12:12:12 THIS IS A VERY EXCITING DAY FOR ME BECAUSE I LOVE NUMBERS. I love numbers so much that I decide I should have an excellent day today, so I head to MONA for the first proper time since I moved here. I’ve been out once already since moving here but it was for an outside event and I figured it would have been a little busy to head indoors that day, so I’ve been squandering my new local status and haven’t dived back in since the first (and then second) time I visited when I came down to Tasmania in a campervan with one of my best buddies back in 2011.
So today’s the day. HOORAY! This is how I see the passing of 12/12/12 12:12:12.
While I’m out on the grass enjoying the sunshine (something I did not enjoy in Queensland), I partake in some incidental eavesdropping on a small family sitting nearby.
Grown-up to child (approx 9yo): “If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?”
Second grown-up (I’m guessing mother): “I won’t be cross with you.”
Child: “First I’d buy all the dogs I like.”
The museum is just as I remember it, dark and overwhelming and wonderful. I visit pieces I remember fondly, and corners I haven’t explored before. I find the small changes, the new pieces, and I brave the Cloaca Professional (I couldn’t make it into the room last time). I spend at least four hours getting lost and awestruck. I also make sure to dedicate at least twenty solid minutes to this excellent room.
I remember the first time I went to MONA, I shyly watched as people entered and exited this grey door to this tiny room in the middle of one of the floors. I didn’t know if I was allowed in there, but I eventually got up the gall to follow someone in, and suddenly the muted a cappella choir sounds I’d heard made sense. Thirty people all singing along to Madonna’s Immaculate Collection in its entirety, but you don’t hear the album itself, just the sing-along. It’s amazing. I love trying to work out who’s singing out of tune (but so PASSIONATELY).
One of the things on my Hobart Local bucket list is to come across David Walsh while wandering the museum. It turns out this is easily achieved today; as I’m standing around and desperately trying to convince myself not to try to blow some enormous columns of bubbles over, he walks into the same room with a herd of young, attractive women following him.
He tells the girls a story about the way one of the bubble columns sagged over the other day and looked like something a bit funny and a bit naughty, and he shows me too because I’m in the room, and I’m not sure if my first encounter with David Walsh could be any more perfect, to be honest.
I’m sad but not surprised to find that my repeat visit to Kryptos isn’t as magical and terrifying as the first time, because I know what’s coming. I still remember how it made me feel the first time, and I wish I could get that feeling back, but I know that I can’t. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I hope it stays there forever (it was commissioned for MONA and is built into the structure so I trust it will), and nobody ruins it for anyone else. I want everyone to have the same reaction to it that I did.
I get to explore the “Theatre of the World” exhibition, the collaboration between MONA and TMAG while TMAG is under renovations. I think I will always be a bit sad that I missed Monanism, the first exhibition—when I first visited in July 2011 it had just come down. But exploring the current exhibition and recognising some pieces from that first visit that have been moved into this curated space gives me hope, makes me think I haven’t missed all of it.
I wander through the space even after my phone battery dies. I finally find the tunnel of triggered sound (it had very limited opening hours when I first visited), and play in there to my heart’s content. I stop when I reach the bottom floor and order a Corpse Reviver No.2 from the Void bar’s cocktail menu, but they are out of most of the ingredients and the barman does a traumatising substitution job so I just teach him how to make a negroni instead.
A wonderful day. Now the only thing left on my Hobart Local bucket list is to meet Walshie’s cat. I finish my wonderful day with a Paesano pizza for dinner, smothered in fresh basil from my herb garden.