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 – November 2020. 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?
This website is a public record of the project to date. It is intended to document the initial development and installation at the Met Office in 2016, the first installation in a public space at Exeter Central Library in 2017 and the Climate Europe Conference in 2020.
To find out more about the initial development of the BellHouse, please have a look through the posts that describe the initial development in the archive. Here the development of the different elements of the sculpture are documented from the tech development to the bells themselves. There is also some information about how the ideas originally developed.
To explore the responses that BellHouse has made to the events it has been part of, have a look through the various portfolios on the home/latest work page which are categorised into the installations they were a part of or click on the images on the slider of the home page.
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.
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.
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.
Funded By Arts Council England in 2018 for the installation at Exeter Central Library.
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