the work

    Bell's inspiration comes from the shapes and patterns we see emerging from the social interaction of animals and humans and forces of nature - the dynamically changing shapes that can be seen as the result of different creatures, or physical and chemical processes responding to their circumstances according to their personal and particular motivations.    

"Every time we make a decision we choose a path from a wide range of possibilities. As we follow our path so it interacts with those of others. Imagine the shapes we would see if the paths we followed were made visible." (Bell 9/10/08 Statement for Beesworld exhibition)

    The majority of Stephen Bell's work has been created using computer graphics programs that follow rules based upon his interpretation of what might govern these complex interactive behaviours. The resulting shapes and patterns can look like those seen in trees, plants, flocks, herds and crowds and of human and animal settlements, or apparently random distributions of objects like fallen leaves and seeds.    
    "I find it disturbing yet intriguing that the forms, patterns, shapes and compositions that we see in nature and that move us aesthetically are more often than not the result of some form of conflict or competition for resources. Birds in flocks are seeking resources, animals form herds for protection, the shape of plants is often the result of a competition for resources like sunlight and competition for ground territory. There are patterns and shapes of human behaviour that we find moving yet how many of them are the result of competition and conflict? What does it mean that there might be an aesthetics of conflict? How might potential aesthetic results be determining our decisions in social interactions?. Do we make decisions because they will have an aesthetic effect? By making work that helps us to understand and appreciate the hidden aesthetics of social interaction it may be possible that we can gain an insight into decisions, events and behaviours that we otherwise find inexplicable."