While in Hobart, there were two events that I want to touch on, not previously mentioned. One was my trip to visit to this wonderful chain of boathouses along the Derwent river. I captured some beautiful images there and was granted access by Suzette and Jonkie Pelt who own one of them. The other was my visit to the thought provoking and somewhat controversial museum MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). It's one of those places that will generate discussion like few other museums that I have visited. There was much more to see than my small sampling here and I'll attempt to give you a better sense of it's character through my description.
Firstly MONA is an amazing architectural site. There is artistry in all of its design. Also know that the exhibits change all the time. Some cycle back again, but there is one thing that is certain... what you find there, will be interesting. My visit initially left me with the impression of participating in a social experiment. As if the hallways were one-way glass and ceilings peppered with micro cameras (there were plenty of standard security cameras in evidence of course). But in my impression, I pictured a team of behavioral and social scientists behind those observational portals, rather than the typical polyester-clad security detail. One example (and I wish I took a picture of this) was a huge room with three unremarkable, square horizontal picture tables. These tables, at approximately chest height displayed, what looked like, the contents of an eccentric rockstar's scrapbook. The five to six museum attendants posted on the outer walls seemed to have the sole purpose of warning off visitors from touching these central cases. Due to the hight of the table, it's contents were difficult to easily view without leaning over. My first thought after my FIRST warning ... "who's gotta saw? We'll fix these tables and you guys can find something else to do for the afternoon." The more outlandish contents of these "scrapbook tables", as I liked to think of them, were what I would call "reproductive remembrances". You can figure out what I mean by that.
MONA grants you access through an unmarked and unremarkable black sliding door. Like something out of Star Wars, is slides open at your approach and presents you with an empty entrance room. Once you have been properly scanned it deposits you down 3 floors through a circular staircase surrounding a cylindrical glass elevator where you start your tour. At this basement level, towering sandstone walls form the subterranean entrance to the main museum. One of the first exhibits is a "junk pile" of things painted gold. This sets the tone for the Matthew Barney, River of Fundament exhibit. Check out the highlights.
There was an interesting and rare collection of Egyptian art that I breezed by. I was interested in the controversial stuff. Of that, I found an abundance. From 1970s soft porn films showing in curtained side theaters to darkened rooms with obscure and dystopian sculptures this museum was delivering an experience more than a collection of exhibits. I was most entertained by the 3 rooms with a horizontal line of plaster cast vaginas. I mean, there must have been over 100 of them. All artfully lit and ready for examination by the next passing OB/GYN. I'm wondering, ... I walk away wondering ... what was this artist's pickup line to convince all these people to have their anatomy memorialized for his exhibit?
There were also interesting and strange examples of technology. One example was what I called, the Crap Machine. One factoid I remember from my neck-slung phone APP, was the machine was built in 1967. I don't recall it's design purpose, but the designers were successful in it's results. I have included a photo below for visual edification. It's sole purpose was to create poop. Expelled through a tube at the far right of the device. Me, looking for some information on this contraption, other than the scant outline on my APP blithely walked over the line to see if there were any posted explanations... and promptly getting warned off by the wall hugging attendants. The smell did give it away though. I should have know that was enough to know.
The Car with a Shellfish Allergy. As I worked my way up through the subsequent upper floors, I encounter this exhibit of a swollen car. It was a Porsche Carrera I think. It looked like it had an anaphylactic reaction to a swarm of bees or an allergy to shellfish. Swollen to almost unrecognizable proportions both the interior and exterior, I believe this was a statement on our modern cultural excess.... but I'm not sure. Who put the clam juice in the tank?
BOATHOUSES ON THE DERWENT
Along the Derwent River, a body of water separating the eastern and western shores of Hobart, are a row of colorful boat houses. This small chain of vibrant "pearls" have become some of the more interesting and exclusive areas of real estate in Hobart. Perched on the western shore of the river, in Cornelian Bay, the former boathouses, now homes provide a retreat from everyday life and a unique, secluded character you might experience in an island backwater. Jonkie and Susette Pelt, owners of one of these beautiful houses, took me on a brief tour of this part of the waterfront. It is very peaceful and though the B36 motorway is only a long stone's throw away behind you, what I heard was the lapping of the water and calls of aquatic birds.