26th September – 2nd October.
A week to build and set up BellHouse was allowed in order to problem solve any issues that might arise and to go through the nonadministrative issues needed to comply with Met Office guidelines.
Given the tight deadlines to develop and build the work, there was much to do to arrange the bells, wire up the electronics and test all of the beaters and browser with the Informatics Lab before the conference started on the 3rd of October.
After the health & safety induction and visits by the facilities management team we began to work on the build of the wooden structure and the placing of the shelves.
This was the first time I had been able to put the bells out due to time overruns in the making of the structure. I had a pretty good idea of where the bells were to go, but actually placing them led me to make changes in the positioning of them to get the composition of the piece as a whole as I wanted it.
During the week of the installation we also had to mount, wire up and test all of the beater assemblies. To do this, I had the help of Alec Jefford, an electronics engineer who was invaluable at this point. Once mounted and wired up Jacob, Alex and Tom from the Informatics Lab began to go through the process of testing and calibrating the beaters to ensure the angles of strike were correct to give a good sound, too much and the beater would muffle the vibrations of the bells, too little and the bell would not be struck properly. The Met Office is a 24 hour building and so I was able to put in a lot of long days to get it ready on time.
Finally we were able to completely test the whole sculpture and iron out issues just in time for the conference on the 3rd October. The images here show some of the installation processes, as does the first part of the film that was made to accompany the piece. You can see that I had left the final assembly of the beater stands to after the placement of the bells, so I could make sure they were going to be in the right places to strike the bells properly. In many respects, although it was a little nerve wracking, it was an exciting part of the whole process. Seeing the piece, the result of so any people’s work come together as a whole, was thrilling, but also very satisfying to still have the flexibilty to play so late in the process.