Thursday, January 7, 2010

MONA FOMA 2010 - anticipation post

I’ve been itching to write on a Hobart exhibition again, but the galleries seem to be recovering from they annual Christmas shows and have either shut up shop (CAST, Entrepot) or have an uninspiring spread.  Fortunately, this Friday (8th) the second annual music/sound/art festival MONA FOMA begins. 

The inaugural festival was, to be honest, the best festival that I’ve ever attended, and got a few embarrassingly gushing posts as well as an Artlink review from me (which was criticised as being too positive – what does that say about professional review writing?) 

With the exception of the final night’s concert with the Dirty Three, John Cale and Bridezilla and a small event at the Theatre Royal, all the events at this year’s MONA FOMA are free.  The festival is obviously well funded for this to occur, and the 2010 festival’s apparently co-funded by David Walsh (who’s currently building his Museum of Old and New Art), the Salamanca Art Centre, and the Tasmanian state government.  This post is starting to sound a bit like a PR schpiel, however the reason why I don’t hesitate to point out the funding bodies is because MONA FOMA is so equitable.  Other Tassie festivals, such as 10 Days on the Island might have great line ups of international artists, actors and musicians, however I can only ever afford to attend one or two events at most unless I wrangle myself a reviewing job (in which case I can’t truly relax and enjoy the performance because I’m too busy making value judgments).

One of the must attend events for me is John Cale’s Dyddiau Du/Dark Days.  The work was exhibited at last year’s Venice Biennale in the Wales Pavilion but despite my frenzied attempt to see all the exhibitions in Venice in less than a week, this particular work was missed.  Thank you fate. 

The other must-see work is in the Bond Store of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, one of my favourite exhibition spaces in Hobart due to the fact that its walls are dank and covered in historical convict graffiti, the stairs are precariously steep and made of roughly hewn wood, the floors are uneven and the entire building is held up by massive solid wood columns and beams.  The combined exhibition and performance is called 48 Fugues for Frank, and is described in the programme as “a musical homage to the life and work of Frank Zappa”:

Dodgy screen shot of the online MONA FOMA programme

Of course, I’ve also had a long love affair with the sounds of the Dirty Three, so I’m eagerly awaiting the closing concert. 

I’ll try and post a few reviews on my MONA FOMA experiences over the next couple of weeks.  Happy times.