A Bell For Every Minute (2010)

Stephen Vitiello’s new multi-channel sound installation A Bell For Every Minute is a site-specific work commissioned for the High Line. The piece will fill the 14th Street Passage, a semi-enclosed tunnel between West 13th and West 14th Streets, with sound recordings of bells taken from all over New York City and beyond. Sounds range from the iconic rings of the New York Stock Exchange bell, the historic Dreamland bell days after it was discovered in the water off Coney Island, the United Nation’s Peace Bell, and more everyday and personal sounds of bike bells, diner bells, and neighborhood church bells. Bells are used in our culture to mark the passing of time, act as warnings and alerts, mark celebrations, and memorialize those lost. While there are numerous conditions under which bells are heard in our city, they are universal sounds that all of us can appreciate as part of the ...

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Stephen Vitiello’s new multi-channel sound installation A Bell For Every Minute is a site-specific work commissioned for the High Line. The piece will fill the 14th Street Passage, a semi-enclosed tunnel between West 13th and West 14th Streets, with sound recordings of bells taken from all over New York City and beyond. Sounds range from the iconic rings of the New York Stock Exchange bell, the historic Dreamland bell days after it was discovered in the water off Coney Island, the United Nation’s Peace Bell, and more everyday and personal sounds of bike bells, diner bells, and neighborhood church bells. Bells are used in our culture to mark the passing of time, act as warnings and alerts, mark celebrations, and memorialize those lost. While there are numerous conditions under which bells are heard in our city, they are universal sounds that all of us can appreciate as part of the auditory landscape of our lives.

During park hours an individual bell will ring each minute from speakers placed throughout the tunnel, the overtones fading out as the next bell begins. A chorus of the selected bells will play at the top of each hour, filling the space. The sounds will be represented on a physical sound map that identifies the location of each bell, allowing the listener to follow the geographic journey of the recordings. Collectively, the bells are a microcosm of the urban landscape as they relate to the sounds captured throughout the daily life in New York City. The site, much like a bell tower, becomes activated by the composition, inviting the passerby to engage with the High Line and its connection to the city around it.

Following 2009’s The River That Flows Both Ways, by Spencer Finch, this project marks the second of two projects commissioned for the High Line, presented in partnership by Creative Time, Friends of the High Line, and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Vitiello’s work also marks the first sound project on the High Line, and the first large public art commission in New York City for the artist.

ABOUT THE ARTIST Stephen Vitiello was born in New York City in 1964, and now lives and works in Richmond Virginia, where he is currently an Associate Professor of Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).

Vitiello’s electronic music and sound installations transform atmospheric noises from the everyday environment into mesmerizing soundscapes. In addition to his solo musical releases and artistic endeavors, he has composed music for numerous film scores and dance productions.

Recent solo exhibitions include Museum 52, London; The Project NY; and Smallest of Wings at the Broadgate Arena, London, England. Group exhibitions include the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX; the 2006 Bienale of Sydney; and the 2002 Whitney Biennial. As a Media Curator, he curated the Sound Art component to the Whitney Museum's exhibition The American Century: Art and Culture 1950-2000, Young and Restless a video program for the Museum of Modern Art and New York, and New Sounds, New Spaces at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon. More information can be found at the artist’s website: www.stephenvitiello.com.

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