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Media Arts and Technology

Graduate Program

University of California Santa Barbara


This dissertation is the study of a series of media art installations that deal with embodied technology which allows humans to interact with computers in different contexts. It explores the social effects of ubiquitous technology and the role for embodied media arts as a critique of interactive digital technologies which are replacing physically present forms of communication with our environment and with each other. In these works I examine the affordances of different physical spaces. Intimate spaces allow for the ability to touch and to hold. Social spaces allow for the ability to interact inter-personally. Environmental spaces allow for movement and interaction with large amounts of information. To examine these systems, I am using affective computing (computational expression of emotion) and tangible computing (objects with computational power).



Audio-visual performances and installations by the MAT community in downtown Santa Barbara, on the first Thursday of every month.


The work we exhibited was based on our paper "Spatiotemporal Haptic Effects from a Single Actuator via Spectral Control of Cutaneous Wave Propagation", authored by B. Dandu, Y. Shao, A. Stanley, and Y. Visell. This year’s World Haptics Conference was the largest yet, with over 700 attendees.


Reincarnation is a virtual reality art experience, based on French surrealist painter Yves Tanguy’s paintings combined with the creation of a supernatural ecosystem. It aims to amplify the experience of original artworks by adopting an agent-based spatial narrative and a crossmodal surrealist aesthetic paradigm for visual, audio, motion, and interaction.



Making Visible the Invisible is a six-screen, dynamic data visualization artwork at the Seattle Public Library. It visualizes patrons’ library checkouts received by the hour through four different animations to give a sense of community interests. The artwork was activated in September 2005 for a 10-year operation and was extended.



Photos: George Legrady. James Bay Cree, Fort George, James Bay, 1973, Quebec, Canada.

The award is for an upcoming publication titled "James Bay Cree Culture & Architecture", a monograph of documentary photographs created in four coastal Cree First Nation villages in sub-arctic James Bay in 1973. The publication is to consist of introductory texts, approximately 180 black and white photographs of everyday scenes in the Cree communities just prior to their legal negotiations over infrastructure autonomy and land rights in response to the construction of the James Bay Hydro-electric project on traditional hunting lands.


"System 319" at the Venice Biennale.

Marko Peljhan’s work revolves around two fundamental aspects of the world today: the technological developments in communication, transport, and surveillance; and the highly complex systems of political, economic, and military power driving such developments and employing them in administration, control, production or military applications. The potentials of technology are introduced into art as a way of confronting the systems of governance and their strategies. Peljhan’s art has thus evolved into a process involving a cartography of "signal territories," an analysis of the role of technology in society, particularly as it relates to power structures, a reflection on the possibilities of a different, creative and resistant use of technological means, and, ultimately, the creation of socially useful models of resistant behaviors in the contemporary social system. The theatrical dimension of Peljhan’s art plays a crucial role in this; his best-known project Makrolab can in this sense be interpreted as a technological laboratory and a social stage based on the concept of micro-performance.

At the Venice Biennale, Peljhan will present a work from his Resolution series. This series, which has evolved over some 20 years, proposes some specific material and applicable solutions to certain problems in society. It is the artist’s response to the state in which the world finds itself today, calling for a rediscovery of space and a utopian response to the rapid changes in the environment. In this sense, the autonomous vessel produced as part of the "Here we go again… SYSTEM 317" project is a colonizing, apocalyptic and pirating tool of sorts. In it, Peljhan brings together his vision, the potential for and the impossibility of a final exit from our rapidly deteriorating planetary conditions in a process he calls “reverse conversion.” He first employed this methodology in his "TRUST-SYSTEM" series, which focused on the conversion of cruise missile technology and later, unmanned systems for civil counter-reconnaissance. The artist proposes the construction of a counter-privateering machine intended for the days when the world’s great empires find themselves, once again, in confrontation—and one characterized by a grave lack of responsibility together with great destructive potential.


The X-43A Hypersonic Experimental (Hyper-X) Vehicle in Benefield Aenechoic Facility at Edwards Air Force Base radio January 2000. Photo: Tom Tschida. Image courtesy of NASA.

This VR project is a conceptual response to "Ground Truth" in the modern AI age. From a neural network (NN) that is trained to recognize thousands of objects, to a NN that can only generate binary outputs, each NN, like human beings, has its own understanding of the real world, even when the inputs are the same. LAVIN provides an immersive responsive experience, that allows you to visually explore one understanding of a NN in which the real world is mapping to less than a hundred daily objects. LAVIN constantly analyzes the real world via a camera, and outputs semantic interpretations in which the audience navigates, in a virtual world that consists of all of the fluid abstract structures that are designed and animated based on the photogrammetry of daily objects that the NN can recognize.

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.

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