Whimsy and thought-provoking art installations are coming to the Mancos Valley this weekend for the Purple Fox Conundrum.
It’s an outdoor theater and art experience, taking over the Sacred Song Farm a few miles south of town on Oct. 4-5. Inspired by Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf, the Purple Fox Conundrum will ask audience members to think about the relationship between technology and the natural world – and give them a chance to loosen up with a dose of the wacky.
“We often get really serious and involved in our lives, and so (we’re) giving audience members an opportunity as adults and kids to be playful and creative,” said Sarah Syverson, executive producer of the Purple Fox Conundrum.
The idea for the event first came about after Syverson visited Meow Wolf, an immersive, multimedia art installation in Santa Fe.
“And walked out of it thinking, wow, that was really awesome and interesting, and what would it be like to do something like that outside in the Mancos Valley in a more wildlands and agricultural environment that’s unique to the Mancos Valley, with the whimsy and wildness of the Mancos artists and performers that live in the area and region,” she said.
After observing some other immersive theatrical experiences, she and her fellow organizers began talking seriously about making the Purple Fox Conundrum happen. Initially, they were planning on producing the show in 2020, but it seemed to come together sooner, Syverson said.
Along with Syverson, the event’s producers include Margaret Paradise as the creative director, Liz Bohm as set director, and Kellie Pettyjohn as story director.
The event will be open Friday and Saturday evening at Sacred Song Farm, a ranch at the base of Menefee Mountain. Audience members will wander along a 1-mile course through grass and sagebrush, passing through portals and pausing at various stops along the way, Syverson said.
The stops will feature a wide range of artwork, performers, and vignettes from about 30 artists. Many of the installations ask questions about the role technology should play in our world today – and how it should interrelate with the natural world.
“Pondering the questions of what does technology mean to me in my life, and what does nature mean to me in my life, and what do those two things together mean to me,” Syverson said. “And without judgment one way or the other, because we could not have done this production without the technology available to us.”
Audience members will drop by the Church of the Cell Phone and listen to a sermon by Preacher Siri.
They will also meet two mock food critics, who will ask attendees to compare two delicacies – one being a store-bought Concord grape jam on Wonder Bread and the other local plum jam on artisanal bread, the more “natural” option.
Some of the stops will feature “Alice in Wonderland”-style twists, encouraging audience members to shift perspectives. Artist-participant Don Crock built a replica chair four times the size of its original model, while the “Wilderness of Mirrors and Portraits” exhibit will have animals in 18th century garb but accompanied by contemporary objects.
“A very tactile, very sensory-oriented experience,” Syverson said.
The event will take place from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, and from 3-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. It’s currently sold out, but there may be opportunities to volunteer for two hours on Saturday or Sunday in exchange for a comp ticket – those interested in doing so can email Sarah Syverson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event is not recommended for children 5 and younger. For more information, visit the Purple Fox Conundrum website.