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


MAT Alumni Panel: Speculative Futures. Panelists: Basak Alper Ramaswamy, August Black, Pablo Colapinto, Enrica Costello, Sterling Crispin. Moderator: Alexis Story Crawshaw.


Alumni from MAT converse around our special seminar theme of Speculative Futures (description below) and speak to the field, their retrospectives on the MAT program, their post-MAT work, and where they think the future of the field might be moving (and how this might inform MAT and our future approaches). This MAT Alumni Panel is the first in a series of such alumni panels we plan to hold.

Speculative Futures

The future is inherently unknowable, but our present converging crises make for some particularly mysterious seeding conditions. What futures might emerge? What kinds of vectors might be possible from this historical node? The destabilizing events of the new decade have catalyzed global critical reflection about longstanding systems and institutions, with particular focus on mitigating existential threats and social inequalities. The stakes have never been higher, but present volatilities may offer increased flexibility for radical change. During the lockdown, transdisciplinary arts organizations such as Leonardo, S+T+ARTS, and Digital Futures have been hosting international conversations on reimagining the future and the roles that we, as hybrid practitioners, might play in realizing positive change. Relatedly, the practice of speculative design encourages this genre of critical future ideation through artistic praxis itself. As an extension of these efforts and mindsets, the 2021 Fall MAT Seminar Series invites speakers both inside and outside the media arts field to articulate and share their speculative visions, hopes, and designs for the future in this pivotal time. How might such futures shape our field? How might the field change to better guide better futures?


Basak Alper Ramaswamy. PhD MAT 2013

Basak Alper Ramaswamy works at Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA. She is a product manager of software tools that are being developed for ground operations of space missions. She applies her skills in user research, data science and visualization to create software tools with a user-centered focus. She received her PhD degree from the UCSB MAT program in 2013. Her research interests spanned information visualization and human-computer interaction topics. She has published in various journals and conferences including ACM SIGCHI, IEEE Transactions on Graphics and Visualization, IEEE InfoVis. She lives in Pasadena CA with her husband and two daughters.

August Black. PhD MAT 2011

August Black is a hybrid practitioner of art, design and engineering. He makes experimental spatial and acoustic situations, often by building his own technological artifacts and instruments in hardware and software. His past work focused on live networked audio, mixing FM radio with user input through online software. His current interests span the fields of the philosophy of technology, software studies, techno-politics, peer-to-peer networking and AI/machine learning. In the past, he’s been a member of arts organizations such as the ORF Kunstradio and the Ars Electronica Futurelab, as well as a former member of the engineering team at Cycling ‘74, makers of Max/MSP. He has shown works at festivals and venues such as Ars Electronica Festival, Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Wave Farm, Transmediale, Pixelache, LA Freewaves, Piksel Festival, Polar Circuit and the Tasmanian Museum of Art, among others. He earned a BFA at Syracuse University and an MS/PhD at UC Santa Barbara. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Critical Media Practices at CU Boulder.

Pablo Colapinto. PhD MAT 2016

Enrica Costello, MAT: MA 2002 (+ current PhD Candidate)

Enrica Lovaglio Costello was raised in an Italian hamlet by the Mediterranean sea; her deep-sea diver dad taught her early on the value of knowing “how to build” her “creative projects.” She studied architecture in Genova (Italy), urban design in Lyon (France), and Media Arts and Technology in Santa Barbara (U.S.A.). Enrica is a Full Professor in the Art and Design department at Cal Poly. In the last two decades, her main interests have included immersive and interactive narratives and cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural explorations through advanced technology. More recently, her research focus has been defining new methodologies to reduce discriminatory bias. Today, she is exploring if collaborations between academia and juvenile correctional systems in designing narratives and experiencing them in VR can be an empirical, evidence-based pedagogical method to increase diversity and inclusion inside American universities.

Sterling Crispin. MSc MAT 2014

Artist and technologist born 1985 in Maui, Hawaii. His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, and in The NYT, Frieze, Wired, BOMB, Rhizome, ARTNews, Art in America, Fast Company.

For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:

Past Events  


Cangjie’s Poetry

Humans and machines are in constant conversations. Intelligent machines today are not only observers of the world, but they also make creative decisions. If AI imitates human beings to generate a symbolic system and actively communicate with us based on their own understandings of the universe, to what degree do their messages and meanings recontextualize our coexistence?


Cangjie’s Poetry Best in Show Award, SIGGRAPH 2021 Art Gallery Program.

UCSB alumni Donghao Ren (PhD Computer Science) collaborated on this project.


Astro examines our Earth, the only astronomical object known to harbor life, from the perspective of intelligent beings in outer space.

Weilu Ge (sound) and Shaoyu Su (3D artist) collaborated on this project.

Astro was also exhibited at the Shenzhen Museum of Contemporay Light’s opening show in April, 2021. The artwork was adapted so that it could be projected onto the exterior facade of the museum.


Astro at the Shenzhen Museum of Contemporay Light’s opening show.

Shenzhen City Light Art Museum's opening show


Repository examines digital data authorship, ownership, transformation and longevity.



Athens Digital Arts Festival

Volume of Voids II


Volume of Voids II

In collaboration with Shaoyu Su.


Professor Kuchera-Morin and Dr. Rincon will be joined by Jean Johnstone of UC Berkeley, and will evaluate the impact of arts, culture and entertainment to the future of California.

About the California 100 Research Grants

California 100 is a new statewide initiative being incubated at the University of California and Stanford University focused on inspiring a vision and strategy for California’s next century that is innovative, sustainable, and equitable. The initiative will harness the talent of a diverse array of leaders through research, policy innovation, advanced technology, and stakeholder engagement. As part of its research stream of work, California 100 is sponsoring 13 research projects focused on the following issue areas:

  • Advanced technology and basic research
  • Arts, culture, and entertainment
  • Education
  • Economic mobility, inequality and workforce
  • Energy, environment and natural resources
  • Federalism and foreign policy
  • Fiscal reform
  • Governance, media, and civil society
  • Health and wellness
  • Housing and community development
  • Immigrant integration
  • Public safety and criminal justice reform
  • Transportation and urban planning

California 100 Initiative

Institute for the Future


JoAnn Kuchera-Morin


Gustavo Alfonso Rincon

  • Congratulations to Dr. Yitian Shao who is recipient of the 2020 Eurohaptics Society Best PhD Thesis Award!
  • A paper titled Proprioceptive Localization of the Fingers received the award for Best Journal Paper of 2020 in IEEE Transactions on Haptics. Congrats to authors B. Dandu, Prof. I. Kuling (TU Eindhoven), and Prof. Y. Visell.
  • An article in IEEE Spectrum highlights our Tactile Echoes system for haptic augmented reality, with insightful commentary by lab member Anzu Kawazoe. This work is reported in our paper in IEEE Transactions on Haptics, by authors Anzu Kawazoe, Prof. Max Di Luca (U. Birmingham), and Prof. Visell.


Anzu Kawazoe and Yon Visell

This year's virtual conference is from October 24-29. Congratulations to Hannah Wolfe, Solen Kiratli, Sihwa Park, Lena Mathew, Weidi Zhang and Donghao Ren for their contributions to the 2021 International Conference on Computer Vision Theory and Applications.

IEEE VIS App 2021 Intro Video

Mark will work with scientists to create artworks that investigate and illuminate topics that deal with the basic building blocks of the universe. His focus at UCSB has been projects that are generative, collaborative, technologically-based and visually intriguing.


Beutiful Data, article in the UCSB Current

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