Ah, remember glaciers, those quaint masses of frozen water that kept the planet cool and our coastal cities above sea-level? Before they're all completely melted, artist Olafur Eliasson (the man who gave NYC waterfalls) has had the good sense to preserve some pieces of one glacier as a souvenir, installing them in a chilly room in a museum in Queens. The biting irony, of course, is that the relics are kept intact thanks to frigid meat-locker temperatures enabled by electricity, which is often generated by burning coal, the single-largest source of emissions associated with global warming which in this case is generated by solar panels installed on the roof by Power Rockaway Resilience, specifically for the installation.

On the same day the MoMA debuted its ingenious new installation "Rain Room," the museum's sister site, PS1, opened the doors to Expo 1: New York, a wildly ambitious new exhibit that aims to transcend the conventional boundaries of an art show. Conceived and curated by PS1's Director Klaus Biesenbach, Expo 1 is presented "in the guise of a festival-as-institution," with a school, a colony, a cinema, and a rooftop garden all focused on our culture's ecological challenges "in the context of economic and socio-political instability."

"It is about you, yourself, in your environment," Biesenbach told reporters gathered at PS1 last Friday in a temporary geodesic dome that mirrors the one currently in place out by Rockaway Beach. "Every single piece in the museum deals with ecology. It's an art exhibit that's also a social experiment." The core exhibit is called "Dark Optimism," a term coined by the editors of Triple Canopy magazine. According to Biesenbach, dark optimism means that "you have a future, if you want it to be there."

The "Dark Optimism" show certainly gives you plenty to chew over, from Eliasson's profoundly minimalist installation of ice chunks that broke off Iceland's largest glacier, to the wide selection of haunting Ansel Adams photographs, to the mysterious "live marine ecosystem" created by Pierre Huyghe in a dark corner of a tucked-away room. The centerpiece of it all is arguably the massive cracked and crumbling amphitheater that completely overtakes one section of the museum, with steps leading all the way to the ceiling. Called "The Innocence of the Animals," Adrian Villar Rojas's spectacular installation doubles as a gathering place for the "EXPO School," featuring a daily program of lectures, debates, and discussions curated by Triple Canopy.

Here's video from one of the pieces in the group show ProBio, which contemplates "a world of open-source artificial gene flows between people and between other forms of natural and unnatural life." There's a lot of intriguing work in this section of the museum, where robot vacuum cleaners patrol the floors and a garden blends into a sculpture and vice versa. The installation below, by Ian Cheng, is called "Abax Siluria" and consists of live mobile devices, video, mineral oil, silica, and sand. Oh, and dildo. Mustn't forget the dildo.

Ian Cheng's "Abax Silruia" from Gothamist on Vimeo.

PS1 is located at 22-25 Jackson Ave. at the intersection of 46th Ave. in Long Island City, Queens. Hours are 12-6 p.m., Thursday through Monday, closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Suggested admission for adults is $10.