OmegaMart looks the way everyone expects a grocery store to look. The shelves are fully stocked with a hundred different things. The hand-made ‘OmegaMart’ sign matches the signage of surrounding shops, and the pleasant Muzak-like sounds create a familiar mind-numbing environment for shoppers. An OmegaMart associate wearing an OmegaMart apron standing behind checkout stand even greets shoppers with a smile.
The catch is, OmegaMart is not a grocery store. It’s an original work of art. But this monumental installation isn’t your typical art, either. Simply by stepping inside, curious shoppers help create the experience that makes OmegaMart special. What else would you expect from The City Different and our friends at the avant garde art collective, Meow Wolf?
During the 2011/2012 school year, Meow Wolf’s CHIMERA Educational Outreach Program worked with over 1000 elementary school students to design products for commercial reproduction and display. The hands-on project gave students the chance to be on the producer side of consumerism by creating 150 original designs for OmegaMart’s displays and faux-groceries.
Some products are simply empty boxes or recycled containers with originally designed sticker-labels. Other products are cast-plaster sculptures painted and labeled with repetitive consistency. OmegaMart also stocks with finest oxymorons like ‘Locally-Nationalized Produce’ and ‘Organically Recommended Meats.’ Tongue-in-cheek murals surround shoppers, and fake handmade display cases and freezers line the walls. Many collected items from actual grocery stores – ‘Sale!’ and ‘ Big Savings!’ signs – hang from the ceiling alongside humorous propaganda posters.
Laughter can be heard up and down the aisles as customers explore the store, inspect items, and even buy one or two ‘products’ before they leave. The groceries may be fake, but they can still be purchased with real money!
Come experience OmegaMart‘s funhouse reflection of daily life, open Wednesday through Sunday, 12pm-6pm at 1636 St. Michael’s Dr. from now until September 23rd, so Interested in art events? Find more here!