by Roop Johnstone
An Out of the Kaleider Commission
BellHouse is a playful, interactive sound sculpture that translated the non-verbal communication of the delegates presenting at the EUPORIAS General Assembly in October 2016 into the chimes of 35 bells in an opened sided house.
A motion capture system devised by the Met Office Informatics Lab activated striking mechanisms associated with each ceramic bell generating a continuous chiming whilst each speaker at the 250 delegate conference presented their findings.
BellHouse also invited Met Office scientists to interact through their work. It played video climate data to curious staff and passers by in the main Met Office thoroughfare known as ‘the Street’. Some of our favourite data translated into sound included Etna’s volcanic plumes, the European drought of 1976, solar winds, 250 years of English and Welsh anomalies in temperature and precipitation and the Fog of Uncertainty.
In Spring 2016, EUPORIAS, Kaleider and the Met Office made an International Commission Call inviting artists to submit ideas for playable artworks to be debuted at the EUPORIAS General Assembly at The Met Office in October 2016. We received over 60 applications worldwide and were overwhelmed with the quality of ideas. We commissioned Roop Johnstone from RAMP Ceramics to create his exquisite playable artwork.
We are plotting more outings for BellHouse and hope it will be more accessible for the public in the not too distant future. If you have ideas, suggestions or invitations for where BellHouse could be experienced please contact email@example.com
Rupert Johnstone is an Artist / Maker / Teacher working principally in clay, but with other media when the occasion demands.
He makes sculpture and since 2001, pots with his partner Alice under the name of RAMP (Roop and Al Make Pots). They exhibit their work in galleries around the UK as well as at Craft Events nationally and sell to patrons around the world. Roop and his partner Alice also collaborated with Animator Jim Le Fevre on the above film commissioned by the Crafts Council.
They are members of The Devon Guild of Craftsmen and the CPA (Craftsmen Potters Association). Always interested in exploring new ways to explore ideas and material RAMP has collaborated with animators, designers, scientists and technologists on various projects over the years as artists and teachers.
“I am interested in perceptive boundaries and how we think about things. That is to say, how what we think about determines how we think and (vice versa) how our thinking processes determine what we think about. I like the idea that the way that we collect information (through our respective senses and the inherent processes involved) creates patterns of meaning and understanding that are common to all of us, but also different on an individual and cultural level. BellHouse is a sculpture which aims to play with this on some level.
The Met Office, as a kind of information and data collection/generation hub is in a unique position to explore new ways of interacting with and communicating information which will either directly affect our behaviour (in an everyday sense) or influence patterns of behaviour and understanding on a much wider scale. The communication of cutting edge research in Climate Science is a clear example of this. How can we broaden the accessibility, engagement and understanding of this important research to a wider public?
I work mostly with clay; I have made pots, sculptures, animations and installations. I am always interested in new ways to explore the material, but am not bound to it. In this case I am keen to use this opportunity to explore clay’s potential for sound, replacing other sounds (our voices) and movements with bell sounds.
BellHouse is a playful, interactive sound sculpture that will translate the non-verbal communication of the delegates presenting at the EUPORIAS General Assembly into the chimes of fifty bells in an opened sided house.
A motion capture system devised by the Met Office Informatics Lab will activate striking mechanisms associated with each ceramic bell generating a continuous chiming whilst the speaker is presenting their research. Bell House will also play climate data from models such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, translating raw data into sound.
BellHouse is designed so that the visitor can go inside the sculpture to gain the full effect of the resonating bells and also hear the sound and view the object from outside. The sculpture will be sited within the Met Office. The presentations and the resulting sound piece will be recorded (with the speakers’ permission) and edited together to build a viewable library of translations for the future.
I hope that BellHouse will ask questions about how we perceive and understand different types of information, much of it in this case highly specialized and, for the layperson, often hard to understand. By subverting the traditional modes of communication for the ideas presented, it may allow us to refocus our attention on the core message, identify patterns within the sounds or simply enjoy the poetry of the experience.”
For all booking enquiries for BellHouse please email Kaleider’s Executive Producer Katie Keeler: firstname.lastname@example.org
With Special Thanks to Exeter School of Art and the FabLab.