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Factory Experience

Megan Rossman

A gypsy fortune teller’s dim parlor sets the scene. A fireplace shimmers on one side as visitors investigate witchy furniture and decor, passing beneath a huge jewel-encrusted moon suspended from the ceiling. The parlor leads to a hallway with four elaborately painted, tarot card-themed doors. Behind each one is an immersive wonderland that engages the senses through visual, auditory, and tactile features. 

This 3,000 square-foot Beyond experience—created by local artist collaborative Factory Obscura— transforms one of Oklahoma City’s numerous warehouses just south of downtown into a funhouse escape.

A different experience awaits through each door. Instead of merely looking at art on a wall, guests are immersed in it. They wander through passages that alternately resemble sets from sci-fi outer space fantasy films, an undersea forest, a mirrored carnival-esque room, and a winding winter-bare forest of whispering trees and flickering candles that leads to a final scene of eerie red light oscillating over a body in a stark white bedroom, crimson branches blooming from the figure’s chest and crawling up the walls and ceiling.

The whole exhibit is like walking through a collective dream—although there are a few hiccups. Guests are supposed to exit the building at the end of each room, walk through the parking lot and re-enter the admission area to go to the next room, which is disruptive to the experience. Also, the building doesn’t currently have working plumbing, although there are porta-potties outside. While those things could be improved, they’re not deal breakers when it comes to enjoying Beyond. And with a permanent installation and gift store opening in 2019 at Wayne Coyne’s nearby arts center The Womb, this is still an early stage in Factory Obscura’s ongoing experiential art evolution in Oklahoma City. 

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