Meow Wolf, a Santa Fe-based art collective, explores the persistence of collective memory in their deeply introspective exhibit, Moving Still, at the Front in New Orleans. A twelve-person-core collective of artists, Meow Wolf has developed a following around their sensorial and immersive installations that have previously taken the form of a 75-foot ship from the future, The Due Return (2011), built in the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, and a misshapen world of glittery cities, Glitteropolis (2011–12), at NMSU in Las Cruces. Moving Still, Meow Wolf’s first exhibit in New Orleans, was created by collective members Golda Blaise, Corvas K. Brinkerhoff II, Vince Kadlubek, Leo Brown, Mat Crimmins, Justin Crowe, and Jake Snyder. It is a reflection on the group’s mutual history and how the memories of their time together can persist.
In a collective, there is an essential dissolving of the individual in order to be part of the shared experience. One of the benefits of this dissolution is the creation of a group culture—and a group memory. Meow Wolf explores their history in the first two rooms of the Front. A timeline reveals important moments in the collective’s past, and short texts are interconnected by dark gray lines. For example, there is the creation story of Meow Wolf: “Birthed from previous social and creative incarnation (Meg’s house, Warehouse 21, The Quadraplex) Meow Wolf comes into being on the night of February 1st, 2008. 10 people attended the first meeting, discussed splitting the cost of the space on 2nd Street, and chose the name ‘Meow Wolf’ by pulling it randomly out of a hat.” While these texts are interesting—especially when Meow Wolf explores the fractures and failures of working in a group context—at times the two rooms become overly nostalgic and didactic. Videos projected onto the wall show past installations, and mementos from different members are placed throughout the room. The timeline ends with a short text stating that Nucleotide (2013) was the last group installation with David Loughridge, a member who died tragically in 2013.