This years DarkMofo was an exercise in creative management and how to manage an expected surge in visitor numbers to the popular winter event staged most successfully by brand MONA. Their management and creative teams accepted the challenge. The answer was dispersal, a way to split and move visitors away and around the city CBD in a way to reduce targeted overcrowding at sites like Salamanca and Dark Park. The Dark Path was born, a play on words for sure. The path utilises an existing route from Hobart’s Cenotaph, across the Bridge of Remembrance, along the Remembrance walk and up to the Botanical Gardens, a distance of about 4.0 kms from the CBD. Thirsty work
The path is lit with burning torch cans, leading the way to the Queen Victoria Powder Magazine and Chris Henschke’s ‘Demon Core’, a radio active sphere emitting flashing light. The work is inspired by a disastrous experiment at an American nuclear facility in the 1940s.
Follow the light past the food vans into the gardens and find yourself at a conservatory serving Hendrick Gin for thirsty travellers on route to Government house. Take part in the European ritual of tea and scones, served with a bitter fruit by Artist SJ Norman and his view on the European ritual and what it’s like living with residual atrocity and the power of dead empires. Heady stuff, walk on.
Around the path past the site of the old Beaumaurice Zoo where a group of artists examine our need to reproduce nature and how we distinguish ourselves from it. Continue on, back over the bridge past Dark Park stop for refreshment. The crowed has thinned, we have just walked 10kms and successfully been part of the clever Dark Mofo strategy of crowd control in a creative way. Whether this was intentional or otherwise, it worked well, not often you get exercise by default, tire the kids, and make the adults hungry and thirsty. It’s a win win for everyone really.
If you visited DarkMofo this June and walked the Dark Path, consider your self part of David Walsh’s giant outdoor gallery that uses Hobart city, its public space, environment and patrons as a large public exhibition space. The drink, music and food is just fuel to keep us engaged and moving. The benefit is the full body experience as I like to call it. This is my take on an event that gets us out over the winter, tempting us and challenging the preset stereotypes about ourselves, our art and culture.
Mike Briggs, Dark Mofo Hobart June 2019