Scanner and Stephen Vitiello

Sonic investigations into bodily experience and spatial practice

While in residence at MIT, Scanner (aka Robin Rimbaud) and Stephen Vitiello contributed to a course, 4.373/374, titled “Sound Installations and Sonic Interventions,” which explored how sound can offer new ways of understanding space and place. The class was taught by artist Gediminas Urbonas, Associate Professor in MIT’s Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT), in conjunction with two composition classes, 21M.065 (Introduction to Music Composition) and 21M. 351 (Music Composition), both taught by Keeril Makan, Associate Professor of Music at MIT.

Scanner and Vitiello served as creative catalysts, coming to campus once a month throughout the semester to advise students on their projects, perform original works and discuss their own pioneering work in music and sound art. Enrolled students creatively explored locations on the MIT campus through a series of sound installations at the intersection of music, art, architecture and sound engineering. From the underground tunnels to the palatial skylit dome, MIT is a campus rich in unusual spaces, each with its own particular acoustic and cultural resonance. These are nooks and crannies that hum and vibrate, whisper and sing.

Scanner and Vitiello culminated their residency in an improvised and immersive sound performance, “Sonic Bodies,” accompanied by Either/Or members David Shively and Jennifer Choi. Artist Madeleine Gallagher created a backdrop of kaleidoscopic visuals. Surrounded by speakers, audiences were immersed in a rich and ever-shifting sonic landscape whose resonances could be felt within the body.

Scanner and Stephen Vitiello’s residency at MIT investigated the spatial dimensions of sonic environments as a common territory in visual research, music and cognition. The artists traversed the experimental terrain between sound, space, image and form, creating genre-crossing sound pieces that use technology in unconventional ways and disrupt perceptions of the surrounding space. Through this residency, the ongoing investigations of space advanced by the MIT Program in Art Culture and Technology are combined with cutting-edge aural research.

Scanner and Vitiello’s visit to the Institute is part of MIT Sounding, an innovative annual performance series that blurs the boundaries between contemporary and world music. Curated by Evan Ziporyn, Faculty Director of the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, the 2014-15 season of MIT Sounding’s diverse offerings range from live performances by new music pioneers Alvin Lucier and Terry Riley to early music denizens Boston Camerata and the Grammy Award-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth.

Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) and Stephen Vitiello’s residency at MIT is presented by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) and the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology.

 

 

Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) is an artist and composer working in London. Since 1991 he has been intensely active in sonic art, concert production, installations and recordings. His albums include Mass Observation (1994), Delivery (1997), and The Garden is Full of Metal (1998). His work has been presented throughout the United States, South America, Asia, Australia and Europe.

Stephen Vitiello is an electronic musician and media artist. His sound installations have been presented internationally including at MASS MoCA, the 2002 Whitney Biennial, the 2006 Biennial of Sydney, the Cartier Foundation, Paris and in many public spaces. Vitiello is an Associate Professor in the department of Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University.

More at the artist’s website: Scanner (Robin Rimbaud).

More at the artist’s website: Stephen Vitiello.

Past Events

Sonic Bodies 
May 16, 2014 
A performance by Scanner and Stephen Vitiello With guests David Shively (percussion) and Jennifer Choi (violin) of the Either/Or ensemble Digital visualizations by Madeleine Gallagher Scanner and Stephen Vitiello present the culmination of their research at MIT with a performance of immersive, spatialized sound. The program explores the resonance of the body by placing the audience within a group of speakers that shift and sculpt a sonic landscape.

 

Class Visits

4.373 Advanced Studio in Production of Space: Sound Installation
February 10-15, 2014, Scanner + Vitiello
March 11-13, 2014, Vitiello
April 1-3, 2014, Scanner
May 12-17, 2014, Scanner + Vitiello
4.373 Advanced Studio in Production of Space: Sound Installation
Student Installations Live Performance
May 13, 2014

Featuring live performances and presentations of student projects in MIT’s Lobby 7, on the Green Building roof, at the MIT Media Lab, Walker Memorial Gym, and Stata Center. 4.373 Sound Installations and Sonic Interventions is lead by Professor Gediminas Urbonas and Teaching Assistant Ann Lui.

21M.351 Music Composition + Visiting Artists Either/Or ensemble
New Works by MIT Undergraduate Composers
May 17, 2014

Works composed by students enrolled in 21M.351 Music Composition, performed by Either/Or Ensemble: Jennifer Choi, violin; Taka Kigawa, piano; Wendy Law, cello; David Shively, percussion. 21M.351 Music Composition is lead by Keeril Makan, Associate Professor of Music.

 

Sound and Music: Toolkit Interview with Scanner

WFMU: Stephen Vitiello: A Musician in the Artworld

The New York Times: Did You Hear That? It Was Art: Museums Embrace Works of Sound

Keeril Makan, Associate Professor of Music in Music and Theater Arts

Gediminas Urbonas, Associate Professor in the MIT Program for Art, Culture and Technology

Neil Leonard, ACT Research Affiliate and Artistic Director of the Berklee Interdisciplinary Arts Institute

Ann Lui, SMArchS HTC candidate

Scanner and Stephen Vitiello. Credit: Meg Rotzel
Scanner and Stephen Vitiello. Credit: Meg Rotzel

More about the Residency

Selected Past Projects