Essential San Diego is a temporary installation of a pair of "scenic overlook" style binoculars of the kind often found in high tourism areas. As viewers look into these binoculars expecting to see images of faraway landscapes, significant architecture, and other scenic highlights, they are instead greeted by video vignettes of everyday workers who make the city of San Diego run. These videos play on a VR device hidden in the “overlook” binoculars as if the binoculars function as x-ray lenses into the heart of the city. As the binoculars rotate to different positions around the city, the videos switch from one vignette to another. In each vignette, an essential worker engages in the duties corresponding to their job. While doing so, each will subtly exhibit a different emotional state ranging from frustration to laughter, sadness, and so on, as if some other personal or significant life event is unfolding in their thoughts as they perform their work.