Put very simply, Dark Mofo is a winter festival held for 2 weeks in the down under of Down Under, culminating on the winter solstice (21 June).
Features of the festival include art and light installations designed to only be viewed at night, late night movie screenings, live music and performances, the Winter Feast.
Put elaborately, Dark Mofo is, in my mind, a brilliant creation courtesy of the now world famous Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) that took advantage of a very dead period in the Hobart tourist calendar, and made the winter time something to look forward to.
Just as summer speaks to people for the warm weather, extended hours of light, excuses for downing cocktails, and large doses of vitamin D, Dark Mofo makes me anticipate bonfires, art installations playing with light, winter influenced food, and wandering around darkened corners of the waterfront and finding your own piece of shadowy magic.
But is Dark Mofo all it’s cracked up to be?
Some may argue against the concept – a money making venture where you have to deal with crowds, hipsters, overpriced food, and ‘art’ that probably doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Here’s the thing though – I love the night. Therefore any festival that celebrates the flip side of daylight was always going to win my heart.
Night time is the end of the day: the phone doesn’t ring, people are unwinding, business is closed, inhibitions are lowered.
I’m a bit of an oddity though. Remember that scene in the movie Amelie where she is sitting on top of a roof wondering random things, such as how many people at that very moment are having orgasms?
I’m kind of like that but not quite as literal and a bit more abstract.
I like to imagine that anything could happen in the night. Like many children, I used to be quite afraid once the sun set, imagining the horrors of fairy tales or monster movies.
But like one of my favourite directors, Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labrynth, Hell Boy, Pacific Rim), I made a pact with the night that if I learnt to love it, it would do me no harm.
There is a certain liberation walking past silent shops, quiet houses, largely empty roads devoid of traffic. You’re just a stranger in the night, passing along the way.
This is why I love Dark Mofo, because it lets me indulge in that part of me that likes being hidden in shadow, just experiencing the night and finding my own piece of it to call my own.
Sure, the website is infuriatingly nondescript when it comes to explaining (or rather, not explaining) what the various events or installations are. And yes, ticket sales to particular things will sell out, and you may find it difficult to find seating at the Winter Feast.
I think the key to enjoying Dark Mofo is to go with no necessary expectation; don’t go with a plan to definitely see or experience this or that specifically. You might disappoint yourself and write this whole thing off as an over-hyped trend.
Find a part of the night that you can call your own, that spoke to you however large or small. Roam Dark Park, don’t go with a list of what’s there. Discover things by chance, follow a crowd, join a queue, and love the dark.
Dark Mofo runs from 10 June to 21 June annually in Hobart, Tasmania.