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P.E.A.L : A Virtual Campanile

Nick Rothwell and Lewis Sykes, a.k.a. Monomatic `Bell-ringing is the most English of sounds. While many nations hang bells in the towers of their churches and religious foundations to call the faithful to prayer, it was in England that the ringing of bells full circle with rope and wheel was invented and then elevated to an art form. Only in these islands - and a handful of other places in the English-speaking world where bell-ringing was exported by empire - can you hear practised the art of change-ringing, the ringing of bells in fiendishly complex mathematical patterns in which no sequence of changes is repeated´. Extract from CHURCH BELLS by Graham Downing.

P.E.A.L is a laser-triggered, computer-controlled, light-sequenced emulation of a traditional English church bell tower  or campanile - commissioned by Sound and Music for Expo Leeds 2009 and first exhibited in the Arena of the Leeds City Museum.

P.E.A.L brings authentic, high-quality recordings of the bells of five Leeds churches right into the gallery - to give the visitor the experience of being inside an actual bell tower. The laser triggering system allows visitors to ring the bells by cutting beams of light with their hands, as a shifting multicoloured lighting system responds to their actions; a cueing system allows visitors to actually play some authentic methods or ringing patterns dating back almost 300 years. Additionally, the installation has an automated mode where it reenacts historical peals or compositions, some lasting several hours; and it even has a built-in clock which sounds the Westminster Chimes on the hour.

The team from Monomatic spent several days visiting, photographing, videoing and recording  and, once or twice, ringing - with bell ringing bands from St. Matthias, St. Peter at Leeds Parish, St. Matthe's, St. Chad's and Leeds Cathedral, and the installation is complemented by a video display reacting to the work with footage from the church bell towers.