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Power Struggle: Exploring The Modern World's Ancient Issue At MOFO 2018

18 January 2018 | 3:59 pm | Christopher Leon

"Hopefully it will be shocking to some people, and be confronting - a very engulfing warmth of noise."

Undoubtedly, 2017 has been a year of change. It's also been a year of world tension, change in the face of tradition, and a glimpse into a new era of social constructs - governed by the masses.

It's also nearing the time for another MOFO.

The Tasmanian music and arts festival, branded with an image of darkness (or "sex and death"), will take place in Launceston and Hobart this January. 

With the recent revelations surrounding Harvey Weinstein, and the revealing of numerous hidden business dealings from 2016's Paradise Papers Hacking, this year's MOFO theme - exploring ideas of social rebellion and discordance - is perhaps more pertinent than ever before. 

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Military Position is a MOFO 2018 artist promising an entertaining, yet revealing, look at modern Australian society - and the consequences of enforcing political correctness in a largely conservative world.

The solo performance act is created by Melbourne musician Harriet Morgan, who looks at challenging conservative views on women, by targeting areas of female subjugation, abuse, and masculinity.

"I've felt it's hard to be heard as a woman in Australia," Morgan reveals. "I think there's a lot of conservatism here still, secretly, underneath everything and it's good that things are [now] changing."

Military Position throws these issues into the spotlight through genres of noise and "death industrial" music - all while holding metal and chains. Literally.

"Pulsating rhythms, a feeling that the sound is never-ending; it's meant to reflect life, being in the womb, the feeling of your heart pumping blood through your body or the feeling before you die. What it is to be human and what it is to be conscious of yourself. And electronic stuff reflects industry and machinery."

She hopes her upcoming MOFO performance will affect and engage: "Hopefully it will be shocking to some people, and be confronting - a very engulfing warmth of noise. Visually, it will be quite interactive and performative."

Hobart group Daemons Of Dissent will argue the importance of looking towards the past in search of our foundations and the structure of social identities, all through original folk songs and revamped historical folk works from the early 1800s.

Steve Gadd, one of the masterminds behind this MOFO-exclusive group performance, detailed the act's portrayal of its artist views as they draw from history to evoke these areas of contemporary life. 

"It's about the way in which our history of struggle between people with power and people without power has been continuous, but it's often not in front of people's eyes," Gadd says. "It's not being retold, that's why I want to retell it. I want to make people realise that this is an omnipresent thing."

Their performance will feature works based on the stories behind famous Tasmanian and Australian historical figures including bushranger Mathew Brodie, gang co-ordinator Ikey Soloman, and Tasmanian Aboriginal figure Truganini.

"I'm sort of following David Walsh's philosophy that people will draw their own connections between things that you present," Gadd says, drawing a comparison with the MONA founder.

"The word Daemon is from the Greek word for 'spirit', and it's like you're in a driving spirit - it's a sort of play on words because it sounds like Diemen, as in Van Diemen's [Land]."

Barcelona/Indonesian act Filastine and Nova (Grey Filastine and Nova Ruth, respectively) will bring their collaborative, genre-defying musical works to MOFO to illuminate the challenges of international borders, injustice, and the environment.

The pair's personal experiences while touring around the world have helped shape their works, such as their difficulties entering countries with the "power differential between [their] two passports".

The artists look to utilise their diverse cultural backgrounds through music to help shift cultural perspectives towards a more global and accepting future.

"Music is often our first introduction to an unknown culture or subculture, providing a gateway for knowing," Filastine says. "There is truly an alchemy in music that can transcend borders. It might be our first human language from prehistory, and continues to be a shared meta-language."

MOFO 2018 is set to be another evocative festival; and this will also be the first year it'll be launched in Launceston (12-14 Jan) before moving its way down to Hobart (15-22), back to its roots in the state's capital.

The events list is rich in genre, artform, and artistic vision - a sure sign that the aftermath of MOFO 2018 will continue to linger in the minds of all those who attend. 

If you can make it to Launceston or Hobart in January - and you're bold enough to see what's happening - acts like these might just restore your faith in humanity.