Erica Esserman

Already There

This maze game, You Are Already There, provides an opportunity for the participant to explore and later reflect on their own internal spiritual journey. This anti-game calls influence from Ascot’s “The Construction of Change” in that art can and should be used as a mechanism to teach values that catalyst Change in our society. Like John Cage, this experience explores ideas of Zen Buddhism, giving the user an opportunity to learn a Zen concept through the experience of playing the game, or, like in Cage’s work, experiencing the music. By using this computer game to direct the user in the performance, the user becomes the performer of the piece recalling a similar dynamic as in Krueger’s reflection on applications of responsive environments. This computer-conducted environment embodies applications in Education, Psychology, and Psychotherapy by becoming a mirror in which the player can learn about Zen ideals through this experiential learning environment. Like in Kaprow’s Happenings, each time the game is played, a new performance will occur that is unique to the current player. This experience can happen only once and will happen uniquely according to the current psychological state of the individual player. Using this computerized environment, the experience of playing this game alludes to Vannevar Bush’s ideas of “illuminating the interactions of his physiological and psychological functions, giving the promise of an improved mental health,” in his article, “As We May Think.” Ideally, the participant will gain insight into their psychological state and use this experience to reflect on Zen ideals and how their current life philosophy successfully or unsuccessfully guides them through both this maze game and the paralleled maze of life. 

Project Type: Video Game Installation

Date: 2017

Role: Independent Project

Technology: Raspberry Pi

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