Earlier this month, Santa Fe-based artist collective Meow Wolf announced its newest event in Denver — Dark Palace: A Dance Obscura. The three-day event, held at the National Western Complex November 22 through 24, is already touted as a mini music festival, with hard-hitting headlining musical acts like Claude Von Stroke, MK, Charlesthefirst and more. But, true to Meow Wolf’s immersive art heart, Dark Palace is going to be more than three nights of music — it’s going to be a full sensory experience with art installations produced by local creatives.
“Meow Wolf and Dark Palace are about fun, exploration and things that go bump in the night. That’s what it’s all about: from the DJs who play it, the lighting designers who illuminate it, to the artists who will install their art for it,” said Meow Wolf’s event director Max B.K. “The National Western Complex is a gorgeous and fitting venue for Dark Palace – it’s an ancient, concrete, voluminous maze that we’re thrilled to get to know for the weekend.”
Yesterday, Meow Wolf came out with the lineup of artists and creatives who will transform the space — and we are not disappointed. It’s not just visual artists, it’s an amalgam of performance, light design, stage design and installations. Although the details about each artists’ contributions are still in the dark, we can make some guesses at what to expect.
In the visual art category, there are sacred geometric paintings by Chelsey Crandell that bring to mind other dimensions outside of this world as well as the abstract and colorful work by Moe Gram. The fabric-loving artist group Secret Love Collective will hopefully create some crafty corners to get lost in, and fiber artist Emma Balder might bring her geodesic dome that made an appearance at CRUSH WALLS two years ago.
A large part of Dark Palace’s art installations will be digital or technological in some way. Artist duo Chris Coleman and Laleh Mehran have made a name for themselves as digital engagers, who create art that straddles the line with science. Matt Barton — who made plants sing in an art installation last year — uses technology to reanimate things we have forgotten or overlooked. Denver Digerati, the organization who just put on SUPERNOVA digital animation festival, will probably flex its expansive network of motion film artists to project on the “voluminous maze” inside the National Western Complex. Collin Parson is more of a gamble since his work occasionally uses technology or digital additions but generally, he uses mirrors in interesting ways.
The final element that we are expecting at Meow Wolf’s Dark Palace festival is a performative one. With Rainbow Militia, Werk Out Palace and The Girls of Denver Kiki Sessions on the roster, there is bound to be some costumed actors and dancers. Rainbow Militia is a different kind of circus troupe, with aerialists, stilt walkers, acrobats and writers who create worlds for the performers to exist in, like in their recent performance inside the Denver Rock Drill, Zabiti. It would not be unusual for a Meow Wolf event to have “hidden” actors as well. In the Santa Fe exhibition, The House of Eternal Return, actors roam around the rooms and interact with unsuspecting visitors.
The other artists on the list are a little more uncertain — Ethnograph, Jon Medina and Psychopomps. But that’s the beauty of a Meow Wolf event, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to see and experience until you’re in the thick of it.
Meow Wolf Dark Palace will take place November 22 through 24 at the National Western Complex. For more information and to get tickets, check out the Meow Wolf Dark Palace Facebook page.