Dark Mofo: An Unusual Angle

Every year, Dark Mofo turns Hobart into a celebration of the winter solstice, of art, music, food, darkness and light. The festival’s Creative director, Leigh Carmichael, shares some of the themes and ideas that guide one of the world’s most intriguing festivals.
Hobart has the longest night of any Australian capital, so that's something we celebrate. We explore themes of darkness, night, the subconscious. Being out in the elements, in winter, walking around the city looking at the stars, rugging up, sitting by a fire, telling stories.

Image o f\\f Creative director Leigh Carmichael being interviewed

This year, we looked at silence. It's something that we use as a reference point, a way to navigate through our programming choices and our curation of the festival.

"Allowing the audience to find their own way is far more interesting than us trying to spell it out."

I think mystery and the unknown are far more interesting and intriguing than something that is just revealed and all out there and open, and you're told what to think and what it is. So we deliberately don’t give too much away.

Image of silhouette in front of coloured smoke
We try really hard to find points of difference and continually change it up each year.

Pushing out, finding new space, finding new territory, finding new ground, they're all really important for us as organisers, and I think they then become important for the audience as well.

"When you buy into Dark Mofo, you put yourself in a position where you're prepared to be open to new ideas, new concepts, new experiences, and that is at the heart of what we’re trying to do."

I think the festival is an extension of the way I see the world, and I think I see it for all the horror and beauty that it is, all aspects. I think attempting to make it all light, and all joyous, and all happy and safe is a falsehood. Seeing it for the full gamut of experience is what makes the world interesting.
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