On my recent trip to Las Vegas I had dinner (twice) in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. To get to and from the restaurants I had to walk through the lobby. It stopped me in my tracks.
It’s hard not to be jaded after your tenth trip to adult Disneyland. Bigger fountains, more lights, yadda, yadda.
What got me about the Cosmopolitan Lobby was the subtlety.
Yes, in Vegas, a colonnade of three story LCD towers is subtle. Especially since they don’t strobe, they don’t squirt and they don’t scream for your attention.
What they do, do (and well) is make you feel ever so slightly disoriented. Like slipping through the looking glass. I felt small in the dark shiny lobby. Small and almost invisible. I’m sure that was intentional. Suddenly I was detached, a voyeur. The shadowy images on the screens are life sized and so lifelike, there were moments when my brain almost insisted there were actual people in there – a cast of backlit strutting nudists inside the columns.
Then at the precise moment it seems too lifelike to be a video, the humans take on giant proportions (Eat Me!) and you realize your mind has played a trick on you. Delightfully so.
I’m not sure why I love this parlor trick/mind game so much. Some of my dinner companions could not wait to get the hell out of the lobby. They pronounced the columns and the images creepy and disturbing.
I, meanwhile, wanted to hang out. a little longer. Even after the loop repeated, my brain still argued, somewhat petulantly with what I was seeing. The reflections on the glossy black floor begged to be cast by a tangible entity. Then they shattered my illusion with the slow press of a giant hand.
There were other images as well. The library, which seemed straight out of Hogwarts, was also a treat.
I took my photo in the ceiling. I looked a million miles away. Me, on the other side of the looking glass.
I’m happy to drop here, if this can be compared to acid. It’s a trip, minus the chemicals and risk of brain damage.
I liked it. I can’t wait to go back.
Check out the video. Not really the same as being there. But it’s a bit of what I saw, when I was there.