Today’s post is going to be mostly a photo dump, but I need to preface it with a disclaimer.
DISCLAIMER: If you are ever planning on going to Otherworld in Columbus, Ohio and want to experience it with your own eyes, click away now lest ye be spoiled.
Otherworld is an immersive art installation in a decrepit, run-down shopping center on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. It opened to the public in 2019 and I was supposed to meet my friend Michelle there that summer. But then plans fell through (I’m pretty sure it was my fault – I think Cedar Point happened instead!) and then COVID happened and even though they eventually did reopen during the height of the pandemic, I wasn’t in a rush to be indoors with a bunch of people immersing themselves in touchable art installations, you know what I’m saying, chingu?
I was really nervous though because this place was originally billed as TEMPORARY so I thought for sure I’d miss the chance. But when Henry and I had decided to do a Columbus daytrip for a vegan luncheon, I looked it up and saw that it was still open!! Henry mumbled, “Whatever you want to do,” and I made reservations for 11AM that Saturday. Woo!
(I still feel bad that I didn’t get to go with Michelle, but she did eventually go so I’m glad about that!)
Henry hates art, culture, fun, aestheticism, so he was REALLY looking forward to this!
We got there about 20 minutes before our time slot (actually even earlier than that but we sat in the car for a bit). Luckily, the front desk dude was like THAT IS OK and didn’t put us in a TOO EARLY triage cage or anything. He was like “ENJOY!” and let us loose. I am really glad we didn’t wait until exactly 11 because the crowd levels were perfect at this time, and after about an hour it really started to get congested. If it had been like the whole time, we would not have been able to enjoy ourselves at all because this place really is a STOP AND DO SHIT kind of joint.
First of all, regardless of the blacklights making it difficult, there were so many excellent photo ops! And things to sit on, crawl through, step on, etc.! Once Henry realized that this place was more of a sensory playground then a stuffy art shack, he relaxed and started pushing buttons. “IF YOU PRESS THIS, IT SHOOTS AIR DOWN AT THE PEOPLE IN THAT OTHER ROOM” he explained as he pushed a button and pointed to a surveillance screen. Henry likes having opportunities to fuck with people so he now he didn’t mind being in an art place.
I loved this hallway!!
This was on the ceiling of one of the rooms and there were plastic arcade guns that you could use to shoot at them. Henry liked this room I think – OMG I wonder if he was picturing my faces on the ceiling?!?!
DUDE THE LIGHTING IN THIS ROOM MADE EVERYTHING LOOK SEPIA AND I WAS OBSESSED.
We found out later on when we were revisiting this room that if you opened the coffin behind me, it would slowly turn the room back into color and there were inflatable flowers along the windows of the room that would re-inflate – it was so cool. Hat tip to that lady who was totally telling her family the secret and not us. Glad we were there for it!
“Henry! We shoul—–”
“NO,” he cut me off before I could say that we should have this neon shit hanging from the attic ceiling. I think he was mildly panicked the whole time we were there because he could see the wheels turning in my dumb design head.
P.S. I appreciated that masks were still mandatory and that everyone was obeying the policy. I also appreciated the copious amounts of hand sanitizer stations considering how much forbidden touching was going on.
Wow. Now it just sounds like we were at a 1970s key party.
I just realized that there was no one there that I hated. Probably because we got there early enough. The assholes probably come later.
Literally the bedroom of my dreams.
There were little children watching Henry take this picture like “mom why is that child so big, I don’t understand.” I found out by accident that there was a secret passage under the bed! I found out by crawling through an opening in another room only to be spilled out into a mass of stuffed animals. Henry, who had actually followed me, said, “We’re under the bed,” and I was like “OH SHIT YOU’RE RIGHT. TAKE A PICTURE OF ME.”
I was really just living my best life here, you guys. It felt so good to just run from room to room and the best part is that there was no hard and fast rule with which to explore so you could loop around as much as you wanted, cut through different ways, etc. We kept returning to our favorite spots and I really feel that we got our money’s worth even though we only stayed for a little over an hour because the crowds started to pick up exponentially and it suddenly felt very stifling.
I feel like I really chose the correct mask to bring with me.
We actually got along pretty well the whole time! Except for when I was trying to take this picture and he got moving out of frame because he’s a Big Dumb.
When we first got there and entered the first hallway, I jokingly said, “Let’s start here” and pretended to walk into an open storage closet that was clearly not part of things. But then an hour later, we pushed our way through those magazine clippings up there and walked out of a locker right INTO THE STORAGE ROOM!!! Mind blown. Otherworld, you cray.
I look sad in all of my pictures because smiling feels weird under a mask. I never did get used to that part of it over these last two years.
This was another secret room!! I was kneeling in it because it was basically just a little crawl space.
Well, you can believe that after gallivanting around this outer space mind fuck, we were definitely ready to pig-out at Seitan’s Realm. We both hit the restrooms before leaving and on my way out, I passed a girl who gushed, “Cute purse!” and I was like “THANK YOU” and was going to ask her if she likes NCT127 because it’s a CHERRY BOMB purse specifically made to display NCT enamel pins, but I had no energy and probably she didn’t. It just really is a cute-looking purse regardless of Kpop stanning.
So, that’s Otherworld in a little over 1,000 words and way too many pictures (this wasn’t even all of them! I went easy on you guys). I do really want to go back again sometime while it still exists, maybe wrangle Corey and Janna to go with me?! AND THEN WE CAN EAT AT SEITAN’S REALM??