(May 4, 2016)— Meow Wolf, Santa Fe, New Mexico—People…. Meow Wolf, House of Eternal Return is a Godsend. I’ve never experienced anything like it. It was eerie, yet dreamy and everything within it required your complete immersive hand-to-hand attention.
Located at the former 20,000 sq. ft. Silva Lanes in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Meow Wolf has finally become a permanent third-universe for all to explore. Primarily financed by George RR Martin (author of Game of Thrones) and birthed by the hands of 135 artists, builders, computer programmers, and storytellers, the exhibit expects to welcome 100,000 adventurers on a year-to-year basis. One of which, was myself.
House of Eternal Return, an edifice of Victorian-era beauty, tells the story of a large and close-knit family hailing from Mobile, Alabama. A seemingly usual household, despite the home’s front doormat reading “Beyond here there be dragons” (as if a metaphor intentionally placed there by an intentional someone), one does not necessarily suspect that by entering the residence they will commit to immeasurable dimensional travel and lawless altering realities. Neither guides, or maps at hand- this home is yours to strategize, tantalizingly traverse, and most of all, make you question reality unlike you’ve ever done before.
Engulfed in an ambiance of barely audible voices and whispers, no matter where I went within the confines of this home, I was pulled and tugged to and fro, as if lured by invisible truths that called for me beyond solid walls, hidden passages, and blackened cavities. One such was the conventional kitchen refrigerator, at least ostensibly so by face value, that when opened, blinded me with a most ghastly flash of light. I had discovered a portal through which I teleported to a chilly world where space and time were warped.
Greeted by holograms of green extraterrestrial beings with welcoming smiles, as if they had been expecting my arrival all along, or as if I had just left them and thus returned from the neighborhood corner store with their 2% milk- I felt uncomfortably comfortable. Surrounding the octagonal room were dilating doors; locked and surely impenetrable. I noticed, however, after wafting clouds of white smoke out of my vision, that a bio-matic fingerprint door lock was to my right and unmistakably opened upon my touching it. I had the key all along- and it was me. I was then propelled into my next reality.
Twisting and turning, down corridors and on through to the next; heightened by strange smells; an uncanny alertness of my being all by myself; no soul was in sight; I finally arrived at a world of black and white color. The window looking outside even depicted a nightfall of incessant black and white; I was seeing in achromatopsia- dog vision. And all the while, I had felt I had been here before. When or with who remains indistinguishable; I can’t remember. Am I dreaming?
I delved further into this strangely real psychosis experience, arriving in the familiar warmth of my childhood dream; I was relaxed and sitting in a treehouse. While looking out its windows, I laid eyes upon a white owl in a full wing span. She was gliding, hunting, watching. She was beautiful. I made my way down the treehouse trunk to an effervescent FernGully where massive fungi played magical tunes upon my slightest touch and where the ground squished as if alive beneath my feet. I found myself in an entirely different rhythm of life; one that lies dormant and dead without the presence of visitor vigor and intrigue; one that smiles brightest at night; one under clouds with white cities construed atop them; one that lives for the laughter of children discovering and adults remembering their innocence again; one that unlocks mysteries forever kept secret deep within our aging minds.
Left here, right there, up yonder, and down below, I explored and endlessly explored, until I finally came upon something that caught my attention. It was a miniature world of busy men constructing an adorable hybrid rat of sorts. All the while I felt this strange sensation of eyes upon me, and then I saw it- a triad of all-seeing eyes. Is it possible I was not looking into their world, but they into mine? The paradox.
Finally, I entered a peaceful forest, overgrown with Spanish moss and aromatic with dewy scents of dirt and wild charm. I could hear faint voices whispering; they were encouraging me; thanking me and almost bidding me farewell. I thought to myself- “where am I going?” But I trusted my destiny in the strength of their roots, and in that moment I was pressed into a dark but soft wall from which just a pinpoint diamond of light was emitting. I brought my hand to it, and like being sucked into a black hole from deep space, I was, particle by particle, transmitted to the next bizarre world, and one which I immediately recognized.
It was the Victorian façade and home of the Alabama family I never met, but somehow knew. It was the same home I had entered, what seemed, so very long ago. But this time, things felt different. This time, things looked different. Still this time, one thing wasn’t different; once again I was bewitched by a fascination that beguiled me; that sucked me in. Thus, it became the House of Eternal Return; inviting me into its shadows; its truths; its dimensional rifts; it was beckoning me; I was ready, and so I answered.
Meow Wolf is located at 1352 Rufina Cir and opened Wednesday- Monday from 10am-8pm; they’re open late Fri & Sat nights. Adult tickets cost $18. Child $12. Senior $16. New Mexico Residents: Adult $15. Child $10. Senior $13. All children 3 years and under are FREE. Explore the splendor today.