Ah Dark Mofo, that most wonderful time of the year, when you get to escape from the cold of Winter that envelops Tasmania. This Winter has been pretty mild so far and Dark Mofo kind of snuck up on us out of nowhere. You go down for the opening night and before you know it, the curtain has been pulled across for another year.
This was my third Dark Mofo and I think having witnessed it twice previously, you come to realise that the format is largely the same each year. Dark Park, the centrepiece of the festival down at Macquarie Point always has a big outdoor display, there’s always something cool to do with lights inside one of the sheds and there’s always something noisy. This year was no different with a huge gantry of lasers set up in the middle of the large empty space where the Ogoh Ogoh meets its fiery end.
The shed of lights had more lasers, pointing at a plus which reflected them back on to the ground. And the noise was provided by a big shed with some upside down cars and deafening noise…..Aaaand there wasn’t much else to shout home about really. Dark Park seemed a bit lacking this year. In the shed that usually has some really cool and out there displays, there were two rooms with projectors displaying random patterns on to the walls. Another room had a big square of light, behind which was a small room showing a short video on Kevin Carter, member of the famed Bang Bang Club. It was cool to see photojournalism represented at Dark Mofo but I could see the befuddlement on the faces of people leaving the room afterwards.
At the Winter Feast, which is always fabulously decorated, there was a lack of entertainment and spectacle also. I went to Transliminal, the late night dance event that’s on each year and had been called Black List previously. It was……..lacking. There was no flash, bang or wallop, no performances or interesting costumed characters walking around. It was just a big room with some lights and very repetitive music that you couldn’t really dance to. Cost of entry? $50…..
And that I think is the danger that Dark Mofo is facing. The magic and wonder that I felt the first year wasn’t there. It felt cheap, like corners had been cut, money funnelled elsewhere. I must apologise, I really wanted to write a positive, glowing post on Dark Mofo but I just can’t seem to be able to. Don’t get me wrong, it was still awesome fun and it’s such a fantastic festival that few cities could pull off, I just hope it isn’t losing it’s original purpose in the face of dollar signs and gullible hipsters who’ll pay anything for whatever you throw in front of them. More art, less fart next year please 🙂