A media event in mid-September offered The Traveling Bornsteins a guided tour of Meow Wolf’s latest creation, Convergence Station. Todd Richins, Executive Creative Producer at Meow Wolf Denver, stated, “Our most ambitious project to date, the Denver exhibition is bound to bend minds, inspire creativity, and touch hearts.” The four floors situated in a 90,000 square foot space was created by more than 100 collaborating artists, including muralists, painters, sculptors, fiber artists, digital artists, lighting and sound artists, costume designers, and technologists such as programmers, virtual reality experts, and augmented reality specialists.
Other Meow Wolf permanent exhibitions are the House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, New Mexico (opened 2016), and Omega Mart at AREA 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada (opened 2021). This recently opened Denver transformational immersive art experience is in the heart of the Sun Valley neighborhood adjacent to Empower Field at Mile High. The Sun Valley community is Denver’s most culturally diverse neighborhood.
Having visited Santa Fe’s House of Eternal Return in September 2019, we were eagerly awaiting the opening of Convergence Station. Our senses were ignited as we meandered through the mystery house filled with captivating and imaginative rooms filled with layers of hidden meanings. While the overarching themes in Santa Fe are different than in Denver, the tone and overall impression are similar. One must be ready to be bombarded by a full array of sensory stimulations along with the willingness to enter a different dimension of reality filled with imagery.
To appreciate the complexity of the Convergence Station experience, it is useful to understand the backstory. An unusual cosmic event occurred 25 years ago, when four worlds from different universes merged and obliterated the residents’ memories, resulting in the disappearance of four women. The Quantum Department of Transportation acts as the conduit to these diverse worlds identified by kaleidoscopic cathedrals, Corinthian catacombs, lush alien habitats, and dazzling and gritty cityscapes. Memories are equated with currency and are the key to unlocking the story behind the women's disappearances.
This imaginary journey begins on the ground level at Convergence Station. From this location, guests can enter four anchor spaces—Convergence Street, Eemia, Ossuary, and Numina. Visitors are free to choose their own journey because there is no wrong path. Travelers become their own guide. While exploring the rooms, visitors discover the cosmic mystery centering on the four women and the mythical gateway to the infinite which is threatening to tear the worlds apart.
People who want to become more deeply engaged in the experience can purchase an optional RFID card called a QPASS at the information desk. At MEMports situated throughout the exhibit, fragments of memory can be collected on the QPASS. After accumulating three matching pieces, visitors will be provided a short, animated video offering a segment of the back story. The accumulated stories and revealed secrets can be accessed throughout the building at Memory ATM stations or on a cell phone. Another option is to wander freely and not purchase the card. By reading Field Journals stored in the library or stopping to talk with one or more performers stationed throughout the exhibit, visitors can piece together bits and pieces of information.
Our guided tour introduced us to some of the artists and directors of the exhibit. We learned that the mistrust of politicians by the residents of C Street causes the citizens to elect a new mayor every 20 minutes. A time clock on the voting booths repeatedly counts down 20-minute segments.
Since the economy of this area is dependent on collecting and trading memories, the focal point is C Street’s Convergence Exchange, the central banking system of the converged world. Twenty-five years ago, during the Convergence, all the memories of the people were consolidated and then scattered across the minds of the residents. Crystals called Oss are used to store, preserve, and transfer these memories from one citizen to another. These special stones are displayed in different forms and shapes.
In Eemia, the people are guided by an ancient scientific order referred to as Kaleidogoths. During a thousand-year Ice Age, the Convergence separated part of the Eemian population from their homeland.
The intersecting hallways of the Ossuary, an ancient underground world that is the center for information collection in the Converged World, lead to a multitude of space. In one room, there are 15 columns that showcase the heirloom Oss, which store generations of memories from families across the world. While I was unable to hear the stored memories, our guide stated that it was possible to hear audible memory whispers in this room as well as elsewhere. The rise and fall of the people of the Ossuary and the discovery of Oss is depicted on the floor and on wall medallions. The Lineage of Librarians act as leaders who preserve the wisdom of the Ossuary.
Numina is a living universe which is considered both a character and a place housed in a three-story room covering 5,000 square feet. We stood inside one cell of a 6th dimensional plant. The visible creatures are either visitors or organelles in the plant cell. The nucleus or mitochondria is the focal point. Numina grows as people make choices. Visitors are free to come and go since they are traveling in the third and fourth dimensions.
After spending several hours trying to absorb the complexity of the Convergence Station experience, I applaud the Meow Wolf creators and collaborators for successfully completing their mission to inspire creativity so imagination can transform our world.
What should you know before you go?
Within the first 24-hours of ticket sales, a record-breaking 35,000 tickets were sold. If you want to go soon, I recommend advanced planning.