The Vocal Life of Jars, 2001

Track mixed by Adam Jones
Sound Department, University of Northampton, UK
inside a sandblaster with a honey jar
mayonnaise jar in a sound studio
left: in the sandblaster with honey jar
right: in the recording studio with mayonnaise jar

Each jar has undergone a process whereby thin layers have been sandblasted off its surface in consecutive stages. In between each layer of sandblasting the jars would emit subtle nuances in tone if one were to play them, by running ones finger continuously along the rim. Subsequently, through this process, up to eleven individual tones were extracted from each jar to create its own soundtrack. There are nine jars in the series.

The work grew out of a desire to bring an object to a state as close to nothing as possible, trying to find the edges of something and nothing. Jars are beautiful things. I often buy jars not so much for their contents but for their form, their fit in the hand. I see this work as being metaphorical of the body. The notion of what it means to be empty is something I have been exploring and wrestling with in other areas of practice. Whilst my adherence to process reflects a deep fascination with how a work originates, I am also drawn to the eschatological.

honey jar
peanut butter and sauerkraut jars, sandblasted
Angel Row Gallery, sound installation
Angel Row Gallery, sound installation
Sound Chambers
Installation: Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, UK
installation view, sound chamber, Vocal Life of Jars by Pak-Keung Wan
Installation view for the sound piece Vocal Life of Jars by Pak-Keung Wan
sound chambers, continuous play, speaker, perspex box, sauerkraut jar
Installation: Angel Row Gallery

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