Something Like Fireworks: New Installation by Stephen Vitiello
Opens at Wellesley's Davis Museum
Feb. 24 - June 6, 2010

Feb. 11, 2010

CONTACT: Nina J. Berger
High-resolution images and interviews upon request

WELLESLEY, Mass.— In his first solo exhibition in New England, sound artist and electronic musician Stephen Vitiello will create a new installation, Something Like Fireworks, for the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College. An introduction to mystery and an invitation to travel, Vitiello’s work will offer a unique experience, enveloping visitors and transforming their conception of the space around them. Vitiello will give a gallery talk at the opening reception Wednesday, Feb. 24, from 6-8 pm.

Stephen Vitiello
An introduction to mystery and an invitation to travel, Vitiello’s work will offer a unique experience, enveloping visitors and transforming their conception of the space around them.

Featuring his field recordings from the Australian outback, the Canadian wilderness, a Virginia marsh and New York City streets, Vitiello’s soundscape will combine captured audio with both traditional and inventive musical elements. Lighting designer Jeremy Choate will collaborate with Vitiello to compose the lighting in sympathy with the audio.

“Sound has a distinct evocative power for the human mind," said exhibition curator Elaine Mehalakes. "In connecting color and light to sound, the sensory immersion of Something Like Fireworks extracts us from our daily haste and surface scanning, attuning us to the subtleties of perception. Sound and light are potentially infinite and move through the architecture of the room at differing rates, defining it and creating new forms - both individually and through their intersection. In this installation, sound inspires color, creating an experience akin to synaesthesia, in which stimulation of one sense causes the linked experience of another, described by neurologist Richard Cytowic as 'something like fireworks.'"

You can hear a sample of a soundscape by Vitiello at

Stephen Vitiello
Stephen Vitiello and lighting designer Jeremy Choate will collaborate to integrate soundscape and lighting in the new installation, Something Like Fireworks.

The Los Angeles Times has called Vitiello’s work “stunning” and “revelatory,” adding, “What more can you ask of a work of art than that it alter your breath – that it first make you aware of your own breathing and then slow it, shape it, sculpt it?”

Vitiello’s work ranges from mesmerizing soundscapes to installations, and includes collaborations with composers and visual artists. For his seminal World Trade Center Recordings (1999), he created a sonic portrait of one of the towers through the use of contact microphones. Vitiello has composed music for independent films, video projects and art installations.  He has released numerous innovative and experimental CDs and has performed and exhibited around the world, including events at the Tate Modern, the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Kitchen in New York City. Visit for more information on the artist.

The presentation of Vitiello’s installation at the Davis Museum is made possible by the generous support of the Wellesley College Friends of Art and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


OPENING RECEPTION: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 6-8 pm.

"Stunning Sounds: On Sirens Old and New," by Alex Rehding, Newhouse resident fellow, Wednesday, March 10, 6 pm, Collins Cinema.Rehding, a resident fllow at Wellesley's Newhouse Center for the Humanities and the Fanny Peabody professor of music at Harvard University, discusses the definition and history of sound art.


Anne Tardos, Sunday, April 21, 6 pm, Collins Cinema.Tardos is a poet and visual artist whose work includes multilingual and sound poetry. Participants will receive a free limited-edition, letterpress poetry broadside. Funded by the William T. Kemper Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Davis Museum and Cultural Center Hours and Information

Museum hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 11 am-5 pm, Wednesday until 8 pm, and Sunday, noon-4 pm. Closed Mondays and holidays.  Admission is free. Telephone: 781-283-2051
Web site:
Location: Wellesley College campus, 106 Central Street in Wellesley, Mass. 
Parking: Free and available in the lot behind the museum. Additional parking is available in the Davis Parking Facility. 
Tours: Wednesdays at 1 pm. Led by student museum mentors and curators. Free. Call 781-283-3382.
Accessible: The Davis Museum, Collins Café and Collins Cinema are wheelchair accessible and wheelchairs are available for use in the museum without charge. Special needs may be accommodated by contacting Director of Disability Services Jim Wice at 781-283-2434 or


One of the oldest and most acclaimed academic fine arts museums in the United States, the Davis Museum and Cultural Center is a vital force in the intellectual, pedagogical and social life of Wellesley College.  It seeks to create an environment that cultivates critical thinking, inspires new ideas and fosters involvement with the arts both within the College and the larger community.


Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world.  Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 75 countries.

Wellesley has been collecting and exhibiting visual art since 1889 — making the College one of the first liberal arts institutions to establish a teaching collection.  The Wellesley arts curriculum and its highly acclaimed Davis Museum and Cultural Center are integral and irreplaceable components of the College’s liberal arts education.  Wellesley also offers many outstanding exhibits, performances and lectures that are free of charge and open to the public.