Past Productions

Conceived by artist and ceramicist Roop Johnstone, BellHouse is a playful, interactive sound sculpture that premiered at the EUPORIAS General Assembly in 2016.

Originally commissioned by the Met Office and Kaleider on behalf of EUPORIAS, BellHouse now revisits its roots of translating climate data for Climateurope September 2020 – January 2021. BellHouse is inviting delegates to share their data to be translated into the chimes of 34 bells, challenging how data is presented, communicated and miscommunicated. BellHouse asks:

How is your data heard? Who hears it? How do they interpret it? And what do they do next? 

BellHouse origins

BellHouse translated the non-verbal communication of the delegates presenting at the EUPORIAS General Assembly into the chimes of 35 bells. 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 presented their research. 

BellHouse also played climate data sets during its residency at the Met Office such as Mt. Etna’s volcanic plumes, the European drought of 1976, solar winds, and 250 years of English and Welsh temperature and precipitation anomalies and reanalysis data based on citizen science.

You can watch a 5 minute Behind the Scenes film of the original commission here.

All about Roop

Roop works mostly with clay; he has made pots, sculptures, animations and installations. He is always interested in new ways to explore the material, but is not bound to it. In this case he is keen to use this opportunity to explore clay’s potential for sound, replacing other sounds (our voices) and movements with bell sounds. 

Roop is one half of RAMP (Roop & Al Make Pots), makers of thrown Earthenware and Porcelain functional and studio ceramics. They exhibit their work in galleries around the UK as well as at Craft Events nationally and sell to patrons around the world. 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.

Roop says:

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?


By Roop Johnstone

Produced by Kaleider

Presented by Climateurope 2020

Originally commissioned by the Met Office and Kaleider on behalf of and funded by EUPORIAS, a project of the European Commission’s Seventh Framework programme

Current team

Artist: Roop Johnstone

Creative Technologists: Katja Mordaunt (Team Lead), Kris Sum

Producer: Jocelyn S. Mills

Documentation: Preston Street Films

Graphic Design: Jo Jones

Creation and Development teams

Original creation: Roop Johnstone (Artist), Alec Jefford (Electrical Engineer), Agim Shekreli and Matthew LeBreton (Carpenters), Emily Williams (Producer)

Met Office Informatics Lab Software Development & Prototyping: Alberto Arribas (Team Lead), Rachel Prudden, Niall Robinson, Todd Burlington, Michael Priestly, Theo McCaie, Anurien Thomas, Jacob Tomlinson, Thomas Powell, Alex Hilson, Ross Middleham, Dean Jones

Creative Technologists (development): Simon Belshaw, Ian Woodbridge, Pablo Toledo