The BellHouse

‘BellHouse is a playful, interactive sound sculpture that translated the non-verbal communication of the delegates presenting at the EUPORIAS General Assembly in October 2016 into the chimes of 35 bells in an opened sided house. Combining craft and technology, the bells are in fact beautiful ceramic pots, made by ceramicist and BellHouse creator Roop Johnstone.

A motion capture system devised by the Met Office Informatics Lab activated striking mechanisms associated with each ceramic bell generating a continuous chiming whilst each speaker at the 250 delegate conference presented their findings.

BellHouse also invited Met Office scientists to interact through their work.  It played video climate data to curious staff and passers by in the main Met Office thoroughfare known as ‘the Street’.  Some of our favourite data translated into sound included Etna’s volcanic plumes, the European drought of 1976, solar winds, 250 years of English and Welsh anomalies in temperature and precipitation and the Fog of Uncertainty.’

We are excited to have been part of this project to have the BellHouse up and running in Exeter Library as part of the Lost Weekend Festival – it also played a part in October’s Raspberry Jam where Roop gave a talk and then showed people how it was all working. We have been working with Roop and Kaleider to make the user interface more user friendly and to also make BellHouse capable of playing prerecorded videos that people bring in rather than solely relying on the live stream.  We will be doing further work on this over the next few months to improve and refine the way in which it works.

In the meantime it is in Exeter Library until the end of the month and it is hoped that people will come in and play with it as well as suggest and develop new ways of interacting with it.

Lost Weekend, Hackathon, Raspberry Jam and Bellhouse

This coming weekend (6th and 8th October) sees the launch of a new festival in Exeter called the Lost Weekend it is ‘A 3-day festival for Exeter of music, art, ideas and technology. To showcase what is new and exciting, to imagine the future and to enjoy being creative.’

We are very excited to be a part of that and have been working with Rupert Johnstone and Kaleider on the Bellhouse Project to help get that set up and ready for its installation in Exeter Library.

As part of Lost Weekend we are including the Raspberry Jam on Saturday morning as well as running a young persons’ Hackathon in Exeter Phoenix on Sunday. We are combining with FabLab Devon to provide participants with access to the Fablab’s equipment. We will have Raspberry Pis and Arduinos as well as lots of bits of pieces (some provided by Exeter Scrapstore) to use.

‘Open to all abilities, this day of making is driven by you. The aim is to produce a piece of art that once started is constantly changing. The most important thing is to meet, inspire and create. Materials will be provided and FabLab Devon will be open for access to a wide range of digital making equipment.

Enthusiasm and imagination are more important than ability and experience. There’ll be introductory sessions to get you started as well as a range of experts on hand to help with the Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, other electronic equipment and art supplies you can use.  You can register as a team or book as an individual and join a team on the day.’

See here for more information and tickets.

Exeter Raspberry Jam 5th August 2017

The August Raspberry Jam took place at Exeter Library as usual and we were unexpectedly busy. We had thought that as it was the summer holidays that we would be fairly quiet but it turned out to be one of the busiest jams for a while. It was good to see some familiar faces as well as a lot of new ones. We had some robots, one using a pi zero and blue dot – here are some pictures:

Taunton Music Hack 20th May

We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded an Arts Council England grant to run a series of three music hack events in 2017. The first session was at the Glass Box Taunton on Saturday 20 May

‘These sessions will run on one day and we will create our own text score that we can perform by the end of the day. We will look at existing text scores, specifically at ones form the English Experimental composers of the 1960s, and see how we can develop our own. We will be using only electronic devices that have been built on the day or existing ones that have been hacked by us on the day plus Raspberry Pi computers to program and create sounds through hardware and software.

Please note that we do not expect participants to have coding, electronic or music skills; this is very much for people who want to try something different and exploration and inquisitiveness are far more important. You do not have to have musical skill and experience to take part and the same philosophy will apply to coding. A willingness to explore and experiment is far more important than programming knowledge.’

We had a good turn out at the Glass Box and lots of willing participants happy to build and create using a variety of devices. Looking forward to the next one at Soundart Radio in Totnes. More details here:

Digital Day at Weymouth Library 25/10/16

On 25th October we took part in a Digital Day at Weymouth library. We ran four workshops throughout the day, all were fully subscribed. The workshops were all intended to be an introduction to and exploration of digital technology and particularly computer coding. We are always focused on the creative side of coding so try to include musical elements wherever possible.

The four workshops were building an air piano, using the Raspberry Pi’s gpio in Scratch, making music with Sonic Pi and 3D printing. For the first two workshops the attendees had to build a simple electronic  circuit that was then connected to the Raspberry Pi and programmed. The air piano used an ultrasonic distance sensor so that the computer sounded a different note of the major scale depending on an object’s distance from the sensor.


The second workshop used a simple circuit with an led on it and we created a program that made the led flash on  and off when an icon on the computer screen was clicked.


The third workshop used the program Sonic Pi to create music, we created a piece that had a melody, drums, bass and improvised solo. The final workshop was designing a 3D object that could be printed out using our 3D printer; the attendees designed a star shape with their initial on it using 3D design software and we showed the printer in action printing out examples of this type of work.


A really enjoyable day with lots of interest all put together by the Friends of Weymouth Library who also provided us with lunch and cups of tea through  out the day.

We had some great feedback on the day and via social media :

and an email from one of the participants:

Dear 2timesdo
Thank you for your digital day yesterday at Weymouth, it was really enjoyable. My brother and I mostly enjoyed the 3D printing and the air piano. We enjoyed using the raspberry pi and programming things. Overall the day was great

Ian and I rounded off the day by having a cup of tea (actually a very large pot) and cake at the excellent Good Life Cafe.

Music Machine 40 at Exeter Library 8/10/16

Music Machine 40


On October 8th we held a workshop and then a performance / installation of Music Machine 40 in the Rougemont Room of  Exeter Library. In the morning we built eight separate music generating devices that used a Raspberry Pi and an ultrasonic distance sensor. The devices generated a note that varied depending on how close someone was to the sensor.



 In the afternoon the eight devices were sited around the room to produce a quadrophonic sound system that played as people moved around and close to the sensors.



Digital Day at Dorchester Library 25th August 2016

On Thursday 25th August we took part in a Digital Day at Dorchester Library.

We ran four different workshops throughout the day all of which were well attended and were really enjoyable. We ran workshops in building an air piano, using leds with scratch, playing the oompah loompa song with sonic pi and 3D printing.



This was the first time we had taken our 3D printer out on the road and it worked very well and drew a lot of attention.