You Are The Sweet Spot
is a site-specific sound piece created for Caramoor’s Italian Pavilion. The Pavilion was inspired by the Italian architect Filippo Brunnelleschi, one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance. The open-air building is visually striking and includes many features designed to enhance its beauty, as well as a number of practical features such as the arched floor shaped to shed the rain. All of this is immediately visible, even from a distance. However, the remarkable acoustics of this space are every bit as striking as its appearance. Although invisible to the casual observer (and probably accidental to the original design), these sonic qualities have provided a unique opportunity to the composers.
The subtle variance in the dimensions of the space, due to the curve of the ceiling and the gentle contour of the floor, produces a myriad of resonances. Our composition is carefully tuned to the pitches suggested by these resonances. Measurements were taken and sounds chosen specifically to harmonize with these — the structure’s own preferred pitches. Synthetic tones slowly come and go, creating the underlying sound bed, over which a guitar—tuned to those same pitches—is played by the wind. When you enter the space, you’ll discover a highly localized acoustic experience. The sweet spot follows you. Then, when you step toward the perimeter of the space, all reverberation vanishes.
Step into the space and listen to sounds that have been held within the Pavilion since its creation.
—Stephen Vitiello and Bob Bielecki
Stephen Vitiello is an electronic musician and media artist. His sound installations have been presented internationally and are in the collections of museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Past exhibitions include MASS MoCA, the 2002 Whitney Biennial, the 2006 Biennial of Sydney, the Cartier Foundation, Paris, and in public spaces including on the High Line in New York City. Vitiello has collaborated with such artists and musicians as Nam June Paik, Tony Oursler, Pauline Oliveros, Julie Mehretu, Taylor Deupree, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Vitiello has received numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship for Fine Arts, Creative Capital funding in the category of Emerging Fields, and an Alpert/Ucross Award for Music. Originally from New York, Vitiello is now based in Richmond, Virginia, where he is an Associate Professor in the department of Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University.
For over 20 years of performances, recordings and installations, Bob Bielecki has been a vital partner in many of Stephen Vitiello’s most ambitious projects.
Bob Bielecki has worked in the media arts field for more than forty years, creating unique instruments and sound designs for installation and performance. He is known for his innovative use of technology to develop distinctive electronic effects and environments and is engaged in ongoing research in psychoacoustics, sound localization, and 3-D audio.Bob Bielecki has worked with many artists including John Cage, Alvin Lucier, La Monte Young and Pauline Oliveros. His association with Laurie Anderson dates from the mid-1970s and he has worked with Stephen Vitiello and Annea Lockwood since the 1980s.
He produced and engineered the groundbreaking media-arts residency program, ZBS/AIR, and helped to pioneer the field of binaural radio. A recipient of grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts, he is an Associate Professor of Music at Bard College and serves on the faculty of the Bard MFA Program.
2014 Installation and Interview. Video by Caryn Waechter.