Rainbow joy? Or torture?

Rainbow joy? Or torture?

We joined the queue. The seemingly-endless queue that snaked its way around the Melville St carpark which has been taken over for Dark Mofo. We were told the wait time was an hour. I was confident two adults and two kids aged 5 and 7 could comfortably wait for an hour. After all, we’d already eaten dinner, there were portaloos nearby and there were plenty of food vans if we needed a drink or a snack.

But one hour turned into two hours. A very long two hours. And then finally we’d made it to the front and into Hiromi Tango’s art installation Rainbow Dream: Moon Rainbow – a room of rainbows.

I’m a huge lover of all-things colourful and my five-year-old is obsessed with rainbows. So this felt like it would be a bucket list kind of activity for us. And yes, it was beautiful. And colourful. And there were definitely plenty of rainbows.

To me, it felt like the sea of people dressed in darkly-coloured puffer jackets weren’t doing that artwork justice. Where were all the colourful outfits deserving of such a colourful room? Or perhaps that was just another part of the experience, having rainbows brightening up the depths of winter, black puffer jackets included. And let’s face it, it was too cold to wear anything other than a puffer jacket (I did wear a puffer jacket in the queue but took it off once inside the exhibition).

The exhibition melds art and neuroscience, with the healing colour palette intended to captivate us and bring joy.

And yes it was beautiful. And you could stay for as long as you liked (which was 20 minutes for us). But it also felt a little overrated. I overheard others saying the same thing – expectations are high when you’ve just braved two hours in a long, boring queue out in the elements with small children! Maybe we’d have felt differently if the queue was shorter and we didn’t have numb toes.

Would I do it all again? Probably not. But am I glad we did it? Yes. In those two hours of waiting my boys didn’t fight. They didn’t ask for screen time. They stood patiently (even more patiently than I could have imagined). They ate blue raspberry and musk stick flavoured fairy floss on a stick with great enthusiasm.

They warmed their bodies beside a giant fire pit. They danced to the beat of the background music. They gazed at the moon and the stars and breathed the crisp night air, laughing as their exhales made visible puffs of fog in the darkness. They chatted to people around them. They marvelled at the red lights and street art on the walls.

They were suitably dressed (tip: a beanie, a scarf, a puffer jacket, warm pants and thick socks are essentials. I wish I’d worn warmer socks!) and they actually seemed to enjoy the freshness of the night, although the temperature certainly dropped between 5.30pm when we joined the back of the queue and 7.30pm when we finally made it to the front.

The boys purchased a $5 spinning rainbow light each and played happily with them for ages (tip: take a mix of cash and card, as different vendors accept different payment methods). And when we arrived home, past bed time, there were no arguments about brushing teeth, they simply went to bed, and slept happily. And I woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed. So in a weird kind of way I call that a successful outing, even if it was bloody freezing!

Hiromi Tango’s Rainbow Dream: Moon Rainbow runs from Thursday June 9 to Sunday June 12 and again from Wednesday June 15 to Monday June 20. 5pm-10.30pm at Melville St car park on the corner of Melville and Argyle Street.