Ahhhhhh, Dark Mofo.
It has become this country’s most popular annual event, and it’s no mystery why.
Every year it transforms the humble Tasmanian city of Hobart into the closest thing we’ll ever have to Berlin.
The trendiést city slickers descent on the triangular island for a culture fix, with art installations, solstice swims in the River Derwent and gourmet food some of the festival’s biggest draw cards. Oh, and the whole Museum of Old and New Art stuff is kinda a big deal, too.
And as is the case with any large gathering of humans beings, there are bound to be a few run-ins with the po po.
One of them involved a bloke called Matt Haubrick who has been charged with annoying behaviour, refusing to give the cops his name and address and unlawfully possessing a dangerous article in a public place over his protest of Hermann Nitsch‘s controversial 150.Action performance at the festival’s Dark Park on Friday night.
The performance he wanted shut down was a 3-hour long bull ‘slaughter’ performance art piece, during which performers dressed in all-white rip apart a bull carcass. It involves wooden crosses, fruit, vegetables, and no less than 500 litres of animal blood. Yep, it’s fuckin’ hectic is what it is.
Haubrick dressed himself in a hessian bag and began whipping himself in an effort to “tenderise” his body in protest Nitsch’s acclaimed bull slaughter performance.
“I offered myself as a human sacrifice to festival organisers as an alternative to killing the bull,” he told the ABC.“It is impossible for an animal to consent to being murdered,” he said.
Haubrick went on to explain that Dark Mofo organisers permitted his protest as long as he stopped asking punters to joint in whipping him. Despite this, he was arrested by police.
Haubrick was later released on bail, on the condition he did not go within 50 metres of Dark Mofo performances. He’s due to appear in the Magistrates Court in Hobart next month.
It’s not the first time this dude has undertaken an out-there public stunt. Back in 2011, he was tackled by security guards after lunging at then-PM Julia Gillard on a visit to a Darwin university. He later explained he was protesting the proposed nuclear waste storage facility in the NT.
Photo: Mona/Rémi Chauvin.
Correction: an earlier version of this story incorrectly claimed the performance art piece involved an actual bull sacrifice and thousands of litres of animal blood. This has since been edited.