image of the week



A print by Stephen Bell titled The Gathering based on a still frame from this animation is included in The CAS50 Collection which celebrates 50 years of the Computer Arts Society. The collection has been exhibited at several locations including the V&A in London.





More of Bell's behavioural work can be seen here

The animation is intentionally slow so that you have time to focus your attention on different parts of each frame's composition.

"I have found that the way we interact with these images has an effect on our perception of their possible size. As there is no scale in the pieces apart from how we imagine it to be we may choose to interpret the forms as vast or as microscopic. If we scrub back and forth quickly it appears that the thing we are looking at is easily manipulable and hence must be of a small enough to hold. If however it takes time to change our view it implies that what we are looking at is too large to manipulate so instead we have to move relative to it to get a different view and it becomes more like exploring an architecture or landscape. As we are not actually moving we may also imagine that we are looking at something so small that we need to use an instrument like a microscope to see it."

By choosing slow as the default way of showing the work, Bell is drawing attention to the potential of a particular way of looking at the moving image. You are encouraged to scrub back and forth through the recording rather than just watching it, although that can be just as rewarding.


"Having witnesed the increasingly impressive ability of computer graphics to mimic and largely replace lens-based films in special effects and other application areas I have been more interested in exploring the facets of CG thet reveal the fundamental structure underlying the illusions. Hence in this and similar pieces I exploit the way that the shapes in the image are created by describing polygonal surfaces that only have one side. Thus when the object is cut through by the 'clipping plane' during the rendering process we see through what we might otherwise take to be a solid object. Anyone who has played computer games and seen inside the characters and models in a scene when passing through them will be familiar with this phenomenon. I found that the patterns created could be quite intriguing so have chosen to make them part of the work. It also contributes, I hope, to leading people to consider just what we are witnessing when we look at and intereact with things on computer screens - how data is mapped, interpreted or mis-interpreted - and how we might see through it. "



If you are interested in purchasing a print of Bell's work from the 1970's follow this link


layers of exposed slate colonized by shellfish and seaweed

cgi of red trails swirl across black background

cgi oftanfle of yellow and red trails criss-crosss black background

cmy painted curves overlay each other

drawing of oak leaves


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