Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Creatures of the Night 3 -Dark Path




Dark arts, sepulchral trees, folk memories ancestral memories, fires and flames

“And when you’re out in the woods, be nice and good and don’t stray off the path.”
Brothers Grimm “Little Red Cap.”


I was wrong about Dark Mofo. It was busier than ever with over 15,000 people attending and many events and performances already booked out.  I didn’t go to the parade or the burning this year, but you can catch the latter on the ABC’s page.

I did however, tackle Dark Path which was essentially a four Km  Art Walk with a nod to dark fairy tales, witches and disturbing thoughts.  It’s a pity that it was -3° C or I would have stayed around for more of the events, but here are a few glimpses. (Pity help the dawn nude swimmers in the morning!)



I followed the torchlight procession struggling uphill over the Domain, a largely grassed area flanked by trees commemorating the war dead. Government House is near the top along with the old Powder Magazine. In this area there was the haunting exhibition “Missing or Dead” by Aboriginal Artist Julie Gough, recounting the stories of 180 Aboriginal children stolen or lost during the early days of Van Diemen’s Land.  These stories are sad. They are indeed the war dead from a largely unacknowledged war. 


Casualties of a war

In the Powder Magazine itself was Chris Henschke’s “Demon Core”   which builds on his love /hate fascination with radioactivity, already encountered in “A forest.” This installation however, recalls “a disastrous critical mass experiment “which occurred in America in the 1940s. I had to wait in line for 40 minutes for this. 






Next stop was the Botanic Gardens themselves. How eerie the trees looked, bathed in red light, even more so when they began to speak and scream. A crazy Tesla coil added its crackling voice from to time and split the night sky with its artificial lightning. 

 

Chris Henschke's love affair with nuclear energy continues


More queues awaited at Tony Ousler’s De –Extinction Pavillion where extinct species were projected onto screens. The venue was fitting. It was where the old Beaumaris Zoo was, and where the last Tasmanian Tiger was said to have died in 1936. Ousler's work raised interesting questions – disquieting questions, such as is the next extinction likely to be truth itself, with critical thought among the first casualties?

To quote:
“Oursler’s sprawling new work confronts the erosion of critical thought, and the rise of misinformation, conspiracy theories, superstition, and magical thinking, inviting us to ask: is truth on the verge of extinction?

People in the Botanic Gardens

 Alas, by now the lure of my nice warm bed was much too strong, so after lingering for a while at this fire pit or that, I gradually made my way home without stopping at the many bars and refreshment stands. You could say I was much too good, but there’s always next year. Right! 

Walking home

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