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Win free tickets to Meow Wolf Grapevine at its preview installation Lærnü

Lounge chairs at Meow Wolf.
Shafkat Anowar
The Dallas Morning News
Meow Wolf Grapevine's new installation features purple lounge chairs where visitors can experience a sound bath and look at their reflection.

Inside Grapevine Mills sit five purple and white pyramid structures under the banner “Lærnü.” It’s a strange sight that makes several passersby pause.

It’s Meow Wolf Grapevine’s first installation, a preview of what’s to come when the entire site opens in July.

The aesthetic can only be described as a mashup of "Black Mirror" and "Stranger Things’" Starcourt Mall in an intergalactic dimension.

“This is our MLM creative wellness experience,” said Francesca Searer, a creative producer with Meow Wolf. “Through this, we're trying to get you into a more relaxed state to express your more creative self.”

MLM, or multilevel marketing, has often been a guise for businesses that are pyramid schemes, a reference that seems to be woven into the installation with its geometric obsession with pyramids.

The four outer pyramid structures house different audio and visual experiences. Three of the structures encase purple lounge chairs where visitors can lie down. Leaning back, visitors are enveloped in a “sound bath” while surrounded by iridescent reflections of themselves along the walls that are lined with LED lights.

It feels like the setting of a therapy session in outer space with your alien psychiatrist.

The audio content is a gentle, beautiful sound, Searer said. “It’s a very meditative experience, calming.”

A pyramid structure at the Meow Wolf Grapevine installation.
Shafkat Anowar
The Dallas Morning News
A pyramid structure at the Meow Wolf Grapevine installation is designed to be wheelchair accessible and inviting to young children.

The fourth outer structure, which looks like a mini psychedelic home, is an open space designed to be wheelchair accessible and welcoming to children who can play inside.

The reflective surfaces throughout the installation make it clear that there’s a main character in this strange, multidimensional world: you. Visitors are asked to see and consider multiple versions of themselves, refracted, enlarged, miniature and amorphous.

“We're all about reflections and reflectivity and looking back into yourselves in multiple ways,” Searer said.

That theme plays out on the four sides of the installation’s central pyramid. On one side, viewers can lean into a concave “portal” made up of an unknown material that looks like dozens of shattered pieces of glass. On another, you can look into a screen that shows a spinning, fractal version of your reflection.

Art pieces from artists who will have installations at the final Meow Wolf Grapevine exhibition.
Shafkat Anowar
The Dallas Morning News
A display case shows work by three local sculptors Dan Lam, Morgan Grasham and Yana Payusova and pamphlets by artist and social media influencer Aiden Arata.

Another side features work from three local sculptors who will have installations in the final Meow Wolf exhibition. The pyramid-shaped case holds Dan Lam’s miniature drippy sculptures, Morgan Grasham’s furry taxidermy-inspired creature named Gretchen, and Yana Payusova’s three sculptures that blend painting and ceramics. The display also includes two pamphlets designed by artist and social media influencer Aiden Arata that reflect the creative wellness theme.

The last side of the central pyramid features a miniature claw machine that holds shiny blue, green, purple and silver eggs with a sign that says “PEEEEENCH!” Visitors can put in a quarter and try their hand at grabbing an elusive egg.

Each egg holds a fortune and a custom-designed sticker by an artist who will be featured in the official exhibition. Some also hold free tickets to the official exhibition opening in July.

So there's over 100 different fortunes that are possible to attain to learn more about yourselves if you win one of the magical eggs,” said Will Heron, local artist and Meow Wolf artist liaison.

Jason Roberts.
Shafkat Anowar
The Dallas Morning News
Jason Roberts, 4, of Louisville watches a metal claw machine at Meow Wolf's installation at Grapevine Mills mall.

Literally and figuratively, the Meow Wolf installation has many Easter eggs for visitors to discover. Much of the installation’s meaning is shrouded in secrecy, even the name of Meow Wolf’s fictional wellness brand “Laernü.”

We want people to read into it a lot more, different ways of looking at it: backwards, forwards, up ways, down ways, multiple ways,” Searer said.

There is not a single way to interpret the installation and it seems that’s how Meow Wolf likes it.

As North Texans wait for the full exhibition to open in July, they can visit the new preview installation and ponder what it means to “Discover a nü you.”

Meow Wolf Grapevine’s immersive art experience “The Real Unreal” is opening July 14 at Grapevine Mills mall.

Arts Access is an arts journalism collaboration powered by The Dallas Morning News and KERA.

This community-funded journalism initiative is funded by the Better Together Fund, Carol & Don Glendenning, City of Dallas OAC, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Eugene McDermott Foundation, James & Gayle Halperin Foundation, Jennifer & Peter Altabef and The Meadows Foundation. The News and KERA retain full editorial control of Arts Access’ journalism.

Elizabeth Myong is KERA’s Arts Collaborative Reporter. She came to KERA from New York, where she worked as a CNBC fellow covering breaking news and politics. Before that, she freelanced as a features reporter for the Houston Chronicle and a modern arts reporter for Houstonia Magazine.