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In accordance with UC Santa Barbara's COVID-19 response, Media Arts and Technology is closed to walk in traffic. We are conducting business remotely and can be reached via email. For a list of faculty and staff, please go to our Media Arts and Technology Directory.

For information about Covid-19 related research ramp up policies, see:

COVID-19 Information for the UC Santa Barbara Campus

Media Arts and Technology

Graduate Program

University of California Santa Barbara



In the practice of media arts, which resides at the intersection of art, engineering and science, seamless communication between disciplines is crucial to creating work that can make an impact in all three areas. The need for a language that enables effective communication between artists, scientists and engineers becomes more prominent as experts from each field strive to push boundaries in their research. In this master’s project, I propose several approaches utilizing abstract representations afforded by interactive visualizations to translate between discipline specific languages, creating works that are understood and valued by researchers in fields ranging from arts and humanities to engineering and data science. I will introduce two case studies in support of each of the proposed approaches, demonstrating their translating effect in both interactive art and data visualization.


Virtual Reality (VR) systems have surged in popularity over the last decade, with many different types of devices being utilized to create immersive virtual environments (IVE). One of the key functionalities of an IVE is to induce presence, the sense of "being there", from the user. This is dependent on how the system can manipulate our perception of spatial layout, which involves neurobiological processes of constructing a neural map of the nearby space within our reach, called the peripersonal space. This dissertation aims to understand what presence is, how our brain perceives space, and the importance of peripersonal space in generating presence. Using various iterations of projection-based VR system setups as examples of how to utilize this knowledge, this dissertation will provide insight on how to effectively set up projection-based VR systems with limited resources.

Past Events  


Cangjie is a complex intelligent system that was designed as a conceptual response to the future semantic human-machine reality. There are two visualizations generated by Cangjie through perceiving the real-world via a camera (located in the exhibition space) in real time. Inspired by Cangjie, an ancient Chinese legendary historian (c. 2650 BCE), who invented Chinese characters based on the characteristics of everything on the earth, we trained a neural network "Cangjie" to learn the constructions and principles of all the Chinese characters. It transforms what the neural network perceives into a collage of unique symbols made of Chinese strokes. UCSB Computer Science PhD alumni Donghao Ren also collaborated on the project.

Due to the pandemic, the exhibit has been modified to use public sources of data that replaces the video camera in the exhibition space.

Another art project by Weidi Zhang titled "Lavin" has been selected to be a part of the art gallery for the 2021 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition. The virtual event will take place June 19-25 2021. MAT PhD alumni Rodger Luo also collaborated on the project.

A new audio visual artwork by Weidi Zhang titled "Astro" will be shown at Planetarium 1 in St. Petersburg Russia.


Astro by Weidi Zhang

Weidi discussed her current art projects in an interview by Neural Magazine.


Photo: UC Santa Barbara Alumni

The article appeared in the Alumni Spotlights, which features news about outstanding UCSB alumni and their contributions to their field of study. In the article, Marco discusses his art, his work, and the challenges of opening a new museum in Santa Barbara during a pandemic.

"Oscilla" is currently on display at the Museum of Sensory & Movement Experiences, a Santa Barbara based museum dedicated to interactive and media artworks. Marco Pinter is the executive director of the museum.

The exhibition is part of the symposium "Unfolding Intelligence: The Art and Science of Comtemporary Computation".

PSAA is an AI-generated cartography. This program generates a new type of poetic pseudo archive of alternative machine readings in the age of rising mass surveillance architectures. Over time, the program unfolds on the browser's screen, extracting the main features from several images and generating new layers of reconstructed data. In a way, a diagrammatic representation of humanity and the violence we inflict upon each other.



Exhibition website:

Exhibition page:

EmissionControl2 is a granular sound synthesizer. The theory of granular synthesis is described in the book Microsound (Curtis Roads, 2001, MIT Press).

Released in October 2020, the new app was developed by a team consisting of Professor Curtis Roads acting as project manager, with software developers Jack Kilgore and Rodney Duplessis. Kilgore is a computer science major at UCSB. Duplessis is a PhD student in music composition at UCSB and is also pursuing a Masters degree in the Media Arts and Technology graduate program.

EmissionControl2 is free and open-source software available at:

The project was supported by a Faculty Research Grant from the UCSB Academic Senate.

Past News  


Exhibition Catalogs

End of Year Show

About MAT

Media Arts and Technology (MAT) at UCSB is a transdisciplinary graduate program that fuses emergent media, computer science, engineering, electronic music and digital art research, practice, production, and theory. Created by faculty in both the College of Engineering and the College of Letters and Science, MAT offers an unparalleled opportunity for working at the frontiers of art, science, and technology, where new art forms are born and new expressive media are invented.

In MAT, we seek to define and to create the future of media art and media technology. Our research explores the limits of what is possible in technologically sophisticated art and media, both from an artistic and an engineering viewpoint. Combining art, science, engineering, and theory, MAT graduate studies provide students with a combination of critical and technical tools that prepare them for leadership roles in artistic, engineering, production/direction, educational, and research contexts.

The program offers Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Media Arts and Technology. MAT students may focus on an area of emphasis (multimedia engineering, electronic music and sound design, or visual and spatial arts), but all students should strive to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries and work with other students and faculty in collaborative, multidisciplinary research projects and courses.

Alumni Testimonials