The Gyre Imagines The Possibility of Something More

Story explained: The Gyre and Mollusko Holdings inside Meow Wolf Denver.

In typical Meow Wolf fashion, its meta-verse nature of storytelling is finding itself colliding with real life issues of housing insecurity, political tensions and general societal despair. For creators of Meow Wolf, using these motifs only fuels interesting art in the form of wacky sci-fi worlds like Denver’s own epic Convergence Station and characters that imagine other possibilities beyond this realm. In this case, it feels especially relevant to shine light on The Gyre, a collective living space, which first came about six years ago, with Michael Wilson and Billiam Rodgers as Story Leads for C Street, the street where The Gyre exists. 

Much like most of the Meow Wolf landscape, the scope of these worlds are detailed, fantastical and run deep with decades of lore. I got to pick Wilson’s brain to better understand some of the choices made in The Gyre and Mollusko Holdings, what they symbolize and how they mirror our current reality. Wilson explains The Gyre as an “infinite apartment complex” that rejects the concept of rent altogether.

In The Gyre, Wilson elaborates, “People are immersed in a culture of no money and no rent, but instead invest in communal spaces and communal good - stories are currency. Share a memory in order to receive what you need - it’s a sort of form of mutual aid.” In The Gyre, there is a fairly simple outlook - no person should pay to live. But of course, for every utopian ideal, there is always a complete opposite response that comes from the outside.

Poster on a wall with a ramen noodle bowl inside Meow Wolf Denver
Photo by Nathan Hindman

In this case, the Mollusko, which actually get their name from mollusks, an invertebrate of a large phylum that includes clams, squid, slugs, etc., are the hyper capitalists that view corporate-owned property as their ideal. To truly understand the Mollusko, one must watch their commercials to see how they like to sell their big ideas. In this particular ad, this cartoonishly evil Mollusko exclaims the sentiment, “paying for shelter - it just feels right!”.

Wilson says, “We wanted these landlord characters to be villains, but we also wanted them to be buffoons. We wanted to make fun of ownership in this way - these characters who have a monopoly or control over something, but are wildly incapable and are easy to avoid and easy to undermine.”

To fully comprehend these buffoons, one must understand their place in The Gyre. When the Convergence first occurred and different worlds got plucked from their place in the multiverse, a multitude of neighborhoods were pulled in. The Mollusko lost power, as only a couple Mollusko got brought to C Street - so they no longer had any oversight over The Gyre. The Mollusko, once capitalist overlords, suddenly became a handful of dudes who wanted people to pay rent. They were outnumbered, yet persistent and annoying. 

a partially disassembled car with green light glowing from under it, in front of a building named The Gyre
Photo by Atlas Media

But their persistence doesn’t necessarily make them victorious. There are characters in The Gyre that banded together to completely destroy the power base of the Mollusko - and have won in many ways. In the present of this story, the Mollusko are defanged, though trying to manipulate the economy. 

It is the ever-present epic battle between a small minority of power-hungry clam entities and the infinite community-centered residents of The Gyre. No matter how many times The Mollusko try to trick residents’ memories into convincing them that they actually do want rent, the people of The Gyre remain resilient and powerful! 

Photo by Kate Major inside Meow Wolf Denver

What feels especially interesting about this narrative right now is its reflection of our world today. It is no secret that it is very expensive to live anywhere right now and that anyone can be impacted by this. The Gyre allows Meow Wolf participants of all backgrounds to come experience an imagined space where people don’t need to pay any actual currency to live in their homes, where they can witness a concept of an infinite apartment complex compiled of people all wanting to live collectively and using a barter system as community aid. It shows the possibility of a different world filled with characters who face similar problems as us and power-hungry entities who reflect our real life frustrations - often similarly pompous, overzealous and seem like they’re impossible to get rid of. But with or without The Mollusko’s presence, in The Gyre, this is where C-Street residents get to live in the home of their dreams - the possibilities are limitless.