Stephen Bell | UKC Residency 1984-85



A condition of the residency was that it should end with an exhibition. The exhibition I produced consisted of examples selected of to summarise the different types of work that I had been creating. These images can be viewed in the Exhibition section linked to below. There were many more images made during the residency which were not exhibited and these are documented in the Documentation sections.

The images in the exhibitions were Cibachrome prints based on photographs from the screen. At the time high quality digital printing and digital photography had not become widely available; taking photographs of screen images was a solution. The prints were mostly made from large format transparencies photographed by Rory Coonan of The Arts Council. I had to run the program to generate the images and then Rory took photographs from screen. We had to use a temporary cowl made of black cardboard and a piece of black cloth with a hole for the camera lens to poke through to prevent reflections on the screen, including the camera. We did experiments in advance to work out the best settings to avoid overexposure and banding as the screen refreshed as well as other unwanted artefacts. Some images were from 35mm slides that I took myself..

Works that had been produced during the residency were shown in exhibitions in Canterbury, London and Birmingham. Individual pieces have since been exhibited elsewhere, including London and China and some examples have been acquired or donated to public and private collections.

The Documentation sections are a record of work in progress recorded on 35mm slides throughout the residency. To really grasp what led to the development of the work I have incorporated them into an extended essay written in 2018 referring to the notes that I took at the time of the residency. I followed this approach to writing about my creative process in the chapter that I wrote for the book "White Heat Cold Logic" about my time at The Slade as it seemed more likely to reveal my approach at the time than my memories of it could.

The images in the documentation are not shown in chronological order but all were produced at UKC in 1984 and 1985.

"Computer Generated Images" Exhibition

Documentation: The development of the algorithms and programs