Stunning Brooklyn cellist Kelsey Lu will appear at Mona’s summer festival, Mofo
Credit: Supplied courtesy of Mona Fomo

A one woman rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical Jesus Christ Superstar as reimagined by the singular Canadian performance artist Peaches is one of the drawcard events of the 2017 MONA Mofo lineup.

Peaches Christ Superstar, a world premiere exclusive to typically eclectic festival hosted each year by David Walsh’s esoteric MONA Museum – the largest private museum in the Southern Hemisphere – is just one of many original commissions and left of field collaborations on show at the fascinating January festival, which begins on January 18. 

David Walsh’s “subversive adult Disneyland” MONA, or the Museum of Old and New Art, in Hobart, Tasmania
Credit: MONA/Rémi Chauvin

Curated by erstwhile Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie, the avant-garde festival of music and art (or, FOMA) will culminate this year in a Great Gatsby-style, weekend-long bacchanal at the museum from January 20-22. Ritchie has once again encouraged participating artists to cross pollinate their practices, resulting in some unexpected collaborations across the board, including Australian rock stalwarts Regurgitator reinterpreting the Velvet Underground and Nico’s debut album with Seja on synth and Mindy Meng Wang on Chinese zither ‘Guzheng’. Other Australian musicians enlisted to perform across the weekend include Indigenous singer-songwriter Kev Carmody, dynamic Sydney-based producer Rainbow Chan and Hobart’s very own art-punk outfit All the Weathers.

Musical highlights imported from a dozen countries as far afield as Azerbaijan, France, Korea and Niger include veritable sonic angel Moses Sumney (pictured top), ambient electronic composer Pantha du Prince, analogue synth composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and one of my favourite musical discoveries of the year, the incredible cellist Kelsey Lu. 

Guy Ben-Ary’s cellF and Ellen Fullman’s Long String Instrument
Credit: Courtesy of the artist and John Fago 

In keeping with its surrounds, Mofo’s much lauded art component has strong musical inflections across a number of large scale multi-media works, including a ‘wet analogue’ synthesiser called cellF that Australian artist Guy Ben-Ary created from his own body cells and Ellen Fullman’s 20-metre Long String Instrument, which the artist will play with waxed hands accompanied by Theresa Wong on cello.

Tickets go on sale Monday October 17. You can and should deep dive into the extremely engaging lineup in full here

Mofo takes place in Hobart, Tasmania, and at the Museum of Old and New Art and Hobart, Tasmania, from January 18-22, 2017.

Tile and cover image: Supplied courtesy of Mona Fomo