VISUAL presents Soft Rains Will Come, a new body of work by artist Christopher Steenson. Influenced by the experimental fiction of David Markson, the compositions of John Cage, and research drawn from climate modelling and weather forecasting, Soft Rains Will Come takes the form of a spatial sound installation that operates as a live radio broadcast within the gallery space.
The installation combines live shortwave radio signals, found recordings of shortwave radio, field recordings, analogue photography, and written research materials to transmit an ‘imaginary landscape’.
Amongst the static and squawks of communication, an unknown voice broadcasts itself to twelve transistor radios. This acousmêtre is an eavesdropper and an oracle, outlining a speculative future of the earth, as it transforms under an erratically changing climate.
Like the weather itself, this sound work exists as an entropic system that constructs and recombines itself in endlessly disordered ways. Past and present fragments of sound are perpetually rearranged, to make predictions of an anxious future.
Entropic System: A system that lacks order or coherence, or is in a state of collapse or decline.
Acousmêtre: A disembodied voice that is only heard and not seen, such as a voiceover in a film.
About the Artist
Christopher Steenson (b. 1992) is an artist based between the north and south of Ireland. With a background in psychology and the sonic environment. Primarily working in the mediums of sound, writing and photography, he has exhibited nationally and internationally since 2017.
Recent work includes the national public sound artwork On Chorus (2020), which broadcast the sounds of the spring dawn chorus across Ireland by utilising Iarnród Eireann/Irish Rail’s network of train station PA systems. On Chorus was awarded a Business to Arts Award in 2021 and exists as an artist’s LP. False Detection (2019–2021) was presented as part of the biennale group exhibition ‘Urgencies’ at CCA Derry~Londonderry, curated by Catherine Hemelryk and artist Locky Morris.
His public art proposal Wren Radio received a high commendation from the judges for VISUAL’s Public Art Open Call in March 2021, from which Soft Rains Will Come has been developed.