Craft and tech chime together in ‘BellHouse’

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Last night we went to the launch of a beautiful and exciting project called BellHouse – the first artistic collaboration between Kaleider, EUPORIAS and the Met Office. Kaleider is an organisation based in Exeter, Devon, which brings people together to design, promote and produce extraordinary live experiences. EUPORIAS is a four-year collaborative project exploring climate data, involving 24 partners from across Europe.

Earlier this year Kaleider and EUPORIAS put out an international call for an artist to submit ideas for playable artworks that would engage people in conversation about climate information. They received many applications from all around the world and it’s fantastic that a ceramicist just a few miles away was awarded the commission! Ceramicist Rupert Johnstone of Ramp Ceramics has created BellHouse – an interactive sound sculpture combining exquisite ceramics and technology.

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As the delegates presenting at the EUPORIAS General Assembly deliver their speeches in the Met Office this week, the coloured beaters will strike the pots in BellHouse each time they sense the movement from the speaker’s gestures. The pots are different shapes and sizes (all wonderfully tactile and beautifully decorated in Ramp’s distinct style) and so the chimes of 35 bells will play and sound different each time depending on the motion capture of the speaker. Climate scientist Carlo Buontempo described how they’d hoped for something that would be a metaphor for the interaction between science and users. In BellHouse, data, technology and craft are making something beautiful that’s accessible to all.

We went to the launch with Sarah of The Contemporary Craft Festival and Erica and Lisa of The Devon Guild of Craftsmen. It was very exciting to be inside the Met Office (we learnt a bit about solar weather forecasting) and we met up with lots of fascinating people from different backgrounds, many who are keen to create opportunities for makers and artists across different industries. BellHouse instantly brought people together and has great potential to do more. It would be fantastic to see it at public events, maybe used in the health service, in town centres, schools and festivals. What will it sound like if children’s movements are captured, or people across different cultures and backgrounds?

Huge thanks to the team at Kaleider and the Met Office for an inspirational evening. Do follow this link to find out more about the project. Here are a few of our pictures, and we really hope to see and hear BellHouse somewhere again in the future…

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