Arcadia Earth, a pop-up exhibit seeks to “raise awareness on sustainability through positivity, happiness, and art [also providing] an educational [component],” says Valentino Vettori, the creator of the exhibit. Plastic bags used to build the rainbow cave were salvaged from indigo plastics and reclaimed fishing nets, making them both the subject and object of the installation. The message (use less plastic—or at least use it responsibly) is delivered through the plastic itself, which was sustainably sourced from a local recycling center.
That creativity in both form and function reverberates throughout the 15 installations that make up the immersive experience: The paper cave that marks the entrance to the first room was constructed using pages of books that a New York library threw away, and actual fishing nets create the life-size entrapment that visitors walk through while mulling the near-extinction of seafood around the world.
Vettori selected a series of artists and then tasked them to create each room using only up-cycle materials: by-products and waste substances that are processed into better quality ones, with a higher environmental value.
“Valentino came to us with the themes he wanted to explore and gave us the freedom to create the story by which they are told,” says Justin Bolognino, the artist behind the O2 and CO2 rooms. “We took the two themes, mapped out the most effective way to [explore] them through immersion and technology, and brought to life what you see.”
But Arcadia Earth—in Greek, Arcadia translates to “in harmony with nature”—does more than point out a series of global problems in inventive ways: Each room also focuses on ways humans can improve their footprint and actually be part of possible solutions.