Matthew Steinke

Matthew Steinke – artist and composer [born 1972] – explores memory, perception, and behavior through performances and installations of robotic musical instruments. Each individual device participates in larger robotic ensembles performing programatic, generative, and human-machine compositions. 

His 2016 installation, “The Magnetosphere” combines digital controllers, electronics, and electromagnets to induces pulse width modulated tones into found household ferrous metal objects. “The Tine Organ”, 2015, uses the same principle but with metal bars.

Steinke often performs with a multifunction modular robotic controller that he designed to support multiple instruments and to allow him to quickly improvise new inventions on the spot with materials and mechanical devices found locally from venue to venue. He has been producing robotic musical devices since 1997 and his collection includes over fifty instruments – solenoid and voice coil percussion, solenoid reed instruments, solenoid glockenspiels, servo string instruments, and electromagnetically induced membranes and tines. He has also produced several hybrid human-machine instruments that are difficult to describe. In addition to electrical engineering and acoustics, his main research examines aesthetic strategies for the use of machine behavior in musical performances and installations.