Tasmania’s 2015 Mofo and Dark Mofo festivals have been awarded one of the most coveted awards in the Australian performing arts industry – the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Group Award. Judges stated that the festivals “have captured the imagination of popular and critical acclaim”.

University of Tasmania students were right in the thick of it, capitalising on the incredible opportunities presented by Dark Mofo. Our theatre students performed in a Marina Abramovic exhibition; Architecture students built a magnificent venue on Salamanca lawns; Fine Art students installed works for a major exhibition; and students and lecturers produced their own installations that lit up the 2015 festival.

Here’s a snapshot of the projects the University of Tasmania was involved in for the award winning 2015 festival. Bring on 2016!

Ogoh-Ogoh – A monster of a project

We built a giant handfish, paraded it through the streets, and then burned it to ashes in front of screaming Dark Mofo revellers. Our Tassie interpretation of the traditional Balinese Ogoh-Ogoh cleansing ritual gave Hobart the wildest night of the year!

The Ogoh-Ogoh project was a challenge of monstrous proportions, taking in University staff, students, local artists, Balinese expert craftsmen, and the community.  

This is a pretty ambitious project but it’s also extraordinarily exciting because of the opportunities it’s offering our students to engage with international artists but also a festival of the scope and scale of Dark Mofo.

John Vella, artist and University of Tasmania lecturer

Angry Electrons light up the night

Lightbulbs tracking your every movement as you make your way through a dark tunnel…the faster you moved, the more chaotic the lights became.

Student Jason James was anything but angry when his Dark Mofo light installation, Angry Electrons, attracted more than 30,000 visitors. James programmed 1000 dimly lit globes to react to body movement. The result was magic.


It certainly helped to lift my profile. There were 32,000 visitors over the 10 days. That’s the kind of work that I like making, work that requires people to experience it.

Jason James, Bachelor of Fine Arts student

Becoming part of Private Archaeology

Our Bachelor of Contemporary Arts students worked with Marina Abramovic, the most prominent contemporary performance artist in the world. In fact, they become part of her exhibition, Private Archeology, at MONA. She has has been called the “grandmother of performance art”, because for 30 years she has pushed the boundaries of what it means to be a visual/performing artist. She is, quite literally, an international superstar. In recent years she’s trained the likes of Lady Gaga...

Marina Abramovic to the art world is like Roger Federer to the tennis world. She is the most cutting-edge and she’s pushed all the boundaries. She’s paved a path for the contemporary performance artists of today. It’s an amazing opportunity.

Tiarni Chantel Cane, Bachelor of Contemporary Arts student

Radiant Heat lights up the night

Renowned artist and University lecturer Lucy Bleach turned our Centre for the Arts inside out for Dark Mofo.

Her Radiant Heat exhibit used thermal imaging to turn the heat and creative energy of the students inside of the building into a psychedelic canvas on the outside. From dusk till dawn, the Hunter Street Centre for the Arts’ windows glowed with changing colours, providing perfect selfie-backdrops for hundreds of Instagram snaps.

It’s very exciting that there are multiple projects that connect the University to Dark Mofo. It felt like a great opportunity to capture the heat generated and show that on the skin of the building. I love the idea of the art school being this furnace…our capacity to be doing this deep creative energy within the site and how that resonates out into the community.

Lucy Bleach, artist and University of Tasmania lecturer

Come into the basement… installing the works of world-renowned artists

Weird alien flowers and fleshy creatures lurking in dark corners…and our Sculpture students helped put them there. World-renowned artists Patricia Piccinini and Peter Hennessey held a large-scale, creepy sculpture installation in the basement of Hobart’s old Mercury building. The hugely successful exhibit enlisted the help of our Fine Arts students to assist with the careful installation of hundreds of sculptures.

Installing work for the show I really got an insight into the preparation involved, and it was fantastic. I think it’s essential for a student graduating in art to understand the professionalism behind their practice. Having this experience is what you need.

Shireen Taweel, Bachelor of Fine Arts student

Hot topics inside a stunning structure – building the Hothouse

Our Architecture and Design students and staff worked alongside Sydney-based design collective Cave Urban to construct an amazing nest-like building on Salamanca lawns at the heart of Dark Mofo. It was called The Hothouse. The remarkable space provided the location for local thought-leaders to discuss and debate issues around education in Tasmania.

The whole experience I’ve gained from the Hothouse project includes a lot of practical skills about how to collaborate with professionals. It’s really different to always being behind a computer. It’s really valuable. It’s something that will be different in my portfolio that others wouldn’t have. Dao Wei Lim, Masters of Architecture student.