The PY1 Pyramid in Arlington Is Even Cooler Than We Thought

Didn't Prince sing about this?EXPAND
Didn't Prince sing about this?
courtesy PY1
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Earlier in December, a mysterious pyramid popped up in Arlington’s Globe Life Park parking lot. And while pyramids are all automatically mysterious, PY1 is a creation by Lune Rouge Entertainment, a production company founded by Cirque du Soleil creator Guy Laliberté. Even with that flashy calling card, the space exceeded our expectations.

The 81-foot-tall pyramid allows visitors to sit and watch shows, like the 45-minute Through the Echoes, which consists of largely abstract images projected onto the walls simultaneously, creating an enveloping 360-degree experience. The structure will be up until Mar. 1, and tickets are $38 at arlington.org.

The images are surreal, on a time zone only captured by Dali’s melting clocks. They vary from what appears like lightning or the inside of a fish tank to what can only be described as the unique view belonging to a dreaming fairy.

As images expand and swirl around the space while laser lights shower the empty air in between, the booming electronic music’s bass pounds through the seats and onto your crotch without your consent, and it might as well; the event is itself royal (mind) fuck, the kind of place you’d have to take a yellow submarine and some mushrooms to get to.

It’s the inside of a firework explosion, or like walking inside a Pink Floyd song. Even at its least exciting moments, it’s still like stepping inside those mesmerizing old Windows screensavers. If you concentrate enough on the pictures, you feel like you might finally be rid of your fear of flying, or gain the ability to recollect your own birth in detail or a past life in the Stone Age.

The vantage point of a fish. PY1 can be a giant aquarium.EXPAND
The vantage point of a fish. PY1 can be a giant aquarium.
courtesy PY1

And despite the event's exuberant visual nature, hardly a phone is seen trying to capture the magic on video. Ultimately, PY1 is more in line with a visit to the movie theater than to a laser light show, though it does host after hours 21-and-up dance parties, and an early dance party for children. Then, the pairing of visuals and lasers is meant to enhance the ambiance rather than become it. And the space’s potential and versatility are precisely the reason that we’re sighing with “What a time to be alive” appreciation.

Just like Dreamscape, the immersive VR experience that places viewers inside a movie, PY1 is also pretty cool in itself; but it’s the birth of a new ambitious standard in entertainment that’s ultimately most exciting.

In Dreamscape’s case, it’s the idea that the new technology will eventually become so commonplace and so expected that all past films are retrofitted with it — just as the oldest of films were converted to DVD and available for streaming — evolving until we can “walk into” and participate in our own favorite movies, allowing us to touch the iceberg that sunk the Titanic or ride our bikes across the moon with ET.

PY1 likewise opens the door to an endless potential of dream scenarios: The what-if they added a screen and on the floor as well, like Dreamscape. Or to imagine the future of live performance or art, with a performer projected all around us. And in that way, it accomplishes more than it meant, by planting a blazing spark in our imaginations before, during and after visiting, leaving us wondering and excited for the future.

A scene inside the setup for PY1.EXPAND
A scene inside the setup for PY1.
Mike Brooks

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