By: Jeff C. Carter
When I went to OMEGA MART, I had no idea what was in store for me. It is more than just a supermarket – it is a psychedelic chimera that fuses art, satire, immersive theater, and ARGs. Summarizing such a surreal and mind-bending experience is a challenge. I spent several hours exploring OMEGA MART and still could not see it all.
It begins with a simple shopping trip. OMEGA MART beckons customers inside with fluorescent lighting and well-bleached smiles. The shelves are galleries of hilarious and disturbing products that satirize consumerism, and hint at a company gone mad - and possibly, a tear in the fabric of reality. Most of the visitors appeared content to browse the displays of mutant fruit, cracker-spackle, soft-serve meats, and the dizzying array of pills and sodas designed to cure your modern ills while invoking existential dread. If you open the right freezer, or peer into a tee-shirt rack, however, you will find an entrance to a larger world.
The Dramcorp factory behind the OMEGA MART façade fills most of the 52,000 square foot exhibit. Dramcorp is a truly multi-dimensional environment, with secret doors, hidden passages, spiral slides, puzzle games, and exhibits focused on music and digital projections. This high-tech jungle gym provides a lot to explore and experience, but there is a deeper narrative behind the madness, one involving corporate conspiracy, missing people, hacktivists, alien beings and an entire multiverse of lore. I highly recommend that visitors pick up an access (or "boop") card. These RFID cards activate wall consoles and computer terminals that will guide you through an evolving storyline and a series of interactive challenges.
OMEGA MART and Dramcorp employees are standing by to give you helpful hints, but there is no time limit on your visit. If you need a break from climbing, crawling, talking to robots, or having your human essence extracted, you will find plenty of ways to relax. Feel free to watch a music video, get lost in a journal, chill in a trippy lounge or enjoy a custom cocktail at the secret bar.
Frankly, the exhibit is overwhelming. I was visiting while on vacation, and I quickly grew anxious that I wouldn’t be able to take it all in. It didn’t seem very interactive or immersive at first, because I hadn’t found the signal within the noise. Once the mystery eventually revealed itself, my friends and I spent the entire night going back and forth, seeking answers in our quest. This was an exciting adventure, but it was also a guarantee that we would see nearly every aspect of this world. It was overwhelming in the best way – the environment, the props, and the digital elements combined to create such an intense level of detail that it became a truly immersive reality.
Omega Mart is the second installation from Meow Wolf, a collective of artists founded in Santa Fe, NM. Over 300 artists brought this new exhibit to life in 2021. It is more than just a jumble of Instagram opportunities or a walk-through episode of Rick n’ Morty; it deals with themes of consumerism, corporate greed, and environmental disaster, all with a self-aware wink at the business of selling childlike wonder to full-grown tourists.
Monday - Sunday: 10:00AM -12:00AM
3215 S. Rancho Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89102