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WOW – what an experience. This little city on the bottom of Australia certainly shows some amazing innovative public art. DARK MOFO is a mix of art, music, theatre, cinema, street art, sound and colour.

The whole of Hobart got involved to “turn the town red”.

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In the run up to the festival, one venue was the Hothouse, a wicker structure where the public could debate and write suggestions and comments relating to the issue of education in Tasmania. This was a real community event and a cool environment both in day time and at night.

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Dark MOFO runs for ten days, over two weekends, finishing on the winter solstice. These are the events, art works that we saw on the first evening.

Fire Organ – by Bastiann Maris
“A massive structure of old steel tubing drones and hums at low frequencies beneath harmonically tuned flame throwers blasting fire and heat into the night sky.”

People sat around on wooden crates, amongst warming braziers, eating food and drinks from various stalls. The deep sound constantly changed as the pressure built up and flames erupted from the various tubes and flame throwers. An amazing feature in the “dark park”.

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Solid Light Works – by Anthony McCall
“Conical shafts of light beam down form on high in a haze filled warehouse.”

This was such fun. Kids and adults were moving around the shapes, in and out of the light beams, taking photos and selfies.

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Base Bath – by Byron J Scullin + Supple Fox
“A sacrement of sound from the lower two octaves of human hearing”.

This was an adults only event inside an old cold storage unit. Groups of eleven, all wearing ear defenders, each stood underneath a red light. The sound evolved and lights penetrated deep into the space, rebounding around the walls and inside the body. We felt the sound in our bones. One description stated that the sound felt like a body massage. It was weird but excellent. We couldn’t take photos during the five minutes of this event, only as we were leaving.

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Angry Electrons – by Jason James
“One thousand dimly lit globes that react to body movement. The faster you move, the more chaotic it becomes.”

As we walked back around the harbour, we came to an alleyway, with lights hanging from the ceiling. This was another fun art installation for the kids. As some people stood to the side and the lights dimmed, someone would walk through and the lights lit up as they passed by.

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There are many more art installations that we want to visit or see again. There is a beacon or search lights aimed straight up into the sky, that is located in the old newspaper building. That looked spectacular from afar so we’d like to get up close to that one evening.

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There is also a Light Ship that is travelling up the river for half an hour each evening, scanning a searchlight around the river banks. I saw rehearsal for that during one of my insomnia moments at two am on Wednesday, weird light effects moving quickly along the river and on the far shore. So we want to see that from various vantage points.

During the second half of the festival there is a Winter Feast inside one of old shipping wharfs. For $10 per person there are a multitude of Tasmanian food stalls, produce to sample and guest chefs. Our neighbours and my hairdresser advise that this is not to be missed.

The city was alive with people strolling, walking, family groups, couples, groups of friends, people of all ages. A wonderful easygoing, friendly atmosphere. We’ll be spending more evenings in town during this festival.