The type of mainland thinking that breeds bad jokes about Tasmania is also responsible for the belief that what happens there could never be as relevant as what happens here.

But an encounter with MONA FOMA, an arts festival as otherworldly as the blue Hobart light, proves mainland types to be painfully wrong. Like dreams and astral projections, being at MONA FOMA took you outside yourself.

Shape-Shifter, an installation by David Chesworth and Sonia Leber, created a haunting soundscape by removing the human voice from its original source. Luckily, Tune-Yards took care of any leftover unease with a brand of sonic gymnastics that left you feeling everything but disembodied.

The 10-day festival saw meanings shift, change shape and collide – the Violent Femmes supergroup brought the past to the present, while an electrifying set by noise rock duo Paint Your Golden Face erased the divide between music and performance art.

The same can’t be said for Nell’s Chanting to Amps, whose effort to find out if anything could be transcendental could only lead the audience to one grim conclusion. It’s only while wandering, dumbstruck, through MONA at the end of the festival, that it becomes clear that’s precisely the point.'s-on/monafoma/

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