After spending a few years in the Los Angeles area, moving back to my hometown of Denver, CO seemed like a step back from the major immersive art and theater scene of the West Coast. I’ve struggled to turn my own opinion around that Denver has, since I left, turned into quite the entertaining scene as well. I didn’t have to look far as I had heard rumblings about some artists getting together at the Museum of Outdoor Arts in the suburb of Englewood. Here is where I experienced Natura Obscura.
Part art exhibit, part augmented reality/part sensory overload. Natura Obscura is a collection of six installations at the museum that all interconnect. Put together by one of Denver’s leading immersive groups, Prismajic, this experience allows you to explore several rooms filled with color, sounds, textures, text, and animals, both real and imaginary. Themes between rooms continue like multiple owls throughout as well as quotes from popular authors and spiritual leaders. There is a true sense of wonder and exploration throughout.
The Museum of Outdoor Arts isn’t really a big space, but Prismajic takes advantage of the intimate space. I don’t necessarily mean the space feels claustrophobic, but you do feel surrounded by this unnatural forest they’ve created. It’s 100% immersive but it doesn’t feel like any place I’ve ever been before. It’s almost as if I’m playing the role of Alice and I’ve walked into Wonderland. In fact, there are even homages to Alice and her wacky friends in The Cabinet of Curiosities and Impossibilities room.
So what did I take away from this experience? I was asked to breathe deep, take everything in, become one with the nature around me, and find myself not moving against the flow of the earth. I allowed the sounds to wash over me, the imagery to wow me, and the motivation to keep moving forward. It’s a beautiful message that feels spiritual but yet not preachy. Despite the fact that this is an experience for all ages, I think adults will get more out of it, especially with how hectic our lives can be at times.
Natura Obscura will be running through April 28th at Englewood’s Museum of Outdoor Arts (1000 Englewood Pkwy., Englewood, CO 80110) and will cost you anywhere from $10 to $20. To get more information and buy tickets in advance check out NaturaObscura.org.