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The sprawling team behind the equally sprawling megalopolis of art called Meow Wolf (previously) have banded together to create a feature-length documentary explaining how its “House of Eternal Return” came to be. The 88-minute film, titled Origin Story, was directed by Morgan Capps and Jilann Spitzmiller and written by Capps and Spitzmiller along with Christina Procter. It follows the seven founding members along with hundreds of volunteers through the decade-long journey of exploring, creating, and building Meow Wolf. The film includes footage from the nascent days of Meow Wolf’s artists working together, and also dives into the future plans of the group.
Built out of an old bowling alley in Santa Fe, New Mexico with the support of Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, Meow Wolf opened to the public in 2016 filled with works by 150 artists spread out over 20,000 square feet. The immersive art experience has quickly become a cultural touchpoint, as it’s welcomed over one million visitors in the last three years, and is in the process of expanding to two new locations, in Denver, Colorado and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Meow Wolf’s original location has expanded as well, with several new rooms and sequences added in 2018. Cakeland, by Scott Hove (previously) explores notions of heaven and hell, and lightness and darkness, in his two-part installation which engages his signature “cake” creations. (You can watch a 5 minute video that takes you behind the scenes and inside Hove’s head here.)
Justin Di Ianni also built a new portal called Timeworm. “The space is a representation of our idea of the fifth dimension,” Meow Wolf shared. “For those out of the know, the fifth dimension is one in which all time and space occur in the same instant. This means that there is no visible movement, rather all movement appears as a singular line through space. Imagine all of your life’s journeys being viewed as a single line on a global map; that’s dimension five.”
The film will be released on November 29, 2018 at 600 theaters around the country. You can take a look here to see if it’s playing nearby, and follow along with Meow Wolf’s adventures on Instagram and Facebook.
Update: You can now rent or purchase a digital copy of the full documentary online.
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A Huge Abandoned Bowling Alley in Santa Fe Has Been Turned into an Immersive Art Environment Now Open to the Public
In the gutted shell of an abandoned bowling alley in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a 150 member strong artist collective called Meow Wolf has just thrown open the doors to a new immersive art environment. The group was started nearly ten years ago by both artists and fabricators in order to plan events that were situated in-between large scale art exhibitions and massive parties. The home of the group’s latest environment, a role-playing installation titled The House of Eternal Return, was purchased by Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin with the express purpose of turning the space into Meow Wolf’s large-scale vision.
The transformed and sprawling 20,000 square foot world serves as an unique combination of art exhibition, fantasy world, jungle gym, and children’s museum. Unlike a sterile museum however, you’re allowed to touch everything, go anywhere, push unlimited buttons, and crawl inside of anything that strikes your interest in the boundless environment. Clearly a spiritual sister to St. Louis’ famous City Museum.
“The group has long been inspired by monumental works of art,” Vince Kadlubek, one of Meow Wolf’s organizers, told Colossal. “But I think we are equally inspired by arcades, theme parks, Burning Man, grocery stores, nature—immersive spaces. At the heart of it we are probably most inspired by the forts we built growing up and certainly Nickelodeon, MTV, Jim Henson, Tumblr, and Twin Peaks.”
At the center of the installation is a full-size two-story home which you enter through the front door. This front door however is not how you exit the giant structure, as refrigerators, fireplaces, and toilets serve as portals to more expansive worlds. While peeking into each room of the Victorian house you learn about the Seligs, the inhabitants of the home who include an artist, her inventor husband, and their young son. Your mission for this fabricated world is to discover what interdimensional incident happened in the house, gathering clues with each room you explore, each cabinet you open. No matter where you go in the fictional world, you are interacting with some detailed aspect of the larger narrative. Some tangents get you closer to the mystery, while others fill in details about the family’s long and complicated ancestry.
The creative process for creating such an involved experience took 18 months, in part because the installation and storyline were being built in tandem. “We had a team of six writers who had a specific story arc with specific plot points and characters, but much of the story elements were written from backgrounds of the objects and spaces that were being created,” said Kadlubek. “Our creative process is not top-down. It is lateral.”
The artspace is a video game come to life, allowing you to physically explore areas of the universe without bumping your avatar into a digital wall. You can instead enter into dissected vehicles, explore a dome covered in glistening animal eyes, or play music by hitting the ribs of a fossilized mastodon. All of these objects were created by the collective in their extensive wood shop, from dinosaur remains to the house’s ornate window frames.
General mission for the House of Eternal Return is $15 for New Mexico residents and $18 for those out of state. Over the next couple of months musicians will begin to perform in the installation’s venue Fancy Town with a line-up that includes Explosions in the Sky, Of Montreal, CocoRosie, and Mykki Blanco. To see upcoming events and peek inside the massive world of Meow Wolf, take a look at their Instagram and Facebook. (via ars technica and i09)
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Fresh out of architectural school in 1972, Michael Reynolds immediately started to question much of what he had just learned. Why build houses with trees when forests are something we want to preserve? Why pay for electricity, water, and heat when all of it can be provided off-the-grid using existing materials and renewable resources like wind, rain, and solar?
Reynolds set out to design a home built from dirt, tires, aluminum cans and other repurposed objects and so successful others began to take notice. Now, an entire community lives in these unusual homes called ‘Earthships’ in Taos, New Mexico. Filmmakers Flora Lichtman and Katherine Wells recently stopped by to learn more. (via Devour)
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Here’s a fun timelapse of the 2014 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (previously) filmed by Knate Myers. The annual event is currently the largest hot air balloon event in the world, seeing over 500 balloon teams take flight over a 9-day period.
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Even though I thought I could fully anticipate what this video would look like, I still wound up being delightfully surprised. Shot and edited by Joel Schat at the 2013 Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (via swissmiss)
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