January 23, 2022

I Visited One in every of Meow Wolf’s Immersive Artwork Displays, and You Ought to, Too

Exterior of Meow Wolf Denver location
Suzanne Humphries

It’s one factor to stroll by an artwork exhibit and stare upon evocative paintings. It’s one other factor fully to be inside an artwork exhibit, actually immersed within the artwork. That’s the expertise Meow Wolf provides. I not too long ago visited the Denver location whereas on a visit, and it was out-of-this-world cool.

In the event you stay close to considered one of Meow Wolf’s west-ish coast reveals, or are planning a street journey close to one sooner or later, I extremely advocate shopping for some tickets. It’s enjoyable for the entire household and you may simply spend hours there exploring and all of the issues inside its partitions.

Earlier than you proceed, beware that my article accommodates particulars and pictures of this location, which might doubtlessly be a spoiler for those who’re planning on going there. A lot of the enjoyable is seeing these items for the primary time, so don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

What Is Meow Wolf?

The oldsters who constructed Meow Wolf—a casual DIY collective of Santa Fe artists self-described as “artists with earlier and present lives as graphic designers, technologists, writers, fabricators, painters, sculptors, musicians, rat gang leaders, and shoplifters”—first got here up with the thought in 2008. The corporate’s mission is “to encourage creativity by artwork, exploration, and play in order that creativeness will remodel the world.”

The group worked for 10 years to search out their very own door into the artwork world. They began out by salvaging every kind of things from dumpsters, and not one of the artists took any pay. Alongside the best way, they even labored with George R.R. Martin (sure, that George R.R. Martin) to buy the house for his or her first everlasting exhibition in Santa Fe, which was previously a bowling alley.

Now, collectively, the group has constructed out three “immersive and interactive experiences that transport audiences of all ages into implausible realms of story and exploration,” with areas in Sante Fe, Las Vegas, and most not too long ago, Denver. That location, dubbed Convergence Station, is the one I not too long ago visited, and I solely have good issues to say about its immersive and wildly enjoyable maximalist surroundings.

The group behind Meow Wolf has, certainly, claimed a hard-earned spot within the artwork world, and their profitable growth into three areas (and equally distinctive experiences) is the proof within the pudding. By far, the perfect factor about Meow Wolf is that it’s completely distinctive. It’s not like an artwork museum, and it’s not like Burning Man or a online game or the rest in all the world. You actually stroll by a portal into what seems like a distinct world or dimension, and wow, is it mind-expanding!

Truly, if Meow Wolf is akin to something, it’s a dream. An exploration of the intersection of sci-fi and fantasy. An virtually psychedelic brain-bending journey. One minute you’re getting into a cosmic elevator and the following, you’ve stepped right into a cyberpunk alleyway or an ice fortress or a swamp, every with a thousand sights and sounds vying on your consideration, beckoning you to come back discover. All in all, the expertise was almost past phrases—Meow Wolf is simply one thing you must expertise for your self. Photos and movies and even this text can’t do it justice. Simply belief me on this one.

The Look

Convergence Station’s four-story exhibit is a daring, dazzling, and distinctive expertise. It took a large group of 300 creatives (together with greater than 100 locals from Colorado) to construct out the greater than 70 distinctive installations, portals, and rooms throughout 4 distinctive worlds. The consequence? An awe-inspiring liminal dreamland that manages to mix a cyberpunk acid-trip post-apocalyptic junkyard, underwater playground, Alice in Wonderland, and extra-terrestrial interplanetary villain headquarters.

Dome of the entryway at Meow Wolf Denver
Suzanne Humphries

And that’s nice as a result of “interplanetary” is precisely the vibe the Meow Wolf group was reaching for right here, therefore the identify Convergence Station—it’s basically a prepare station between distinctive dimensions. While you first stroll within the door, you’ve received the choice to start out your go to at considered one of a number of totally different installations. Although every customer in the end begins on the similar place, there are various totally different locations and nooks and crannies to discover—none of which might be described as parallel to one another.

Every new space you stroll into provides you that very same feeling you get whereas transferring from one bizarre room in a vivid dream to the following. It’s sensory depth. 1000’s of latest sounds and colours and textures overwhelm your thoughts, however in one of the simplest ways doable. It invitations you to come back in and spend hours pouring over each little element.

And wow, is there ever lots to have a look at.

The Expertise

I used to be promised an out-of-this-world expertise that might delight my inside baby and Meow Wolf delivered. After I stepped into the constructing, I used to be stoked to see that it actually did appear to be a cosmic metro station. I took a minute to lookup on the attractive dome (photographed above) within the entryway and really feel the vibes, then I used to be off for my first interdimensional journey.

