The ferry pulls into the MONA dock at the base of the museum and a long flight of sandstone stairs awaits new arrivals. It’s all very dramatic and makes guests feel exclusive and you better act accordingly while you are there. In addition to seeing the museum, the purpose of my visit was also to meet with some contacts to talk about job opportunities. Remember, Carlos and I do need work in order to make Aussie living sustainable. As I hike up the stairs I begin to get the feeling I am about to be tested.
Carlos and I have been hitting the pavement all week meeting with various people in Hobart to talk about employment. I think we’re both surprised at how well that has gone . Thanks to the size of Hobart, people seem particularly willing to meet and get acquainted. Everyone knows everyone and that works to our advantage. When my dad was here last November, he met Delia at MONA. Delia handles all PR for MONA and generously offered to have a cup of coffee with me. When I expressed interest in working with the winery at MONA (Moorilla), Delia walked me over to meet Daniel who manages the Cellar Bar for the winery. I was grateful to them both for chatting and offering some other contacts in the area to continue my job search. I’m not sure what I expected when meeting with people like Daniel and Delia because I’m not looking for a specific job. With a background in marketing and education, I suppose I should start there. But I left San Francisco wanting to wipe the slate clean and be open to any opportunity that came along. So when Daniel asked me point blank, “what do you want to do?” I visibly struggled in my chair to come up with an answer. In retrospect it seems obvious that I should come to meetings like this prepared to self-promote and make proposals about how I can be an asset to the company. But at that moment, I was at a loss to answer. If I’m lucky I mumbled something like, “I’d like to work with artisans in Tasmania to help promote them and in turn learn their craft.” But the look on Daniel’s face made it clear I need to work on my thirty second elevator pitch. While finding work in Tasmania is the most pressing priority, I recognize that the craft of shameless self-promotion will help me when we get back to the States and my stumble at MONA is what I now consider my first life lesson learned in Australia. When out of my comfort zone, I need to reach a little higher if I’m going to grab the stars.
After touring the museum for a few hours, Carlos and I sat on the beanbags provided to decompress and talk about the art over a Moo Brew (MONA’s brewery).
We agreed that MONA was one of the most stimulating museums we had ever visited. A few of my favorites included a corridor with hundreds of hanging exposed light bulbs that pulsed at a beat matching the heartbeat of whomever held the steal handles handles at the front of the exhibit. This is all in an area that you can walk freely around. No white cubes separating the work so it really doesn’t feel accurate to describe it as an exhibit. I also liked a series of paintings that depict ‘domesticity’– meaning man’s somewhat perverse relationship with animals. And I also loved the room filled with about fifty television screens all filming individuals singing Madonna’s “like a virgin.” It reminded me of what the producers of American Idol must experience when watching auditions. Horrific. Carlos got a kick out of the infamous “Poo Machine.” A mechanical machine that mimics our intestinal tract. The machine is fed and we watched as the product moves along the cylinders until it is eventually ejected. Gross.