Click on this video and you may find that those indefinable images and swirling, flashing colors remind you of your marijuana highs gone by. At least that’s the intent of the organizers of “The Stone Age,” a new exhibition in New York City where cannabis is the unabashed star.
In a press release organizers called the exhibition, which opened October 1, an “immersive, multi-sensory cannabis experience.” That experience happens across 9,000 square feet in the Flatiron District where eight installations illustrate cannabis’s current role in society through the perspectives of art, wellness and social justice.
“Getting high” is an element here, of course, but not the only one. One installation, for example, details the science of cannabinoids, distinguishing, for the uninitiated, CBD, CBN and other cannnabis components from its psychoactive component, THC. Cannabinoids’ increasing success for treating a wide range of physical and mental ailments is also explored.
Another installation, in partnership with the Last Prisoner Project, displays creative works by men and women of color incarcerated, sometimes for years, for minor marijuana possession charges – even as pot has attained widespread legality. On display in the installation is the rough approximation of a 4 X 8-foot prison cell.
And of course there are those psychedelic installations. “Visitors will explore cannabis through different states of being: enlightenment, pain, awareness, euphoria, arousal, hunger and creativity,” the event’s website promises for the exhibit.
Its creator/co-founders are Sasha Perelman and Elizabeth Santana. In an email, Perelman described “an immersive journey designed to visually and emotionally spark the senses,” employing elements like a “motion-activated painting screen, a make-your-own beats DJ booth, an orgasmic light sculpture, blacklight murals and more.”
“This was for us the only time to launch this amazing kind of experience,” co-creator Elizabeth Santana said in an interview on YouTube. “Cannabis is all about community, and during a time when we’re coming off of covid, and people have been stuck inside, we’re all looking for an opportunity to connect with each other. So we wanted to use this platform as a way to help people to do that.”
The co-founders aren’t new at the pop-up exhibition business. Santana helped conceptualize an earlier New York interactive exhibition, “Rosé Mansion,” exploring wine tasting.
Perelman mounted a pre-pandemic 2017 show, in California, called “Immersion.” Rolling Stone at the time called the exhibition “the best pot party in California.”
Of course the pot party phenomenon has expanded considerably since then, with “experiences” that now range from cannatourism to “consumption lounges,” to elegant, chef-cooked cannabis-infused dinners.
But if you want to attend these experiences, get out your wallet. Tickets for “The Stone Age” are being sold on a reserved-only, timed basis costing from $53.75 (one hour at the exhibit) to $84.80 (two hours) for those 18 and up. Entry for military personnel, students and First Responders is less. Visitors can visit a retail shop and take home a free gift bag of CBD products.
As for on-premises consumption, forget the exhibit’s theme and New York State’s legalization of cannabis. Smoking, vaping and outside food items (gummies) are prohibited – at least during the exhibit.
But not necessarily before.