Stephen Vitiello

Stephen Vitiello is an electronic musician and sound artist from Richmond VA, who also works as a curator of of film, video, and sound art for Electronic Arts Intermix, an important distributor of artist’s videotapes. Vitiello originally started working at Electronic Arts Intermix as an electronic guitarist, but his interests evolved over time as he became more exposed to artists and their ideas. Today, he blends “incidental atmospheric noises into mesmerizing soundscapes”. His work is highly experimental, and fuses sound and installation to manipulate our perception of the surrounding environment.

I don’t have much experience with sound art, but i thought Vitiello’s work was really cool. His soundscapes are quite complex – he experiments with a wide variety of sounds, ranging from more traditional musical instruments such as the clarinet, electronic guitar, voice, and windchimes; to the less traditional, including rice, chocolate sprinkles, broken records, tape, and street noises. Although many of the soundscapes are without an underlying melody, they are extremely intriguing because of their ability to alter mood. Vitiello achieves this though subtle techniques such as the use of minor keys, dissonant chords, rhythm, crescendo, etc. Vitiello pairs the soundscapes with large-scale installations – he typically designs a room in which people can sit or lie down and experience the work. The types of installations range in complexity and aesthetics – Some are almost psychedelic, as in Something Like Fireworks, where people lie on their backsĀ  in a room, while sound and colored light emanate from a giant speaker installed in the ceiling. Others are stark – the setting might be in an open warehouse or a make-shift shack in the desert. In this way, Vitiello utterly manipulates our environment as we experience his work, and thus manipulates the overall experience.

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