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A Bell for Every Minute


3628223961_e3a769be09.jpg“A Bell for Every Minute” is a sound installation by artist Stephen Vitiello, located on the High Line in New York City. Vitiello recorded 59 bells from all over New York City. These include landmark bells such New York Stock Exchange bell, the Dreamland Bell, the United Nation’s Peace Bell, and more common, everyday bells such as bike bells, diner bells, and church bells. Vitiello placed speakers throughout the 14th Street Passage, a tunnel between West 13th and West 14th Streets. Each minute, a bell rings from the speakers. At the top of each hour, all of the different bells ring at once in a chorus that fills the space. The installation includes a physical map that shows the geographic location of each of the bells and allows listeners to follow the journey the recordings take throughout the city each hour. [1]




p8115492.jpgBecause the bells are sounds captured throughout the daily life in New York, the installation can be considered a “microcosm” of the urban landscape. [1] Vitiello points out in a video that during the chorus of the bells different cultures are being represented at the same time, as there is a Christian church bell and a Jewish church bell. Other sounds represent moving things, such as the cat’s bell and a ship’s bell. [2] The use of sound to create a microcosm of demographics and events is reminiscent of the installation “Sanctum” by James Coupe and Juan Pampin, at the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, which includes speakers that play many different voices simultaneously, generated from a collection of Facebook profiles. [3]


[1] Vitiello, Stephen. “Stephen Vitiello: A Bell for Every Minute.” High Line Art. n.p., n.d. Web.

09 Nov. 2013.

[2] “Stephen Vitiello: A Bell for Every Minute.” YouTube. n.p., 05 Jul. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.

[3] “Sanctum.” Henry Art Gallery. n.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.