With Hidden Noise
20 March – 16 April
Photo of Stephen Vitiello by Naoko Wowsugi:
Can you tell us how
you got into sound art/recording
I grew up in NYC and started playing in bands when I was 14.
I continued for several years and then after college, started to meet visual
and performing artists who offered me the opportunities to create soundtracks
for their works. The first single-channel video/animation I contributed to was
by the Australian artist, Peter Callas. The first installation I worked on was
by the American artist, Tony Oursler. After 10 years of creating sound for
works by other people, I was ready to step out on my own. My first solo
installation was at the Museum of Contemporary, Lyon in 1998 or 1999. So, it
was really a progression.
How did you come
about curating this exhibition?
I’ve always enjoyed curating – but definitely from the point
of being an artist, and not a trained curator. I see curating as a format that
allows you to create a kind of picture (sonic in this case) through selection,
sequencing and creating a spatial context. In the case of this small
exhibition, With Hidden Noise, I was
invited by Independent Curators International (http://www.curatorsintl.org/) to
organize a small, easily containable sound art exhibition. I focused on sound
works mixed for the 5.1 surround format (5 speakers, with subwoofer). I
listened for works that were distinct but also might have different kinds of
connections that would connect to other selected works – some of the elements
include field recordings, manipulated sounds of instruments and every day
objects, an interested in sound as it moves through space as well over time.
Can you tell us about
the people in the exhibition?
The show includes pieces by Pauline Oliveros, Taylor
Deupree, Jennie C. Jones, Andrea Parkins, Steve Roden, Michael J. Schumacher,
Steve Peters, and myself. Pauline (http://www.paulineoliveros.us/)
the elder stateswoman here. She has been creating experimental music since the
is an electronic musician and photographer who runs the wonderful CD label, 12k
). Michael (http://www.michaeljschumacher.com/
is an excellent composer and sound artist. For many years, he also ran a very
important sound art gallery called Diapason (http://www.diapasongallery.org/
All of the artists in the show are American. That wasn’t a conscious decision.
I just thought of people I was in touch with and who I thought would be interested
in contributing to the show. And again, with various levels of compatibility.
With the exception of Pauline, I would say we’re all mid-career artists,
working for some 20 years each in the medium.
You’ve been in
Australia before to record the Kimberley region
I’ve been to the Kimberley region twice. I believe it was in
2010 and 2011. I was commissioned by Kaldor Public Art Projects (http://kaldorartprojects.org.au/
to create an installation based on field recordings in Australia. I
eventually presented three pieces in Sydney Park in abandoned kilns. Some of
the experience is captured in a documentary produced by ABC-TV (http://www.abc.net.au/arts/stories/s3145981.htm
What can people
expect when they come to the exhibition
The focus is on listening. There is a single surround sound
system with more than an hour of unique sound pieces. There are also catalogues
and books related to sound art that are available to read while one listens.
A lot of the artists
in the exhibition are quite established. Was that a choice you made.
I just made a selection of people who I think are doing
interesting work. Obviously, there are many, many more who I might have added
to the selection but I also wanted to keep the time of the compilation to a
manageable size. I definitely wasn’t thinking about status, just about quality
How would you
describe peoples recordings
Each is quite different. The sequence begins with an
accordion solo that Pauline Oliveros recorded in a beautiful sounding church.
Some of the pieces are more abstract, some frenetic, while others are more
ambient and quiet (such as Steve Roden’s piece). Each artist has their own way
of composing, using the spatial qualities of multi-channel sound and working
How is sound art
received in America
I don’t know if there’s one easy answer to that. There are a
lot of people working in various facets that might be termed sound art, or
experimental music. There are a smaller number among us (here, that would
include Steve Roden, Jennie C. Jones and myself) presenting work in commercial
galleries. There’s a growing awareness of sound art having an important set of
histories. There’s not always an easy acceptance by museums and galleries of
the complexity of presenting work properly. I’d say the interest in schools
including sound art is slowly growing. I teach at Virginia Commonwealth
University in a program called Kinetic Imaging (http://arts.vcu.edu/kineticimaging/)
Is sound art viewed
differently in Australia
do you think
I can’t say enough with enough authority or knowledge. I
know there is an important history of sound art in Australia and there continue
to be some great practitioners. Alan Lamb comes to mind immediately (http://rootstrata.com/rootblog/?p=5692
as someone who has been working for some time. I’m also a big fan (and friend)
of Lawrence English who runs the wonderful electronic music/sound art label,
Room 40 in Brisbane (http://room40.org/site/
Additional links to artists in the exhibition