MONA’s Robbie Brammall On Creativity And His Tip For Dark Mofo

By Ben Tyers
30th May 2019


The Creative State Summit returns to Melbourne on Thursday 30 May to Friday 31 May and will see a range of speakers discuss the future of arts and creative entrepreneurship centring on the theme ‘What’s Next?’.

Speakers include the likes of Takashi Kudo of teamLab—the team behind the Mori Digital Art Museum—Nancy Bennett, a former MTV producer who now heads Two Bit Circus, alongside local talent Russel Howcroft, Carly Findlay, Rone, and Robbie Brammall from MoNA.

We caught up with Robbie Brammall, to talk about his involvement with the Creative State Summit, as well as what to look forward to at Dark Mofo.

What Will You Be Covering At The Creative State Summit?

I’ll be sharing some dubious wisdom, that’s what I’ll be doing.

I’ll be roughly talking about MONA 2.0—it’s our pursuit of growth. MONA as a business is evolving but our philosophy remains the same, and that is having creativity at heart. Our competitive advantage is creativity.

Being a Tasmanian, I moved away for 20 years and came back and the place was absolutely transformed, and that’s the power of creativity. It’s been baked into Tassie’s DNA pretty quickly, that we’re a creative, disruptive, risk-taking place doing things that you just couldn’t get away with on the mainland.

We used to be so conservative, we always had good produce, and good environmental assets, but in the last 8 years the embrace of creativity and risk-taking, and disruption, and doing things that nobody else could possibly get away with—that’s Tasmania’s default setting now.

Tell Us About MONA 2.0

Like any business, MONA faces some pretty substantial challenges, and one is for us is to become a sustainable business.

We’re moving not just in the world of culture, but in the world of tourism.

We’re about to spend $450M on a 5-star hotel, and the world’s weirdest caravan park as well as a business & convention centre, and a whole raft of business developments. Yes, we’re not in the cultural space anymore, but it’s the same disruptive philosophy that we’ll apply to these new ventures we’re going into.

We’re hoping to disrupt those markets as much as we did the cultural space.

Are There Any Current Creative Trends That Are Influencing Your Work?

Specifically, the role that technology tells in storytelling. When you’re a museum you’re basically telling stories, and the role that technology is playing in the telling of those stories is increasing for us.

Our current exhibition which launches Friday next week has a lot of AR and VR involved in it, so we’re adding these other storytelling strokes to our arsenal. That’s something that I’m noticing really keenly, not just in the curation of exhibitions and our festivals, but also in how we market all our brands

What Are Most Excited About At Dark Mofo?

It’s going to be hectic. The best thing about Dark Mofo is giving into the experience and just rocking up to as many things as you can without any preconceptions. If I had any tip for anyone, there’s a new precinct called A Forest. I had a sneak preview of it the other day, and it’s kind of flown under the radar a bit, but there is some incredible art and installations as part of that which is really disturbing and transformative. That’s my little pro-tip. Hook into A Forest.

Robbie Brammall will speak at the 2019 Creative State Summit, a Victorian Government initiative that will explore ‘What’s Next’ for the creative industries.

For everything else happening in Melbourne right now, head to our Things To Do section.

Image credit: supplied

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