Chris Steenson

For his residency, Steenson is using the post-impressionist paintings of Belfast-born painter Paul Henry as a starting point for exploring how sound can be used to create a sonic landscape. These enquiries are focusing on how sound-based field recording methods can be used to both depict the unique landscape of Connemara, as well as augment it, to reflect the artist’s own experience within it by taking particular inspiration from Lawrence English’s idea of ‘relational listening’.

Some of the ways that Steenson has been trying to explore these ideas is by collaborating with weather and architectures, exploring how different recording techniques and environments that can work in correspondence with one another. This has included using shotgun mics to record the sound of wind howling through trees or metal surfaces, to using contact microphones to reveal the stresses of rain and wind placed on trees and buildings around the residency site. He has also been exploring the sounds of wildlife found around Interface, by using underwater microphones to record the sounds of frogs living in the old salmon hatchery’s disused water tanks, and using ambisonics to record the spatial sound of birds calling in the woodlands.

Christopher Steenson (b.1992) is an artist based in Ireland. With a background in psychology and the sonic environment, Steenson’s work uses sound, photography and writings as methods for listening to the future.

Recent solo exhibitions include Soft Rains Will Come at VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow, Ireland (26 February – 22 May 2022). His national public sound artwork On Chorus (2020) broadcast the sounds of the spring dawn chorus across Ireland by utilising Iarnród Eireann/Irish Rail’s network of train station PA systems (16–29 November 2020). On Chorus was awarded a Business to Arts Award in 2021 and exists as an artist’s LP.

Group exhibitions include the biennale survey exhibition Urgencies (2021), curated by Catherine Hemelryk and Locky Morris; and The Office for Common Sound at NCAD Gallery, Dublin (2019). Steenson’s work has been broadcast by CCA Glasgow’s Radiophrenia and Dublin Digital Radio (ddr) and has been covered by publications including Paper Visual Art, Irish Times, The Quietus, RTÉ and BBC Radio.