Jaar, Universes in Universe .

Jaar, Alfredo and Phillips, Patricia C. (2005),  “The Aesthetics of Witnessing: A Conversation with Alfredo Jaar,” Art Journal, Vol. 64, No. 3 (Fall, 2005), 20.

Jaar, Alfredo and Museum of Contemporary Photography, (1995), Catalogue for Real Pictures,  Columbia College, Chicago.

Jaar, Alfredo and Cuomo, Rebecca (2015), Review of “The Image is a Consciousness: Enlightenment in Shadows”, NYAQ/LXAQ/SFAQ 

Jaar, Alfredo, “The Rwanda Project”, Art21.


Leech, Jeanette (2017), fearless: The Making of Post-Rock, London, Jawbone.







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