Erica Esserman

Thoughts & Prayers

This work engages the viewer in an experience to emulate the futility of merely sending his or her “Thoughts and Prayers” in an unfortunate situation.  The words “Thoughts & Prayers” are projected on a long sheer piece of fabric.  One side of the fabric is attached to the top of a ladder, while the other end remains on the ground.  The viewer is invited to pick up the end on the ground and wave the fabric up and down to send waves up the sheet.  When the viewer attempts this task, no matter how hard he or she waves the fabric, the wave will never reach the top of the ladder.  

The font chosen for the work is the same font used on most social media sites to represent the places in which these sentiments are usually given. The sheer, lightweight fabric represents the insincerity of people’s intentions when responding to horrific or unjust situations in this way.  This response has no weight or effect on improving the situation or preventing it in the future.  Individuals can send their thoughts and prayers as many times as they want, but, in reality, these efforts are futile. The ladder supporting the fabric is the only true way to the top of this work. Many are not willing to do the actual work to overcome the challenge faced by injustices, just like very few will notice the ladder and their ability to climb to the top instead.   We get stuck wasting energy sending thoughts and prayers instead of taking action and doing the work needed to make a change. 

Project Type: Interactive Installation

Date: 2018

Role: Collaborative Work, Technical Artist

Technology: TouchDesigner

Location: University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California, United States