Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
January 2020
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Winter night lights

The Dark Mofo festival, now in its third year (recall Spectra [Tasmania] from 2013 and Articulated Intersect and the Dichroic Filter Piece prisms from 2014), has well-and-truly transformed the atmosphere of Hobart in the cold and dark June midwinter. There are paid events and weird things and things probably not to my taste that I haven’t sought out, but there are also free and wonderful things, so that, no matter that you might question some aspects of it as art, you can’t question the generosity of David Walsh and MONA (his increasingly renowned Museum of Old and New Art) in putting on such an event and making so much of it accessible to the denizens of Hobart.

Work has been mad this month (and everything else), and I really couldn’t afford to take the time to go and have a look at some of the exhibits, but I was suffering from Dark Mofo FOMO (“Fear of Missing Out”!) and there was at least one thing that I really wanted to see, so I put things aside for a couple of hours, and wandered around the docks and streets, joining the crowds rugged up in puffer jackets and beanies, in pairs, in families, and on their own, revelling in the strange sense of community that comes of shared vaguely mysterious experiences in the chilly night.

And, of course, it was an excuse to play around with night photography which is always fun, even with the constraints of the little camera.

The Fire Organ was bizarre and spectacular, belching strange sounds and spumes of fire (it must have been an interesting OH&S/risk management scenario).

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There were other interesting outside light effects, from the ghost trees reflected, perhaps unintentionally, in a puddle left over after the rain earlier in the week; to the red lit simple architecture of the bamboo “hothouse” down in Salamanca; to the heartbeat-activated pulsing spotlights that have been beaming up into the sky (see the 12th photo on this month’s 12 of 12), which also highlight the simple industrial architecture behind the old Mercury building; and there must now be a world-wide shortage of red-flavoured fluorescent light tubes, due to their abundant use in all sorts of places around Hobart, especially including the bridge.

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The work that I had particularly wanted to see was Alexander McCall’s Solid Light Works. A large smoke-filled warehouse was home to very tightly focused and interestingly shaped beams, creating clearly delineated light sculptures in cones and pyramids. It was very dark inside, and it would have been good to have had my better camera and a tripod since the 1 second exposures and the high ISO settings don’t quite capture the full effects. It’s really hard to convey the mystical wonder of it all, but it was an interesting experience. I loved it.

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Meanwhile, nature has been doing her own thing: at the moment the moon, Venus and Jupiter are in spectacular proximity to each other. It’s hard to understand how truly stunning the sliver of moon and two bright dots of light can be (and the photo completely and utterly fails to capture it), but they are.

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