Updated August 12, 2020 - 8:02 am
A new grocery store is coming to Las Vegas.
And while grocery stores in the past five months have served as conduits for discussion on the meanings of essentiality and public health, the Omega Mart will serve as a physical portal to the otherworldly.
The new Meow Wolf experience, set to open at Area15 in early 2021, will be an interactive installation that is equal parts fun house, choose-your-own-adventure story and social commentary on American consumerism.
“Our guests enter a bright poppy store and realize that things are not as they seem,” says Marsi Gray, senior creative producer of Omega Mart. “There is a huge line of products that support the storytelling and lead to portals into other worlds.”
Meow Wolf opened its flagship experience, House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2016. The House invites guests into the two-story home of the Selig family, who have mysteriously vanished. Guests can pore through the plethora of documents, home videos and newspaper clippings to solve the mystery of their disappearance, or crawl headfirst through the washing machine to explore the alienlike multiverse that lies beyond.
In Las Vegas, guests will be welcome to shop the 52,000-square-foot Omega Mart for products such as Mammal Liquid, Plausible Deniability Laundry Detergent and What Is the True Essence of Butter?
The more than 150 products are bizarre, but also real. Customers can purchase a jar of Nut Free Salted Peanuts (Hint: it’s salt) or the sultry Salt After Dark (Hint: also salt).
“Essentially, there’s something special that makes these products really appealing. They figured out what drives our desire and how to maximize it,” Gray explains. “There are mysteries to unpack, should you want to.”
One of those mysteries is the uprising of individuals against the big-box store. Another is the many access points from the grocery store to the dimensions beyond.
While the all-ages attraction sets the scene for open-world play, Gray says the art experience addresses something deeper.
“We were talking about the idea of fresh or important storylines and couldn’t conceive of going into a market like Las Vegas without digging into consumerism,” Gray says. “We’re not coming in with grand sweeping commentary on consumerism, but taking … the opportunity to peek all around at the different aspects of what it means to us as a society.”
Like other big-box stores, Omega Mart will be home to a pharmacy, where guests can order themed cocktails and mocktails.
“It’s really playful and tongue-in-cheek,” Gray says. “The ‘House’ has a precisely woven narrative, and we wanted to push it further. It’s up to the guests how deep down the rabbit hole they want to go.”