Stephen Vitiello


From composing electronic music to scoring experimental videos to making larger-scale public installations that create immersive soundscapes, sound artist Stephen Vitiello invites his audience to reinterpret sound. He took us on a sonic tour of his work including recordings from a 1999 residency at the World Trade Center and his sound installation at New York City’s High Line, “A Bell for Every Minute.”


Sound Artist, Stephen Vitiello, encourages you to “close your eyes to watch this talk.” A talk of sound, he explains that your eyes process images more slowly than your ears process sound. Close your eyes and listen well.

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. It was filmed and edited by Tijo Media at the Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Arts Center in Richmond, VA.

#sound #listen #VCUarts #kineticimaging

Electronic musician Stephen Vitiello’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Lyon. His exhibitions include a site-specific work for New York City’s High Line and the 2006 Biennial of Sydney. Vitiello has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Fine Arts, Creative Capital funding for Emerging Fields, and an Alpert/Ucross Award for Music. In 2012, Australian Television produced the documentary, “Stephen Vitiello: Listening With Intent.” Originally from New York, Vitiello is now based in Richmond, VA where he is a professor of Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

Stephen Vitiello (b. 1964, New York City)
Solo exhibitions include All Those Vanished Engines, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA (2011-(ongoing)); A Bell For Every Minute, The High Line, NYC (2010-2011); More Songs About Buildings and Bells, Museum 52, New York (2011); and Stephen Vitiello, The Project, New York (2006). He has participated in such group exhibitions as Soundings: A Contemporary Score, Museum of Modern Art, NY (2013); Sound Objects: Leah Beeferman and Stephen Vitiello, Fridman Gallery, New York (2014); September 11, PS 1/MoMA, LIC, NY (2011-2012); the 15th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2006); Yanomami: Spirit of the Forest at the Cartier Foundation, Paris; and the 2002 Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2002). Vitiello has performed nationally and internationally, at locations such as the Tate Modern, London; the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival; The Kitchen, New York; and the Cartier Foundation, Paris. In 2011, ABC-TV, Australia produced the documentary Stephen Vitiello: Listening With Intent. Awards include Creative Capital (2006) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2011-2012). Vitiello is a professor of Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University. He lives and works in Richmond, Virginia.

“Electronic musician and sound artist Stephen Vitiello transforms incidental atmospheric noises into mesmerizing soundscapes that alter our perception of the surrounding environment. He has composed music for independent films, experimental video projects and art installations, collaborating with such artists as Nam June Paik, Tony Oursler and Dara Birnbaum. In 1999 he was awarded a studio for six months on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center’s Tower One, where he recorded the cracking noises of the building swaying under the stress of the winds after Hurricane Floyd. As an installation artist, he is particularly interested in the physical aspect of sound and its potential to define the form and atmosphere of a spatial environment.”

Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain catalog for the exhibition
Ce qui arrive/Unknown Quantity, 2002

http://www.stephenvitiello.com

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Camille Norment

Triplight, 2008
Light sculpture
1955 Shure microphone, light, electronic components
Dimensions variable
Edition of 2

As a cultural icon, the 1955 Shure Microphone can be said to symbolize ‘the golden years’. In this work, the microphone housing contains a bright piercing light that casts a large shadow reminiscent of a metal mask or ribcage onto the wall. Periodically at random intervals, the light flickers like a bulb casting its last rays of light; it is the silent noise of social realities and the suppressed voice.
The glowing light and skeletal shadow cast by Triplight tell parallel stories of its time and mirror our own, beautifully revealing contradictions in the silent stutter of its unstable light.
The word ‘triplight’ refers to a trigger that sets off a state of alarm. It also refers to “trip the light fantastic”, a historical reference to a type of dance, and more recently a state of hallucination.

