Launceston’s Cataract Gorge is no stranger to dazzling displays, especially when Mona Foma rolls around. But when the Museum of Old and New Art’s (MONA) key summer event returns in January 2022, the natural landmark will host something particularly spectacular: a 2.4-tonne sculpted block of ice that’ll hang over the gorge.
If you’re after jaw-dropping displays that make a statement, THAW by Legs On the Wall is it. When it’s dangling between Friday, January 21–Sunday, January 23, it’ll task one daring performer with standing atop that big chunk of ice for eight hours a day, all as the frozen block of water melts. The installation comes to Tasmania after hitting up Sydney Festival first, and it’s certain to be a stunning sight in both locations.
That’s not all that Mona Foma has in store for its next fest, with MONA announcing a jam-packed program that’ll run in Launceston across those aforementioned dates, and then arrive in Hobart from Friday, January 28–Sunday, January 30 — after the event confirmed back in November that it was definitely going ahead in 2022. On the bill across the whole lineup: lasers, monster trucks, Midnight Oil, sonic sculptures, the return of the festival’s beloved morning meditations and more.
While Launceston gets ice, Hobart will see lasers blast over the city thanks to Beacon by Robin Fox. Other highlights from the entire two-weekend program include Midnight Oil’s shows in both cities, and cement mixers turned into monster trucks that’ll rove around the two locales. Also, Kartanya Maynard will collaborate with Vernon Ah Kee on site-specific text and sound installations in each spot, pondering assimilation, displacement and Tasmanian Aboriginal protests.
Plus, the Mofo Sessions will host nightly concerts in Launceston’s Royal Park and on the Mona Lawns, with Gwenno, Mo’Ju, The Chills, Danny Healy Quartet, DENNI and Jason Whatley Quartet all on the bill. And, if you’ve ever wanted to see two dancers on a brutalist pile of concrete for more than four hours, that’ll be part of Fertile Ground.
In Launceston, musicians Karlin Love and Jon Addison will play tunes inspired by Cataract Gorge’s ecosystems in the gorge itself; the Midland Highway will host Trawlwoolway artist, writer and curator Julie Gough’s The Missing, which muses on the area’s colonial history and treatment of Indigenous Australians; video work Pacific Sun by German artist Thomas Demand will take over the National Theatre; and Quandamooka artist Megan Cope will create sonic sculptures out of discarded mining relics, geological samples and piano strings that’ll be used in live performances.
And, in Hobart, you can also check out AQI2020, which sees New Zealand performance and installation artist Alicia Frankovich turn a transparent sulfur-hazed box into a live show. It’ll house performers, mimic the look and atmosphere from Australia’s 2019–20 bushfire season and, unsurprisingly, comment on climate change.
Or, attendees can also see 70s-era organs rescued from the tip and given a last whirl in DJ TR!P and Scot Cotterell’s Organ Donor; check out a huge, loss-inspired, computer-generated work by Albanian artist Anri Sala at Princes Wharf 1; and witness a series of pieces that pay tribute to and farewell Australia’s video shops.
Top image: Atrium, Alicia Frankovich. Image courtesy of the artist and Mona Foma.