As climate change has an increasingly significant effect worldwide, environmental protections are more important than ever, and one immersive art exhibit in New York City is looking at the issues in a whole new light. 

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On through January 2020, Arcadia Earth features interactive spaces with augmented and virtual reality, projection mapping, and more. Image: David Mitchell for Arcadia Earth

The brainchild of experiential artist Valentino Vettori, created in collaboration with an array of environmental artists, Arcadia Earth uses human-scale installations and projection mapping as well as augmented and virtual reality to delve deep into the problems plaguing the planet today. Spanning 15,000 sq ft of (non-wheelchair-accessible) NoHo real estate, the exhibition has 15 rooms dedicated to issues like overfishing, plastic pollution, food waste, deforestation and climate change and there are interactive spaces peppered with bite-sized chunks of knowledge throughout. (Apparently humans ingest the equivalent of one credit card a week in microplastics, a sobering thought.)

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A cave of 44,000 plastics bags emphasizes how many bags New York state goes through per minute. Image: David Mitchell for Arcadia Earth

From an underwater ocean that highlights shrinking coral beds and resilient jellyfish (back in 2010, a “jelly frenzy” was in progress, and the creatures’ numbers have only increased in the intervening years) to life-size fishing nets that illustrate the precariousness of the aquatic ecosystem, the installations all rely on upcycled and reusable materials to underscore their message. 

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An underwater tableau pays homage to the resilient jellyfish. Image: David Mitchell for Arcadia Earth

And the artists back up their vision with action. There’s a petition-signing room at the end of the exhibit, where people can establish their intent to fight for conservation efforts, and the organizers have promised to plant a tree for every ticket sold, with proceeds going toward Oceanic Global, an organization that raises awareness of the effects of human consumption on marine life. The exhibit runs through January 2020, and general admission is $33 (€29) for adults, $27 (€24) for students, and $12 (€10) for kids ages 6-14. (Children must be accompanied at all times, and no running is allowed.) 

For more information and to buy tickets, visit arcadia.earth

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