http://www.norment.net/work/objects-installations-ind/triplight

Pauline Oliveros

Pauline Oliveros (1932-2014) has influenced American music extensively in her career spanning more than 60 years as a composer, performer, author and philosopher. She pioneered the concept of Deep Listening, her practice based upon principles of improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation, designed to inspire both trained and untrained musicians to practice the art of listening and responding to environmental conditions in solo and ensemble situations. During the mid-’60s she served as the first director of the Tape Music Center at Mills College, aka Center for Contemporary Music followed by 14-years as Professor of Music and 3 years as Director of the Center for Music Experiment at the University of California at San Diego. Since 2001 she has served as Distinguished Research Professor of Music in the Arts department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) where she is engaged in research on a National Science Foundation CreativeIT project. Her research interests include improvisation, special needs interfaces and telepresence teaching and performing. She also serves as Darius Milhaud Composer in Residence at Mills College doing telepresence teaching and she is executive director of Deep Listening Institute, Ltd. where she leads projects in Deep Listening, Adaptive Use Interface. She is the recipient of the 2009 William Schuman Award from Columbia University for lifetime achievement. A retrospective from 1960 to 2010 was performed at Miller Theater, Columbia University in New York March 27, 2010 in conjunction with the Schuman award. She received a third honorary degree from DeMontort University, Leicester, UK July 23, 2010. Recent recordings include Pauline Oliveros & Miya Masoka and Pauine Oliveros & Chris Brown on Deep Listening.

http://www.deeplistening.org

A Fire in My Belly • David Wojnarowicz

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

P.P.O.W and The Estate of David Wojnarowicz disagree with the Smithsonian’s decision to withdraw the artist’s 1987 film piece “A Fire in My Belly” from the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition entitled “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.” P.P.O.W has represented Wojnarowicz’s work since 1988 and maintained a close working relationship with the artist until his death in 1992. The gallery now represents his estate.

On behalf of the estate, the gallery would like to offer the artist’s words to illuminate his original intentions. In a 1989 interview Wojnarowicz spoke about the role of animals as symbolic imagery in his work, stating, “Animals allow us to view certain things that we wouldn’t allow ourselves to see in regard to human activity. In the Mexican photographs with the coins and the clock and the gun and the Christ figure and all that, I used the ants as a metaphor for society because the social structure of the ant world is parallel to ours.”

The call for the removal of “A Fire in My Belly” by Catholic League president William Donahue is based on his misinterpretation that this work was “hate speech pure and simple.” This statement insults the legacy of Wojnarowicz, who dedicated his life to activism and the arts community. David Wojnarowicz’s work is collected by international museums including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, The Whitney Museum, The Library of Congress, The New York Public Library, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Reina Sofia in Madrid, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, etc. Wojnarowicz is also an established writer; his most well known memoirs are Close to the Knives and Memories That Smell Like Gasoline, which are included on many university syllabi.

In 1990 the artist won a historic Supreme Court case, David Wojnarowicz v. American Family Association. The courts sided with Wojnarowicz after he filed suit against Donald Wildmon and the American Family Association, who copied, distorted and disseminated the artist’s images in a pamphlet to speak out against the NEA’s funding of exhibits that included art works of Wojnarowicz and other artists. We are deeply troubled that the remarks, which led to the removal of David’s work from Hide/Seek, so closely resemble those of the past. Wojnarowicz’s fight for freedom of artistic expression, once supported by the highest court, is now challenged again. In his absence, we know that his community, his supporters, and the many who believe in his work will carry his convictions forward.

P.P.O.W Gallery

Lis Rhodes

Light Music is an innovative work presented originally as a performance that experiments with celluloid and sound to push the formal, spatial and performative boundaries of cinema. An iconic work of expanded cinema, it creates a more central and participatory role for the viewer within a dynamic, immersive environment.

Formed from two projections facing one another on opposite screens, Light Music is Rhodes’s response to what she perceived as the lack of attention paid to women composers in European music. She composed a ‘score’ comprised of drawings that form abstract patterns of black and white lines onscreen. The drawings are printed onto the optical edge of the filmstrip. As the bands of light and dark pass through the projector they are ‘read’ as audio, creating an intense soundtrack, forming a direct, indexical relationship between the sonic and the visual. What one hears is the aural equivalent to the flickering patterns on the screens.

Light Music is projected into a hazy room – the beams that traverse one another in the space between the two projections become ethereal sculptural forms comprised of light, shadow and theatrical smoke. This format is designed to encourage viewers to move between the screens, directly engaging with the projection beams, forming a set of social relations in which cinema is transformed into a collective event without a single point of focus. Light Music occupies an important threshold in film history, drawing on early experiments in ‘visual music’ from the 1920s by pioneers including Oskar Fischinger, Hans Richter and Walther Ruttmann, and subsequently opening cinematic practice up to a host of concerns from gender politics to phenomenological experience.

