Day 9. 23rd October 2018.
The boss told me I got a little bit too traveloguey in my last entry, so I've decided to unleash the windmills of my mind this time, which is kind of fitting for the place we visited today. For some reason, strains of The Kinks' Lola (L-O-L-A, Lola) ran through my head this morning, only because we were heading off to M-O-N-A... MONA. Mo mo mo mo MO-NA! Hobart's quite the drive from Koonya, but it's one many people make on a regular basis for one reason or another. Geoff is a regular visitor to MONA (if you haven't Googled it yet to look up the acronym I've rudely neglected to define, do that now... you won't be disappointed. The place is mind blowing.
The museum of old and new art is a gift to Tasmania from self-made local millionaire, David Walsh. It houses art works he has been collecting over decades and is, itself, a striking piece of art on the banks of the Derwent River in Berriedale. It has been described in the past as a subversive Disneyland for adults, is free for all Tasmanians and very reasonably priced for us blow-ins. The personality of the place is apparent, even from the walk up the hill from the car park, surrounded by grape vines that were once part of a larger vineyard, where Mona now sits (yes, I know I flipped from acronym to proper noun, but Mona is more than an acronym, I'll have you know!)
The signs imploring people to keep "...your dirty human bodies out of our vineyard..." are a rudely humourous way to protect the crops from disease as they mark the boundaries of the "Humanoid Exclusion Zone". We crossed a tennis court, right in the middle of the entrance walkway, diverting for a look at the metal sculpture of a truck, made from pieces of metal that were laser cut by computer.
There are three levels of delight to be found at Mona and we started, as recommended, on the bottom level, which houses their current exhibition: Zero (https://mona.net.au/museum/exhibitions/zero) Too many works to describe (and ultimately bore you with) there are plenty of artistic treats to be had. The remainder of the museum is nothing short of eclectic. Where else can you see an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus casket, its lid ajar to reveal the mummified inhabitant, alongside other installations such as Sidney Nolan's Snake on display in a gallery purpose built for it, and other world-class artists.
Then there's the wall of vaginas, two humping skeletons and Cloaca. The poo machine for which a couple of meals are lovingly prepared by cafe staff each day for feeding. The machine processes the food, just like the human body then excretes the waste, just like the human body. An interesting sight, the smell could easily be avoided without regret, but we're there for the whole experience, right?
There are interactive displays and others that mustn't be touched, which got a little bit confusing for this traveler as he started flipping through one of the blank books inside one of the installations. Oops. I'm sure I wasn't the first and won't be last, which is why they have friendly staff nearby to remind people not to touch the art. It's a sign of how truly engaging this whole place is though. You just want to immerse yourself in the art and walk out wanting to make it. Lunch was in the outdoor section of the cafe, where a mother hen and her three chicks wandered around the tables accepting salad scraps from diners.
...Photographers Note: In respect of art and .... I didn't bring my camera to Mona and only had my trusty iPhone to take a few snaps of our time there. It would never represent this place well enough to photograph it, so enjoy the few snaps I got!....
The second part of our day was drive to the top of kunanyi (Mount Wellington) taking in the sweeping views at a lovely four degrees Celsius. It's, roughly, a thirty-minute drive up the side of the mountain, which looks impossible to climb in any way from every angle of approach, yet some clever clogs managed to find a way and build a road, as they do.
As we arrived, so too did a cloud. We watched it roll towards us over the rocky ground, consuming the surrounding rocks, themselves covered in and surrounded by sub-antarctic plant life. The view from 1200 metres above Hobart is as spectacular as you'd expect. The entire city and surrounds now a suspended Lego land, where motion is impossible to observe. Like mountain goats, we climbed to the pinnacle (it sounds impressive, but you're already there and just need to scramble up a small mound of boulders and rocks). The payoff is uninterrupted views (except by the occasional wisp of cloud). Truly postcard material, with the added bonus of clean, cold air.
Legend has it, by way of warning sign, that electronic systems in cars sometimes fail due to electromagnetic interference from the broadcast towers on top of the mountain. The sign provides some handy hints about how to troubleshoot such calamity, should it happen to you, and an emergency contact number, just in case. We didn't need it, for which we are grateful.