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Stephen Bell

Stephen Bell
The Gathering (2018)
54cm x 84cm Digital Print. Signed on Reverse

Stephen Bell's interactive computer programs generate shapes inspired by his observations of animal and plant behaviour. Recent works use algorithms derived from the behaviour of bees gathering nectar combined with computer graphic techniques usually considered mistakes to create spatially ambiguous compositions that nevertheless possess an underlying natural logic.

His work first came to public attention in the mid 1980s when he was Artist in Residence in the Computing Laboratory of the University of Kent at Canterbury. There he wrote programs that were based on predator-prey interaction and human conflict, producing abstract images of trails of their movement that looked a bit like frozen firework displays.

Bell was awarded a PhD for his 1991 thesis "Participatory Art and Computers" in which he used his own "Smallworld" suite of programs as a case study. He recently retired from having spent nearly thirty years as a lecturer at the National Centre for Computer Animation in Bournemouth encouraging art & design students to use programming creatively and experimentally, which continued a trajectory that had started at The Slade in the late 1970s when he first learnt how to use computers in his art practice.

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