New York City's first and only immersive exhibit about cannabis—and the only experience to encourage coming to it high—opens this week with eight rooms to take you on a journey across various states of being.
The Stone Age, which is a woman and minority-owned business by Sasha Perelman and Elizabeth Santana, whisks you up a tunnel-like escalator into the exhibition which delves into the many benefits of cannabis, from increased creativity and arousal to euphoria, pain management and mindfulness by using eye-grabbing art installations across 9,000 square feet of its Chelsea building. Santana and Perelman wanted to create an experience that was "relatable no matter your relationship with cannabis."
The first state you'll walk through is "Arousal" which uses art to illustrate "anticipation," "excitement," "plateau" and "orgasm," from a black light painting by Anna Sibel to a pulsating light installation by Jason Krugman—all of which are Instagrammable.
Then you'll find out how cannabis works to increase your creativity through interactive digital art that you can make by moving your body and music you can collaborate on by pushing buttons with your pals.
"Euphoria" is experienced through a beautiful room filled with crystals and paintings evoking the literal Stone Age that you can step inside and take your photo with, while "mindfulness" asks you to take part in a communal art project. "Pain" shows an artist's interpretation of the mental haze produced by opioids with facts about opioid addiction paired with facts about how cannabis can be used to reduce pain and addiction.
The most important part of the entire experience, which would be remiss to not delve into, is the "awareness" section, which gives a timeline on the war on drugs, shares real-life stories and artwork of the men and women who have been imprisoned on cannabis-related charges and a recreation of a prison cell with actual pieces from an old prison to place you right in the situation to make it more tangible to attendees (though we would not suggest taking selfies in there).
There are also QR codes inside this section that you can scan and donate to The Last Prisoner Project, a non-profit organization that fights criminal injustice and aims to reimagine drug policy.
"We wanted to humanize the victims of the war on drugs," Perelman said. "We didn't want to give people this information without a call to action. By presenting these QR codes and soundbites, people can understand the magnitude and impact that has resulted from the war on drugs."
"In order to infuse our attendants with a sense of empathy, we wanted them to walk in their shoes," Santana added. "Before you leave this space, you can sign a petition and get started on the path to change."
Once you've learned about the dark history of social injustice tied to cannabis, you're led into the gift shop, where you can peruse CBD and cannabinoid merchandise from NYC's own Alchemist Kitchen and various pop-ups within it, including from Her Highness, as well as art from men and women who have been incarcerated.
If you can swing the hefty admission fee, The Stone Age is a beautiful and historical exhibition to put on your to-do list this fall.
The Stone Age opens on October 1 at 607 Avenue of the Americas.