A Bell for Every Minute with Stephen Vitiello

Stephen Vitiello is a sound artist looking to open his audience to the world of vibrations. His career has spanned from electronic music to scoring experimental videos to his most recent form of work — larger-scale public installations that make immersive soudscapes accessible to a wider audience.

Stephen Vitiello

He started his PopTech presentation off with a story of an encounter in Sydney, Australia, where he had installed “The Sound Of Red Earth” at the Sydney brickworks. Vitiello recalled how a young girl had pulled him aside to shyly ask him a question — “do you ever just lean down and put your ear to the table to listen to the sounds?” It seems that this sense of child-like wonder and curiosity is what he hopes to evoke with his work.

Vitiello also told of his experience as a resident artist in the World Trade Center in 1999. He spent six months working out of a studio on the 91st floor of Tower One, and used contact microphones to record the building’s internal sounds at all times of day. An excerpt from one recording during a severe storm revealed the internal creakings of the massive building under stress.

Stephen’s most recent public sound installation, called “A Bell for Every Minute,” is placed in Manhattan’s High Line Park. Vitiello sampled bell sounds from throughout New York City’s five boroughs, including the New York Stock Exchange, the United Nations Peace Bell, and the recently excavated Coney Island Dreamland bell. He finished his talk with a recording of the sound that plays at the High Line installation every hour — all of the 59 bells layered into one room-filling sound.

(Photo credit: Kris Krüg)

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