“Are we doing it because we actually want to console someone?” Belanger said. “Or are we doing it because we are checking a box that said, ‘I consoled’ or ‘I did the good thing’? So now, I don’t have to think about it anymore.”
Ultimately, the question the show poses is, “Can you make up for real empathy with consumer gestures?” This ties back to the show’s title, which comes from the Bible. In the book of Matthew, Jesus says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
“Are we all the rich man with no chance of getting into heaven?” Belanger mused. “I’m an atheist, I don’t even think there is a heaven, but I think the question still feels relevant.”
She does offer one glimpse of a true expression of empathy. Between the two main rooms, on one wall low to the floor, there’s a sculpture of a spigot with a drop of water falling from it, above a bare foot. Belanger was inspired by a podcast about a woman who is a leader of her parish and washes the feet of the unhoused each year. Alluding to Jesus again, perhaps inadvertently this time, it’s the least alluring of the works on view, but certainly the most hopeful.