What is happening with The Source?

Story explained: An interview with the Creative Director of Omega Mart about The Source, Dramcorp, and what’s next.

Diving into Meow Wolf lore, like any story that has been built upon for decades, can be intimidating, but its exhibits also make it possible for guests to explore without restriction. Interested in getting to know a character more? That can be your angle. Curious about every single Omega Mart product? Check them out.

A major part of the Meow Wolf lore is The Source, which, plainly, is cosmic energy strong enough to power civilizations. It guides people’s moods, vibrations, directions, creative energy, and so forth as unbridled and undefinable creative potential. In the current iteration of the Meow Wolf narrative, The Source well itself has been contained and not accessible for years now. I spoke with Kent Caldwell, Creative Director of Omega Mart, to understand a little bit more about The Source and its impacts on the larger Meow Wolf landscape.

A variety of Omega Mart produce on the shelves, including Happles.
Photo by Atlas Media

Before getting too deep into it all, I asked Caldwell about his own background and how he got started working with Meow Wolf. He spoke about his years with Cirque Du Soleil, an epic and theatrical circus. Having experience in artist collaborations, including working with composers, lighting designers and other performers to implement their collective visions, Caldwell reflected, “I started feeling the immersive nature of what it's like to build a world like that and then put it on a stage.”

While he developed a relationship with Meow Wolf in the early 2010s, it wasn’t until the pandemic that he transitioned out of Cirque Du Soleil and into the Meow Wolf sphere. I asked Caldwell about his own perspective on art-building in the Meow Wolf universe. He explained, “When I first heard about Meow Wolf and what they were doing [back in 2016], I saw it as them giving this platform for installation art to be so accessible and joyous and not behind this academic barrier that's hard to understand - I was just captivated from the get go.”

It’s true. Much of Meow Wolf’s intentions is making art an enjoyable adventure for everyone, regardless of your knowledge of art. It doesn’t feel contained to an institutional backdrop - it exists as an experience, a wonder, an invitation to step into somewhere mesmerizing and otherworldly - the inside of an artist's wildest dreams. What’s even more compelling about this Meow Wolf approach is, once again, the meta narratives within these dreamscapes, like the current Omega Mart story of Marin Dram, who has been missing for a while now. 

A room with wooden walls and floors, a chair in the center, bookshelves on one side, and a computer desk setup on the other.
Photo by Atlas Media

Caldwell elaborated, “We have this company - Dramcorp - that seemed amazingly successful at harnessing Source energy, which, when we say ‘Source energy’, we're talking about unlimited creative potential. From what we know right now, in the current state of this storyline, the place where the well exists is currently under lockdown and it is controlled and access has been restricted. Caldwell elaborated, “That's caused a lot of tension and strife in our characters. It's caused a faction of young people to kind of rise up and speak out against that.” 

If you’re at Omega Mart and you venture into the Forked Earth, Marin’s disappearance and this tension shows up through a beautiful space called “The Projected Desert” where the walls have animations and missing posters of Marin Dram - which acts as a first clue to something strange. Caldwell explained more, “If you notice Cecelia Dram is CEO of Dramcorp, you’ll notice that they share the same last name.” He continued, “There's computers and narrative ephemera in mailboxes that are memos to characters back and forth. The rabbit hole goes deep. If you visit the Factory in Omega Mart, there's this large arched steel door in one corner. You can vaguely see The Source Well behind it in a video projection. This is literally the place that Dramcorp has put on lockdown in their restricting access to the Well. I'm sure people who come have that question of, ‘Okay, so what's next?’”

Striped projections of yellow and gray color the walls and ceiling, multiple walkways are open in front of you.
Photo by Kate Russell

Leave it up to the Meow Wolf artists and storytellers to scheme such an elaborate plot, keeping viewers engaged and committed to finding out what is next. While the mystery of it all is intriguing and a fun way to engage with the art, there’s also a subliminal message that underlies all of this. Caldwell proposed, “I think the story here really plays a lot with the idea of, 'what happens when creative potentiality is commodified?’”.

He continued, “It's almost a philosophical question: for creativity to be commodified and controlled for so long, what does that do for a creative process? To a society? If everything is extracted, packaged and sold, is there space for wild, free-thinking? Is there any space for an individual to feel like they have a creative voice? To feel empowered to use it?” This is what the fictional resistance fighters are afraid of and what they are fighting against - this limiting of The Source, the very thing that nourishes all unlimited creativity. 

The fractal trees glow orange and pink in parts of the Monolith Village.
Photo by Atlas Media

It poses the question: what is the impact of restricting The Source on the characters of the Forked Earth and the people who come to experience Omega Mart? Caldwell said it clearly, “We want people to leave our exhibit and feel like they too can ask: is everything around me ‘art’? Am I art? We want to influence a mind-state shift that expands what is and what’s possible.” In many ways, Caldwell and Meow Wolf show what is possible with unlimited creative potential through its exhibits - and explores the dystopian nightmare of what happens when we are physically restricted from that sort of freedom, a world that feels all too familiar for many of us.

Keep your eyes peeled for more to the Omega Mart story…