Meow Wolf at SITE Santa Fe’s Time-Lapse Opening
I am five minutes late, walking through the doors of SITE Santa Fe’s new show, Time-Lapse, to see Meow Wolf and the merry pranksters perform in the Time Capsule Lounge. In the lounge, oversized beanbag chairs litter big spots of royal blue carpet; it’s a little slice of Jetson’s heaven, offered up to visitors as a place to watch movies, read up on time-travel, chill out, pass time.
DJ Dirt Girl, polka-dotted with enormous eyeballs on her tights, keeps time with a deep rhythmic beat. Her electronic pulse will zone in and out for the next two hours, summoning a womb experience. Christopher appears at the podium and stands alongside a projected image of Jacob Ruisdael’s drawing Jewish Cemetery (c.1660). Reading his own analysis, he recites like an archaic professor boring his students: “On time we rest all things.” I’m not sure how to contextualize this but it seems profound; perhaps I just learned something I already knew.
On the opposite wall are George Melies’ super-imposed hyper humans cavorting on the moon in Trip to the Moon. Not part of Meow Wolf’s imaginative enterprise, it nonetheless aligns with a general frenzy and displacement of time’s plodding. Three black cat-suited women sit cross-legged at a bench, working an assembly line.
The first intently cuts white yarn to six inches. She places the skeins in a neat pile. The second ties these intervals together, uniting a whole into what I interpret as a timeline. The third woman unties the knot that her predecessor just made, while the fourth interrupts occasionally. A simulated past, present, and future, these black cat-suits institute time only to untie it.
Enclosed by an indefinite audience, the flickerings of Melies’ dated film, the voice of adolescent pontificators, and the actions of female timekeepers, I conclude that throughout time, no great mind — including Meow Wolf’s collective — has grasped this tricky conceptual nexus.
An interruption of tonight’s scheduled programming:
Evoking Big Brother, Meow Wolf takes over the big screen with a neo-punk futuristic video. Benji speaks in high-pitched tones, voice-altered, about cultural identity and feeling “post-geographic.” Meow Wolf just coined a hyper-chic term.
An IM conversation plays on screen:
“I’m concerned time is dead”
“I’m skyping u”
With this amendment to Nietzsche, the film continues in a hyperreal aesthetic that I thought only the Japanese could envision.
As the climax of Meow Wolf’s rogue evening, a couple of friends are hanging out on 12/21/12, celebrating the Mayan prophecy. The first scene plays like a broken record, about two minutes on repeat. Just when I think that’s the point, the scene changes and repeats its new sequence several times. Then again and again, each for shorter intervals until the actors become so self-aware, that they think time is actually lapsing. It’s the repetition that makes the pretty brunette maniacally scream, “Is this death?” Another girl stomps her foot and announces, “I refuse to die!” After the of cacophony of anxious hipsters disassociate time from time, their crashing plane ceases and the actors calmly walk out of the cushioned Time Capsule Lounge.
On time we rest, and SITE Santa Fe is closing for the night.