Putting your finger on Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart is nearly impossible. It’s a transportive, maximalist art installation, rooted in the foundation of a dense, explorative narrative. It’s a place to play and a place to study. It’s the anchor experience at Area15 and Meow Wolf’s largest installation to date, totaling 52,000 square feet. Omega Mart’s art director, Spencer Olsen, describes it as “a psychedelic sci-fi mystery that invites you to investigate as an in-world participant … or a big, fun, explorable art exhibit!” It’s utopian and somewhat dystopian. It’s an experience that refuses to be pinned down—one in which you’re allowed to stumble into a world that’s adjacent to yours, but also lightyears away. Here’s a topline look at the multidimensional environment that begs to be explored, and then explored again.
As you travel through Omega Mart, a rich and complex narrative begins to develop using audio, video and print media. The timeline of the story goes back hundreds of thousands of years, and breadcrumbs are scattered throughout the exhibit for visitors to uncover. Olsen recommends taking notes. “Everything is there for a reason, and we tried to add a lot of continuity so you can learn about something you find in one location elsewhere as you explore. If you think something might be a clue, take a picture.”
Pro tip: Ask an Omega Mart employee for a boop card—it'll give you hints as you unravel the storyline.
Described as “America’s most exceptional grocery store,” walking into Omega Mart is the beginning of an adventure. “At Meow Wolf, we like to introduce visitors to our permanent exhibitions in a way that’s familiar, whether that be a seemingly average neighborhood home—as with the House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe—or a grocery store like we have with Omega Mart,” Olsen said. “From there, we present opportunities to expand one’s way of thinking, and new ways to experience otherwise average tasks and processes through the exploration of creative narratives.” As soon as you drop into Omega Mart, other exhibits come into focus, with four main anchor spaces in the exhibit.
• Omega Mart A grocery shopping experience like no other. Omega Mart is stocked with more than 100 custom items—all with the uncanny ability to fulfill shoppers’ desires.
• Dramcorp Offices Dramcorp is the parent company to Omega Mart, and as you’ll soon find out, it’s hiding a secret.
• The Factory A multilevel playground, the Factory is where Dramcorp produces its mysterious products.
• The Projected Desert Light, color, sound, space, the Projected Desert is a sensory realm for visitors.
Omega Mart’s in-world bar features eight specialty craft cocktails, including the Meowjito.
Spaces within spaces
Within each anchor space, there is an ever-unfolding cast of unique experiences, and choosing a favorite may be impossible. “It’s hard to pick one [favorite experience], so I’ll pick some distinct ones,” Olsen said. “Pulse, by Claudia Bueno, achieves something remarkable. I’ve heard someone describe it as ‘healing,’ which is as good of an experience as I can think of. Uploaded Ghosts, by Stephen Hendee, with musical collaboration by Beach House, feels like the artistic and emotional summit of the show,” Olsen said.
There are 325 artists and collaborators that have contributed to Omega Mart—comprised of four anchor spaces with 60 additional unique environments and 250 unique projects throughout the exhibit.
Is it similar to the House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe?
Yes and no, but you’ll have to dive in to find out. “For the narrative deep divers, there are similarities,” Olsen said. “They are completely different artistically and experientially, but there is an underlying sub-fiction in stories about groups and entities with the ability to travel between worlds. There will be more revealed around these relationships between the stories in Denver and other future exhibits.”
Should I take the kids?
Yes, Omega Mart is a playground for everyone who enjoys mystery and mischief at any age.