clews 2


This installation at the Interactive Art exhibition at British HCI Conference Fusion at Bournemouth University in 2016 was an updated version of' Clews', a participatory art installation that took place in 'The White Room', a bookable studio space at the Slade School of Art, over three days in 1979.


A participant looking at the screen on which only a part of the maze could be seen and a full view of the maze which was only shown if they successfully navigated through it

From the audience point of view, the Clews 2 installation consisted an Imac placed opposite a sofa. On screen was a view of a part of a maze that had been created on the wall of BU Media School's Colab research facility. This was transmitted from Bell's Ipad. The participants gave instructions to Bell directing him to move the camera 'up','down','left' or 'right' until they navigated to an exit represented by a circle. At the same time as the participants were themselves being recorded on video. The recorded videos were played back for visitors to the exhibiton to see when the installation was not active.

Bell in Colab, aiming iPad camera at part of the maze

"Both pieces were a reflection on the notion of the artist becoming a facilitator instructed by the audience, effectively becoming like a computer game program, but it was also concerned with the way we can be monitored by such systems."

Bell's MacBook Pro screen in Colab showing the remotely accessed iMac screen on which it is possible to see the Skype window receiving a view of part of the maze, the iMac camera view of the sofa and the call recorder controls.

For Clews 2 Bell used two very separate locations a landing on the staircase in the conference building (Kimmeridge Building) and Colab in a different building on the campus. He used Skype both on the iPad in Colab and on the iMac in the Conference Building, controlling the iMac from his MacBook Pro in Colab using Chrome Remote Desktop over wifi.

The original installation in 1979 made use of CCTV and reel-to-reel video recorders.The audience/participants and maze were in a room divided by a wall. The picture below shows the 1979 audience set-up (the wall can be seen on the left) and thelower picture shows the original maze and video-recorders.

A video and more about the original Clews can be found on Bell's vimeo site.

There is a paper related to the 2016 version here