The Count surprised me for my birthday with a trip to Tassie as he knew I was busting to go and see MONA. We'd been in Hobart last year in January in time to catch the last two days of the Mona Foma festival, which I posted here. So it was from this trip that I found out about the plans afoot to create the Museum of Old and New Art. The things is, I had no idea of the incredible scope of the project, let alone the millions and millions that would go into it! And certainly never imagined for a minute that Mona would be a private gallery, owned and created by one David Walsh, with his private collection of the most vast array of antiquities, and modern and contemporary art.
We set off for Mona on a lovely clear morning from the docks at Hobart, taking advantage of the $15 return ferry fare, thinking, well, if the museum is a write off, at least we've scored a nice boat ride up the Derwent. The 'ferry' was a actually a schmicko-looking brand new boat complete with onboard barista and cafe selling yummo fresh pastries and wine and beer from the Moorilla estate that adjoins the museum. My croissant was devoured just in time for the boat pulling up at the pier, and those extra calories were welcome as we puffed our way up the many many stairs to the funny tennis court-style entrance. (Which I don't have a photo of!)
We milled around for a while in the entrance lobby area, as the museum didn't open until 11am, gawping at the shop, cafe and views. Most of all familiarising ourselves with the ipod touch that was to be our online guide to the museum. The ipod effectively is a replacement for those pesky wall mounted info panels next to artworks in most museums, that invariably are always blocked by someone standing right up next to it, as they've forgotten their reading glasses!
And with the subterranean atmosphere and dim lighting in the whole of the museum, I was really glad to have a guide that had it's own light source! Best of all, they allowed you to access as much info, or as little as you wanted. For example, the interface just synced with wherever you were in the gallery and presented you with a list of thumbnail images of the works surrounding you. You'd click on the relevant one, and you immediately accessed the title, artist, date and medium of the work. Then you had the options of clicking buttons below dubbed 'Artwank', 'Gonzo', 'Audio' for essays about the work, a personal opinion about the work by David Walsh or an audio interview with the artist about the work respectively.
Stay tuned later this week as we descend down the circular elevator, to the underground treasures, it really did feel that we were heading into a Bond villain's 'evil lair'.