Christopher Steenson is a sound artist based in Dublin. His practice is concerned with the material manipulation of sound, as means of exploring technological utopianism and (lost) societal futures. Taking cues from cultural commentators such as Mark Fisher and Adam Curtis, Steenson’s sound works dwell on crises of the human condition within late-capitalism and the internet age. The paradoxes of: hyper-connected communities and increasing personal isolation; instant gratification and rising mental illness; and algorithmic echo chambers and ideological zeal are subjects of interrogation in his work.
The time-evolving patterns of computer code and algorithms – such as feedback loops and corecursion – are used as aesthetic devices. Steenson combines field recordings and sounds derived from outmoded audio formats (including cassette tapes) to expose the covert systems that influence contemporary society, while tapping into the hauntological feelings of temporal disjunction that typifies the current moment.
Christopher Steenson (b. 1992) originally studied Psychology at University, before embarking on a PhD investigating the relationship between auditory perception and human movement control. Eventually, he became disillusioned with academia and the prospects of a satisfying career as a postgraduate researcher. Nevertheless, the PhD taught Steenson valuable skills, such as audio synthesis and computer programming, which he realised could be used to creative ends. Additionally, through reading psychological, philosophical and anthropological texts on auditory perception, he became increasingly interested in the representational possibilities that sound offered as an artistic medium.
To date, Christopher Steenson’s work has manifested itself as site-specific performances and compositions. These works have appeared in a bank vault, church hall, univerity stairwell and city street way. His work has been shown at the EastSide Arts Festival, the Imagine Festival of Politics and Ideas and Framewerk Art Gallery. His tape-based composition Let Me Tell You was recently included on a compilation sound works curated by Catalyst Arts, which was premiered at the Sonic Arts Research Centre in Belfast.