Lis Rhodes (born 1942, London) is a major figure in the history of artists’ filmmaking in Britain and was a leading member of the influential London Filmmakers’ Co-op. She currently lives and works in London, where a survey exhibition of her career, Lis Rhodes: Dissonance and Disturbance, was held at the ICA from January to March 2012. Her films are distributed by LUX.

https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern-tanks/display/lis-rhodes-light-music

Lisa Steele & Kim Tomczak

http://steeleandtomczak.com/project.html?project=birthday_suit
Birthday Suit with scars and defects
Lisa Steele. 1974. Video, b/w, sound. 11:00 (3 min excerpt)

Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak have worked exclusively in collaboration since 1983, producing videotapes, performances and photo/text works. In 2009, Steele + Tomczak were awarded an Honourary Doctorate by the University of British Columbia (Okanagan); in 2005, a Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Visual & Media Arts; in 1994 they received both a Toronto Arts Award and the Bell Canada prize for excellence in Video Art.

They are co-founders of Vtape, an award-winning media arts centre established in 1983 in Toronto. Currently Steele is Artistic Director and Tomczak is Restoration and Collections Management Director. Both teach at the University of Toronto in The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.

Major public art commissions include: Watertable (2009, and expanded in 2011) a light and sound installation under the Gardiner Expressway (a raised highway) that marks the original shoreline of Lake Ontario at the foot of historic Fort York; …bump in the night (Barrie) (2010) commissioned by McLaren Art Centre and installed in bus shelters; Falling Up (2006) a video work for the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Love Squared (2006) screened on the 2400 square foot video board at Yonge & Dundas Square in Toronto. A major survey of their work, The Long Time: the 21st century work of Steele + Tomczak, curated by Paul Wong (with a 84 page catalogue), opened at On Main Gallery and VIVO, Vancouver, BC in September 2012; the exhibition traveled to A Space Gallery, Toronto, ON (2013), the Art Gallery of Windsor, ON (2016-17), and Dalhousie University Art Gallery, Halifax, NS (2017).

Legal Memory, their first feature-length work, has been shown in a number of film festivals since its release including: The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Festival, the Festival Internazionale Cinema Giovani (Turin, Italy), the Toronto Festival of Festivals and broadcast on TVOntario. In 1996, their work BLOOD RECORDS: written and annotated, received a world premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and toured across Canada with a bi-lingual catalogue published by The Oakville Galleries.

Recent solo exhibitions of their works have taken place at Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax, (2014); Le Mois de la Photo a Montreal (2011); WHARF Centre D’art contemporain, Herouxville-St. Clair, France (2010); Diaz Contemporary, Toronto (2009); Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, (2009); Dazibao, Montreal (2008); the Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris (2003).

Selected group exhibitions and screenings of their work include: Every. Now. Then. Reframing Nationhood, Art Gallery of Ontario (2017); Imago Mundi, Instituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti, Venice, Italy (2017); La Biennale de Montréal, Musee d’art contemporain de Montréal (2014); Carbon 14: Climate is Culture, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (2013); STITCHES: Suzhou Fast Forward, Workshop, Toronto (2011); Empire of Dreams: phenomenology of the built environment at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2010); a focus screening at EXIS: Experimental Film and Video Festival in Seoul, Korea (2010); the Berlin Film Festival, Forum Expanded (2009); Akbank Sanat, Istanbul (2009); TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) Future Projections (2009); Sophia, Bulgaria at the Central Bath House (2008); a focus screening at Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid (2006); Beyond/In Western New York, organized by Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo (2005); Trivandrum Video Festival, New Delhi (2003); City of York Public Gallery, York, England (2000).

Lisa Steele’s early solo video works included currently in PhotoLab 2: Women Speaking Art, National Gallery of Canada, April 7, 2017 – September 10, 2017, and Canadian and Indigenous Art: 1968 to Present, May 3, 2017- April 30, 2018.


Juggling – 1972


Lecture: “I Will (Still) Make Boring Art (Redux)”

http://steeleandtomczak.com