MONA’s DarkLab announces new Doug Aitken commission for Tasmania

DarkLab-Doug-Aitken-TransformerDarkLab – a creative subsidiary of the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, has announced a major new permanent artwork as part of a series of public artworks called Project X, situated in the south of the island state.

Transformer – a new site-specific commission by American artist Doug Aitken, is a pavilion with a reflective interior, creating a lens consisting of angles and facets, a kaleidoscope that interacts with the landscape over the changing seasons.

Focusing on the sky and the surrounding landscape, the pavilion’s exterior physicality falls away once entered, reflecting the surrounding environment and drawing the viewer into a never-ending kaleidoscope of light and reflection.

“We are delighted that we are finally able to release details of plans for Project X in the Huon Valley,” said DarkLab Creative Director Leigh Carmichael. “We are fortunate that artist Doug Aitken accepted an invitation to visit Tasmania late last year and designed the new work after identifying a site at Ida Bay.”

“While Transformer will attract people to the Huon Valley, it also uses the landscape of the area as its focal point, highlighting the natural beauty of southern Tasmania. The work will change throughout the year reflecting the various colours and moods of the seasons,” said Carmichael.

DarkLab aims to lodge a development application later this year for the approximately AUD $5million project, and pending approvals, looks forward to opening the permanent artwork in January 2022.

Transformer presents an innovative crossover of contemporary art, architecture and ecology,” said Artist Doug Aitken. “Situated at the end of the road in the Huon Valley, the sculpture will function both as a spectacular destination, and a starting point for the visitor to discover the natural landscape of the region.

“Visitors journey to the Huon Valley to see the artwork and then further their exploration of the natural beauty of the surrounding region. Each and every moment of the sculpture will change continuously with the surrounding light and weather conditions, attracting repeat visits to the region,” said Aitken.

Doug Aitken (born 1968) is an American artist and filmmaker. Defying definitions of genre, he explores every medium, from film and installations to architectural interventions. Utilizing a wide array of artistic approaches, Aitken’s immersive works lead us into a world where time, space, and memory are fluid concepts.

His work has been featured in exhibitions around the world, in such institutions as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Vienna Secession, the Serpentine Gallery in London, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

Aitken earned the International Prize at the Venice Biennale for the installation Electric Earth, the 2012 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize, and the 2013 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award: Visual Arts.

DarkLab is a Hobart-based creative agency founded in 2016 by David Walsh, owner of the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Tasmania, Australia, with Creative Director Leigh Carmichael. DarkLab works with a range of collaborators on cultural and commercial developments in Australia and internationally.

In addition to producing Tasmania’s midwinter festival Dark Mofo, DarkLab operates a number of venues in the Hobart central business district, including emerging cultural precinct In The Hanging Garden, and live music venues including the Odeon Theatre and Altar.

DarkLab’s Project X is an initiative dedicated to presenting a series of major immersive artworks in Tasmania’s Huon Valley, with the aim of bringing visitors back to the south in the wake of the bushfires that recently ravaged the island.

Project X is supported by the Australian government and the Tasmanian government through Tourism Tasmania, and Mona. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Doug Aitken, Transformer (Artist impression) – courtesy © Doug Aitken and DarkLab