Floating Sound Gallery

Stephen Vitiello

(c) Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner)

Stephen Vitiello is a sound and media artist based in Richmond, VA. Solo exhibitions of Vitiello’s sound installations, photographs and drawings have been presented at The Project, NY, Museum 52, London, Galerie Almine Rech, Paris and Diapason, NYC. Group exhibitions include the 2002 Whitney Biennial, the 2006 Biennial of Sydney and “Soundings: A Contemporary Score” at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. CD releases include Bright and Dusty Things (New Albion), Listening to Donald Judd (Sub Rosa) and Box Music, a collaborative CD with Machinefabriek (12k). Over the last 25 years, Stephen has collaborated with numerous musicians and artists including Scanner, Pauline Oliveros, Julie Mehretu, Steve Roden, Taylor Deupree and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Rush and Lullaby.

Performers: Michael J. Maccaferri (clarinet), Molly Alicia Barth (flute), Nicholas Photinos (cello), Lisa Kaplan (piano)

Four members of eighth blackbird were recorded individually, provided not so much with a “score” but a list of tasks to perform – a very high note, a very low note, percussive sounds, the sound of an unspecified animal. These samples were then collected and treated as raw material for the composition. By layering tracks, collisions of time, pitch and sensitivity were discovered and singled out, sometimes manipulated but not always. I was interested among other things in how the players might be connected (psychically or otherwise) even when not playing together – how each one would deal with time and choice of notes without knowing what the others had done.
Notes written by the composer.

Stephen Vitiello and Taylor Deupree, Captiva (surround mix), 2014-2015.

“The best way to know people is to work with them, and that’s a very serious form of intimacy.” Robert Rauschenberg, 1977

Stephen Vitiello and Taylor Deupree’s Captiva was recorded while in residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s new Rauschenberg Residency Program at his estate and studio compound in Captiva, Florida. “From the Fish House,” captures a series of duets, recorded in a small guest house, perched above the bay of the inland waters of Captiva Island. Microphones were mounted inside and outside the room, allowing the environmental sounds of osprey, pelicans and water to naturally enter the mix. The primary instrumentation here is modular synthesizer, samples, electric guitar and found objects for percussion. If there’s a missing sound that could never be captured, its the sound of porpoises circling the Fish House, quietly breathing… a moment too fleeting to ever make it to tape, although attempted on many occasions.

“From The Main Studio” and “Last Piano (for RR)” were recorded during late night sessions in a vast reverberant work space, which the artist Robert Rauschenberg used as a multi-purpose production studio. In the far corner of the room, near giant doors opened to the quiet evening darkness, a baby grand piano sat, waiting to be played. Tracks on these pieces include the piano played with Ebows and prepared with forks and local beach shells as well as synthesizers and guitar. Many of the sounds were amplified and re-recorded in the room. The presence of Rauschenberg’s history and maybe welcoming ghost were always felt… if possibly not heard.