Stephen Vitiello interviewed by Kristin Poor and Glenn Wharton, December 5, 2019.
Stephen Vitiello is an American visual and sound artist based in Richmond, Virginia. He has composed music for independent films, art installations, and experimental video projects. From 1988 to 2000, Vitiello worked at Electronic Arts Intermix where he was Director of Distribution. He has also collaborated with visual artists such as Joan Jonas.
- “Stephen Vitiello interviewed by Kristin Poor and Glenn Wharton, December 5, 2019 (Interview Transcript).” Joan Jonas Knowledge Base, Artist Archives Initiative, 2021.
This interview begins with Vitiello speaking about when he first met Jonas in either 1988 or 1989 while he was working at Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), a non-profit organization that supported the work of Jonas. Vitiello shares that he first worked with her on distribution archiving and then later he worked with Jonas as a collaborator and a composer [00:00–03:00]. He explains specifically what his role was at EAI and how he worked to distribute and archive obsolete art mediums, such as early video art [03:01–05:58]. From here, Vitiello talks about what it was like to work with Jonas in terms of her engagement and their concerns about technology formats [05:58–10:51], but while he worked closely with Jonas he never assisted Jonas with installing video components [10:51–12:21]. The interview turns to Vitiello sharing his memory of working with Dorine Mignot when she was putting together the exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam [12:22–13:39] and whether or not he got involved at all in any of the technical considerations for showing the work [13:41–18:04]. From [18:56–24:14], Vitiello gives advice for people in the future that might come along with either analogue media or even digitized media that may need to be migrated to new formats or make other kinds of technical decisions. Next, Vitiello speaks about the work he did that was related to Jonas’ piece Lines in the Sand and how sound was definitely important to her [24:17–29:09]. He also mentions the rehearsal process in terms of how Jonas worked with him and the other performers [29:11–31:36]. From here, Vitiello shares some thoughts on how Jonas worked with such complex sound mixing. [31:37 –34:19] and how Jonas communicated reasons for specific references [34:20–35:01]. After speaking about working with Jonas, he then speaks about different pieces made by Jonas that he saw over the years, such as a performance at Wave Hill in the Bronx, the Queens Museum, and a few times with the Wooster Group in Brace Up! [35:25–38:46]. This conversation turns into Vitiello sharing his thoughts on Jonas working with Jason Moran [39:01–39:47]. The interview ends with Vitiello confirming that he did not work on the Stuttgart exhibition in 2001 or the Whitney version of Mirage in the early 2000s [39:51–40:53], a discussion of his work on Glass Puzzle and experiencing a power struggle with artists and galleries [41:01–43:48], and his own thoughts about the Joan Jonas Knowledge Base project and other people the researchers might interview [44:03–45:51].