Meow Wolf Denver (Convergence Station) in Collaboration with Turner Inc.
Role: Collaborating Artist, Team Lead, Creative Lead, Producer, Co-Programmer, Lead Fabricator, Lead Designer
Medium: Interactive installation room, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Teensy, various physical fabrication
Venue: Meow Wolf Denver (permanent)
Armon Naeini, Blake Gambel, Charles Candon, Harrison Bolin, Maria Deslis, Sky Johnson, Sofia Rubio-Topete
Austin S. Willike
Galactic Autoquarium is a permanent installation room for the upcoming Meowwolf Denver. Meowwolf is a nationally renown immersive art collective and interactive exhibition based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, recently expanding to Denver, Colorado. The installation, Galactic Autoquarium, is a mirror room of robotic fish swimming in ‘water’ within wall-mounted fish domes that are scattered all along the walls. Most walls are lined with mirrors, the ceiling is open and decorated with floating aquatic, celestial coral, a galactic infinity mirror fish pond, and starry lights. The floor is lit with light patterns reminiscent of water reflections. The two walls without mirrors consist of a painted mural of a celestial fish body projecting a rainbow onto the adjacent wall, which has mapped, animated projection visuals on it.
Galactic Autoquarium is a fourth-dimensional, intergalactic residential community of robotic fish deities that have existed since the dawn of time. Their historic sightings can be found all throughout the multiverse and its countless iterations of earth—in hieroglyphs, paintings, fossils, and so on. These Robofish Overlords also have hidden wisdoms to share with us humans, and through their residential talk boxes, we can communicate with them. However, to find the answers to their cryptic messages, we must venture through the multiverse at Convergence Station to unlock their secrets.
The concept of the Robofish and room as a whole were inspired by a love for dissonance between form and content. These fish are supposed to be all-knowing, God-like entities, yet have such a naïve and childlike look to them as animatronic, toy-like fish. Yet, there is still a juxtaposing whimsy to them through their seemingly physics-defying ability to swim in “water” as electronics. That as well with the grandiose music, lights, visuals and oceanic/celestial aura of the room, and the interactive riddles and mystery within the Robofish lore, the viewer can’t help but to suspend themselves in the subtle and gleeful absurdity yet earnest awe of this space.
This is also a gamified space meant to be layered in its enjoyment, whether it's just appreciating the room for its aesthetic, engaging with its lore, or interacting with the fish and exploring other parts of Convergence Station in the process. The riddles are meant to have the guests visit other artist rooms in order to solve them; we wanted to highlight the amazing works of our fellow Colorado artists and have their works appreciated while guests engaged with the art.