I took time out of storm chasing my way to and from Infocomm to stop by Sante Fe, New Mexico and see Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return. And holy crap am I glad I did!
I've worked in live entertainment technology for about 30 years now, and for more than a decade I've overseen much of the technology for our high-tech haunted hotel attraction the Gravesend Inn. So I'm a fan of weird, immersive, interactive arty attractions, and I've seen literally hundreds and hundreds of projects and installations. Since I know this field literally inside and out, when I see most things like this, I "get" within a few minutes, check out the workmanship and then I've kind of done it. But for the House of Eternal Return I spent over an hour, took a break, and then went back in and spent another hour until it started getting too crowded and I had to meet a friend for lunch. The House of Eternal Return is simply one of the most astonishing attractions of any kind I've ever seen; it's sprawling, beautiful, and endlessly surprising and creative, all while being accessible and without a whiff of the pretension that ruins so many art projects for me.
Meow Wolf is an interesting "arts production company" that has been doing projects in Sante Fe for many years. With backing from George R R Martin, Sante Fe, and a crowdfunding campaign, the company took over an old bowling alley and opened House of Eternal Return in March of this year.
After paying $18 to get in, you enter the space after watching a brief and somewhat confusing video. And then immediately inside the door is a mailbox with a note that's worth reading (click any photo to enlarge):
And then you see a house (which is large but actually something like 2/3 size):
As soon as you enter, you realize that each room of the house is actually a portal to somewhere else:
And from there, each portal leads off into another world, with endless connections, and surprises. Here's a gallery of a few of the places. If it seems like a jumbled order that's about right:
My full set of photos is here.
Since this is ostensibly a technology blog, I should talk tech as well. There's some sold, basic interactive technology (light elevator light curtains to open doors), and several interactive musical pieces that use either mallets or lasers as actuators. But the real charm of the thing is just the sprawling, labyrinthine nature of the place.
If you are within even a couple states of New Mexico, I totally recommend seeing this amazing attraction. I got there when it opened on a Saturday which was nice, because by the afternoon it was quite busy with kids. I would recommend one of the late nights for a more adult performance, but any time you can spend here is well worth it.