When I first began working with various
patinas and corrosives, I housed these chemicals in commonplace
jars, amassing what would develop into a complex palette
of chemical agents that could impart certain colors on
certain surfaces. Over time, the water in those jars would
deplete, either through my use of the solutions or through
the evaporation; and the chemicals would leave behind
a residual stain along the inside surface of those jars.
I was immediately struck by the stratification of the
various chemicals, and I sought to fix those patterns
by applying the inner walls of the jars with a thick coating
of acrylic gel medium. As intriguing as an individual
jar was, each became even more so when I dropped a lightbulb
inside the jar. Since 1998, I have been slowly amassing
an large collection of these illuminated jars, and they
have become a common backdrop for a number of my performances.
I was always amazed at the variety of readings that people
gave to them, as almost many people have assumed the objects
to be generating the light through some internal chemical
reaction and not a common 4 watt lightbulb. If only my
knowledge of chemistry were that great!
In 2006, The Exploratorium commissioned me to suspend
these jars from the ceiling of their cavernous space.
At that time, I named the whole collection of objects
Currently, I have constructed over 120 jars.