Matt Steinke’s dense, funny, haunting installations and performances feature everything from animatronic puppetry and meticulous animation to interactive homemade robotic sound apparatuses. Each piece offers an incomplete glimpse into an evocative, elegant, claustrophobic cosmos.

– Bert Stabler

Steinke’s work presents articulations about the future and examines how perceptions can arise from the recent and distant past. He repurposes personal and collective memories that explore themes of nostalgia, paranoia, trauma, and hope in order to arrive at an impossible new vision or a distorted utopia. Pulling from a cast of mass culture rubbish, surplus parts, and archived media, he orchestrates mechanisms into multi-sensory compositions designed to reinvent their own purpose. He utilizes the unpredictable behaviors of people, animals, robots, electronics, and musical instruments as interconnected collaborative components with the hope of revealing new data over time. 

His current work extracts musical narratives from found objects that have been transformed into hand-crafted robotic devices. In “The Magnetosphere”, he proposes an alternate reality musical experience that plays with the notion of time travel. He infuses vintage and new technology into instruments that digitally and electromagnetically resonate metal tins and tubs. Spectators walk through the composition experiencing it as an immersive, non-electrophonic sound installation. Loudspeakers are replaced by several physical acoustic mechanisms that have their own individual sonic characteristics projecting in every direction.

Over the past two decades, Steinke’s installations and performances have been presented in museums, galleries, and festivals across the U.S. He holds an MFA in Art and Technology Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Upon graduation, he received The Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for Interdisciplinary/Computer Art. He was a juror’s finalist and Seed Grant recipient for ArtPrize 2016. He received the 2015 New Music USA Project Grant. His “Tine Organ” instrument was a semifinalist in the 2015 Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition. His work has been featured in Wired, Artweek LA, The Village Voice, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, Spin, Rolling Stone, Keyboard Magazine, Drum Magazine, Hackaday, and on the cover of Tape Op. In the 90s, as a member of the Northwest noise-punk bands Mocket, Satisfact, and Octant, he made over a dozen recordings and toured extensively. Currently residing in Austin, Texas, he divides his time between music composition, performance, installation, acoustic research, and experimental musical instrument design.


Escaping from Reality(?) in Matthew Steinke’s No Place by Zoë Crabtree
The Civilians
Creative Capitol On Our Radar: Flood
Hackaday: The Tine Organ
Fusebox: The Magnetosphere- Art as Science, Science as Art
Artweek LA: Matthew Steinke: Octant
PopCity: Rock-Bot: Octant Robot Band
MIDI.ORG: Midi and Robots
Theremin World: Octant



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