The interactive, immersive ‘Convergence Station’ is now open in Denver
It’s silly, perhaps, to use words to describe something like the new Meow Wolf installation just opened in Denver. The photos and some of the video I’ll share here do a much better job, and there are rafts of information online about what Meow Wolf is and how the new Convergence Station fits into the Meow Mix (sorry).
There are, however, a few things about Convergence Station that visitors wouldn’t know if they didn’t do their homework beforehand. There are 79 unique environments in the four floors of interactive art, but they’re not just placed willy-nilly. The whole conceit behind Convergence Station, the third and largest of the Meow Mix fleet, is that a cosmic event of sorts crashed four different worlds from four different universes into one another.
It’s a heady concept, but an ideal through line for the Meow Wolf approach, whose two other installations in Santa Fe (the original) and Las Vegas (opened earlier this year) also rely on an overarching story as a wireframe for a dizzying array of artistic expression.
Of course, one can also just traipse through the astonishing variety of all-new, wildly unique and inventive art without thinking too much about the story, but it’s more fun if you know a little bit about it. To that end, there are a number of in-character, in-costume docents spread throughout the installation to answer questions and add color (they weren’t there on the media tour I did earlier this week).
What it’s like
To walk through Convergence Station is to be overwhelmed. With the exception of the stairwells and the rest rooms, every inch of it is covered in … something. It might be faces protruding out of a wall, an electronic screen that responds to touch, an old street sweeper decked out as some sort of alien probe, or a room full of sentient musical instruments that communicate with one another.
In some places, you might need to get down on your hands and knees to visit a space where you can see the world from the point of view of a prairie dog. You might encounter a bank of stylized laundry machines where the push of a button generates an action. In another room, an enormous organ can be manipulated by pulling on different levers, while turning a wheel in the center causes the entire ceiling to rotate.
The environments range from some very small rooms to cathedral-like spaces that are staggering in scope. The work of over 300 artists (115 of them Colorado-based) is represented here, and while much of it is fun and fanciful, some make statements — like a pre-ADA RTD bus highlighting what life was like for the disabled back in the day.
With few exceptions, everything in Convergence Station is touchable, making it an ideal place to visit with children. The quick tour I was on lasted two hours, and it felt like we were dashing through it – there’s just so much to see and experience.
I love the fact that this exhibition has created over 250 local jobs, many from the creative and performing community. Meow Wolf took a crappy piece of land at the intersection of I-25 and I-70 (what they used to call “The Mousetrap”) and created an oasis of creativity accessible to all.
With some 35,000 tickets sold in the first hour of availability, Meow Wolf looks poised to be one of Denver’s biggest tourist attractions. It’d be easy to spend four or five hours wandering through this visually explosive labyrinth (lots of cool audio throughout as well), and with a full restaurant, it’s not a bad place to grab a bite, either.
So what the hell is Meow Wolf? Go see for yourself!