about Stephen Bell

portrait of sb  

"Bell has been programming his work since the late 1970s and as such helped to extend creative practice into the instruction giving area of computing. The algorithms generate 'creature behaviour', and as they move about the screen they leave behind trails which create virtual landscapes or artificial virtual structures which are documents of their movements. This creates a visceral sense of relatedness and of patterns of survival." (Sarah Thompson, Transjuice, 2010)

Stephen Bell started to use computer programming in his art in the late 1970's but first came to public attention in the 1980s with computer generated images that he had made whilst Artist in Residence at the University of Kent at Canterbury Computing Laboratory. The images, based on the behaviour of groups or communities of animals being attacked by predators, and human battle-like confrontations were created by programs he had written that imitated the interaction of individual humans and other animals. The shapes and forms in his works show the paths of the movements and simulated thoughts of these algorithmically generated behaviours.

The work is sometimes presented interactively so people can use the programs that Bell uses to make his work and sometimes as still images or video recordings.

He continues to explore the aesthetics of trails and complex dynamic social interactions in his work and uses this website to document the roots and development of his art as well as his current work.


The Art

More about the Artwork