Composer, conductor, performance artist, pianist and musicologist Luciano Chessa gets around.

In December, Chessa was at a book launch in Buenos Aires; in late winter, he was in San Francisco (he is currently on sabbatical from that city’s Conservatory of Music); and last week he was in New York City, playing piano for a U.S. ballet premiere. But his home base for the past two months has been Rockland.

Chessa is the Steel House’s first artist-in-residence and Friday night, April 20, the public is invited to see — and help create — an installation and performance of a new work.

Steel House is a co-working and maker facility spread between two buildings that hosts a vibrant community of designers and artists. Chessa’s work dips into industrial design … and defies easy definition. As a performer, he plays piano, the Vietnamese dan bau, musical saw and now, as attendees will experience Friday night, paintings.

Doors will open at 7 p.m. at CHURCH, the former church building space at 16 Brewster St. most recently known as NoRo Gallery (the building is now the private residence, albeit with a performance space, of Donna McNeil, executive director of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation). People are invited to see Chessa’s installation of five rectangular paintings, created of acrylic on plastic film, and discover how to interact with them.

“'I tell people that these are paintings that chirp; their sounds change in relation to how people move within the space of the exhibit,” he said the day after his performance at Manhattan’s Italian Institute of Culture.

Making sounds that some would call noise has been a focus in recent years, as Chessa has become known as an authority on Futurist music. Futurism, an early 20th-century avant-garde movement that started in Italy, embraced, among other things, technology and the modern industrial city. “The Art of Noises,” one of the movement’s manifestos, was written by Luigi Russolo, who attempted to reflect the urban machine soundscape in a concert setting by inventing acoustic noise generators he called intonarumori.

Some 100 years later, Chessa published “Luigi Russolo Futurist: Noise, Visual Arts, and the Occult,” the first monograph dedicated to Russolo. Chessa also has recreated Russolo’s instruments for his Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners, with which he tours internationally.

“Probably that project is closest to what I’m doing. The work in Rockland is a series of noise paintings. There are paintings on the wall, and the paintings produce sound,” Chessa said.

He does not want to reveal exactly how that sound is invoked — he wants the audience Friday night to discover that for themselves — but there is circuitry inside.

“I’ve done some sculptures before,” he said, referring to the intonarumori. “These are flat and in frames, instead of boxes.”

Around 7:30 p.m., the art installation will evolve into something else.

“I will be performing these paintings as if they were musical instruments,” said Chessa.

The work, titled “#00FF00 #FF00FF (people are trees),” is not what Chessa had in mind when he left California for Maine in February. He had spent the weeks prior to his arrival working up ideas for the residency. Then he got on the plane.

“And when I was on the plane, another idea came and by the time I landed, I was like, hmm! This sounds better to do,” he said.

He arrived on the Midcoast Feb. 12, so has had a couple of months to work on the schematics and also to make the artwork. A week before the CHURCH event, he began assembling the components.

Chessa’s residency came about through his friendship with sound designer Nathan Davis, a cofounder of Steel House.

“Luciano’s an old friend of mine. I’ve known him for something like 15 years, we went to grad school together in California,” Davis said a week before the event.

The Steel House team had been thinking about an artist residency for a while, he said.

“This is the first, so we’ve been finding out what it needs to be; basically, we provided a living space, a work space and we financed the construction of his project,” Davis said. “And we’re helping present his opening or performance.”

Davis said he’d been to a number of Chessa’s concerts in California, but those were of a more traditional format. For part of his residency, Chessa has been working on Julius Eastman’s Second Symphony, the world premiere of which he will conduct in New York City in September.

American composer, pianist and vocalist Eastman died, homeless, in 1990 at age 49. In recent years, his ecstatic minimalist work, what compositions and recordings exist and surface, has become more available … and celebrated.

“At the Steel House, I made the edition of the symphony for the manuscript score and for the publisher, Schirmer, one of the major publishers in the United States,” he said. “They acquired the rights to all the music that Eastman had written, and I was hired to make the edition because I have been working on Eastman’s music for several years now.”

Chessa spent the first month of his residency in Camden, then moved to Rockland’s North End. He is just a couple of doors down from CHURCH, and within walking distance of the Steel House and Steel House South. The timing of the residency has meant some chilly strolls for the Sardinian native.

“Some snow and blizzard and stuff like that, but it was much, much colder in January, right? But it was still the coldest I’ve ever experienced,” he said.

In fact, Chessa said he found he liked the wintry weather, triple nor’easters and all.

“I thought I might have problems, but I didn’t. I really enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s certainly been productive!”

There is no admission charge for Friday’s opening/performance. All are welcome. Although Chessa is leaving Rockland by the end of the weekend, “#00FF00 #FF00FF (people are trees)” will remain at CHURCH through May 4. The installation may be experienced by appointment; send email to