Paul Kos
Sound of Ice Melting

Sound of Ice Melting is based on the ancient Zen Buddhist koan about the sound of one hand clapping. Here, Kos has surrounded two twenty-five-pound blocks of ice with eight microphones that call to mind the political press conferences prevalent during the Vietnam War era when this piece was created. Zen practice values such absurdity as a way to transcend the limitations of ordinary discourse and rational thought—empirical processes at the root of all political conflicts.


Paul Kos works with everyday materials and video to enact a playful conceptual engagement with life and the world. He has made sculptures from salt-blocks, to be licked away by cows, and has carefully microphoned melting blocks of ice. Throughout these pieces, Kos’s work uses humor to relate the stuff of life back to larger questions of time and spirituality.