Ghost of a Dream is the creative collaboration between married couple Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom, whose work consistently features discarded lottery tickets. Their duo’s work observes the ways that people relate to the lottery, with the hopes of winning that come along with it and the hoped-for things to be bought, by creating pieces out of the very pieces of paper that once held all of those hopes. An artist’s statement from over at P.S.1 states: Our sculpture and installations embody the essence of opulence while being constructed of materials that typically end up in the trash. We mine popular culture searching for discarded materials that people use trying to reach their goals. Whether it is a romance novel someone reads to transport them into a dream reality, a religious track promising the glory of eternal life, or a lottery ticket that gives the possibility of a future full of rich decadence; we use these remnants to re-create people’s dreams.
Their work is achieving this goal incredibly well. The naturally relatable understanding of what it feels like to hold a lottery ticket makes these pieces simple for anyone to see and relate to. I have often found that a well-chosen media (especially if it is using something normally considered trash in our single-serving culture) can take a work of art from mundane to transcendent. The work of Ghost of a Dream is transcendent to me because their work makes me think not immediately of myself (I almost never play the lottery) but of my neighbors who play the lotto all the time, feeling that winning the lottery is their only change out of their impoverished lives – and being right about that. To me, any work of art that makes me think of someone other than myself as an immediate reaction is worth taking some more time to consider. Although Ghost of a Dream have explored what they can do with their media, they show no signs of slowing down and it seems to me that whatever media they chose, they will have something interesting to say with it.