The C Road metropolis is the primary “world” I entered. I don’t know the way Meow Wolf knew that I’ve at all times wished to stroll by a neon cyberpunk again alley, however I lived the dream. The world was full of steel and neon indicators that led to quite a lot of smaller locations, like a small obtuse cinema, a curious kitchen, a storefront with an enigmatic storekeeper, a trash sofa, a hallway of beep-booping computer systems and dials and radars, a jangling unending percussive symphony, and so so a lot extra. There have been so many issues to have a look at and sit in and take heed to and climb on and contact.

It’s straightforward to really feel such as you’re on a film set right here, or in a online game or dwelling out your childhood dream of a choose-your-own-adventure ebook, with all of the doorways and rooms and issues. You possibly can feast your eyes on the entire shops and autos and video games and sculptures and secret hallways. 1000’s of particulars to have a look at, tens of millions of buttons to press, and a lifetime of exploration. The very best elements of this world had been the eight bus-seat cinema taking part in indescribable esoteric movies that had been simply weirdly fantastic.

Properly, that and the entire doorways that led to hidden rooms. There have been So. Many. Doorways.

As soon as I received my fill there, I made a decision to move to the swamp world of Numina, which ended up being my favourite of the 4 worlds. I’m nonetheless searching for the right phrases to explain this place, and am very a lot nonetheless dazzled by underwater jellyfish seashell spaceship vibes. It’s an unlimited cavern-like space full of (faux, clearly) “dwelling” materials like moss, flowers, mushrooms, jellyfish, and different unknowable creatures. I even noticed Meow Wolf forged members dressed up like little swamp forest creatures that might perch right here and there, which was a enjoyable contact.

My favourite areas inside Numina had been the twisted hallway (that I used to be not almost coordinated sufficient to stroll by) and the key room beneath the spaceship factor, whereby you would rotate the glass orb at its middle to alter the colour and results of the room, from a daring magenta to a serene seafoam inexperienced.

I then discovered my manner by one other portal to go to Eemia. With its huge kaleidoscopic neon-and-glass cathedral, it was, no doubt, the best and most iconic world. I wished to remain right here and stare at it without end! Contained in the cathedral was a rotating wheel you would work together with to maneuver its spires and an ethereal organ you would play.

View of kaleidoscope castle in Eemia with neon glass construction and stormy sky
Suzanne Humphries

Though Eemia is described as an ice fortress, ice might by no means be this thrilling. Eemia feels prefer it’s set in an icy crater on an asteroid in deep house. Icy-looking textures experience the partitions all the best way up, whereas the ceiling seems just like the evening sky; you may even sit in a Transformers-looking robotic chair and try to set off an occasion that exhibits the celebrities on the ceiling transferring and a black gap/aurora/space-time/Doctor Who intro rift opening up.

Lastly, I rounded out the journey with a stroll by the Ossuary—to my delight, it was extra neon and fewer scary than the well-known Douaumont Ossuary in France. It really seemed like an enormous catacomb, with muted colours, cave-ish textures, and light-up crystals on the wall. This space, at instances, had related vibes to C Road, with graffitied partitions lit up with flyers and tons of doorways that led to colourful pockets full of surprises like a semi-nightmarish pizza celebration room and a room that was pitch black aside from the tower of large touchscreens at its middle that you would work together with to make intergalactic-sounding music.

Last Ideas

Meow Wolf is the kind of expertise I stay for. One thing recent and artistic and evocative. One thing that hasn’t been performed to dying, like escape rooms or artwork festivals or (god forbid) cornhole and billiard tables at an ethereal brewery in an industrial constructing. As I discussed earlier, I’m nonetheless making an attempt to wrap my thoughts across the implausible expertise. It’s fantastic but profoundly powerful to explain; I additionally don’t need to spoil an excessive amount of for individuals who need to go to the Denver location. Clearly, now I want to go to the opposite areas in some unspecified time in the future, too, particularly the one in Santa Fe so I can see the place it began.

Although it was tremendous crowded once I went, which diminished the expertise considerably, it was nonetheless enjoyable to spend a number of hours there exploring the various worlds inside Convergence Station. I’d have liked to go to a spot like this once I was a child, however nonetheless, I do know I’ll take pleasure in every time I’m going again sooner or later. In actual fact, there’s a lot to see and work together with (and there’s no proper or improper manner to take action), I’ve no doubts that every go to could be a unique expertise.

Convergence Station was in contrast to something I’ve ever encountered. I’m nonetheless in awe of all the small print there, of the large inventive endeavor this undoubtedly was. I felt like a child once more once I was at Meow Wolf and, to me, that’s value each penny.