Solid Void (2007)
Jessica de Boer / Solid Void

Jessica de Boer / Solid Void

Ice, Water, Glass Container / 40 x 40 x 40 cm

The resin burns in the torch, but the heat is transferred and no one knows where it will ever end.
– Zhuang Zi

Solid Void shows the carving of ice during a thermodynamic process. In a room at 20˚C hangs in mid-air a glass-cube container filled with water. The process starts when an octahedron of ice is placed in the glass container, fitting exactly and airtight. The scale of this system makes it possible to observe two separate phenomena.

During the melting process, heat is exchanged between the ice, the water and the environment. This “carves” the shape of the ice from an octahedron into a beautiful diamond. The molecules melt at 0 ˚ C and stream to the surface. When the molecules heat they become more heavy and sink to the bottom where the temperature is 4 ˚C. It is this circulation of water that “carves” the ice in the shape of a diamond.

Simultaneously rather than staying unchanged, as you would expect as a result of the Archimedes’ Principle, the water level actually drops during the process in the sealed cube container. The ice, which is lighter and more voluminous than water, is kept underwater in the middle of the cube with a simple wire construction. As the ice melts air molecules free themselves from the space in between the ice bonds, form bubbles, and rise to the surface. Air is set free.


De Boer graduated cum laude from the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague at the interfaculty of ArtScience in 2008. Previously she got her Masters in Public Policy and Sustainability with a thesis on river basin management from the University of Twente in 2003. After her studies she co-founded Location Z at Villa Ockenburgh in the dunes of The Hague where she worked and lived three years. There she initiates the cultural program Zzondag, a platform for cross-fertilisation between artists, scientist and musicians. Along lectures, performances, exhibition and simple diners public and participants discuss themes beyond the accepted boundaries of their fields, she was co-curator for 3 years. Last year she conducted a research on contemporary animism in Mexico, including field experience with Huichol Indians and two artist residencies co-funded by Stroom Den Haag. This resulted in the work “The Life of the Dead Blue Hummingbird” that is exhibited at three locations in Mexico. A booklet on this research is coming soon. Recently De Boer started a PhD research on the “Resilient Energy Landscape” at the department of Spatial Planning and the Environment from the University of Groningen. She continues conjoining art and science.


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