The development of any kind of media technology combines utopian and dystopian tendencies, and nowhere is that more true than in the development of computer vector graphics. Taking the activation of the AN/FSQ-7 computers at the heart of the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) defense stations in the United States in 1958 as its starting point, this talk explores the military/scientific legacy at the heart of modern computing and attempts by artists of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s to decouple these tools from their destructive origins.
Derek Holzer (USA 1972) is a sound+light artist based in Helsinki & Berlin, whose current interests include DIY electronics, audiovisual instrument building, the relationship between sound and space, media archaeology, and participatory art forms. He has performed live, taught workshops and created scores of unique instruments and installations since 2002 across Europe, North and South America, and New Zealand.
For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to: seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.
Leon Theremin, 1927.
I perform on a vintage 1929 RCA Theremin designed by the pioneer of motion detection, Leon Theremin.
I present 90 years of music technology.
I wave my hands and play music "out of thin air". I tell the story of the Theremin and the beginnings of electronic music.
Leon Theremin is the inventor of the first instrument that creates music without being touched.
I weave a story of how Theremin's unique untouchable instrument led to new technologies used today.
The audience listens as I create music with the wave of my hands.
This is a unique "Hands On - Hands Off" music, history and technology experience.
Audio-visual performances and installations by the MAT community in downtown Santa Barbara, on the first Thursday of every month.
In the Digital Age - Experiencing Architecture and Music Through STEM - Course Description
In this course, we will challenge what you think architecture and music are by examining how the intersection of these topics evolved over time through the lens of human experience and the digital age. For example, the way in which theme parks are intentionally designed or the role that a musical score plays in movies to enhance or manipulate the audience's experience. You will learn the basic concepts of digital architecture and computer music through exercises using physical and digital modeling, 3D fabrication, haptics (touch sound), and interactive design highlighting how new media technologies and fabrication tools have allowed for the integration of STEM and the fine arts. Students will attend a field recording workshop and develop a hands-on studio project to learn creative techniques in music composition and sound making. In addition, students will develop oral communication and formal presentation skills through a series of workshop project presentations. By the end of the course, you will develop the methodologies for an interdisciplinary research project. This is an excellent opportunity for participants interested in both science and art, to increase their skills and knowledge towards their college education.
In collaboration with Sam Green, a UCSB Computer Science Ph.D. candidate, Jieliang Luo will present "Human Portrait Decomposition" at IEEE VIS 2018 Art Program, taking place in Berlin, Germany from October 23rd to 25th. Decomposition of Human Portraits aims to evoke awareness of the fragility of our digital identities managed under intelligent machines, by presenting how a solid and well-trained system may falsely interpret human portraits. The project is under the supervision of professor George Legrady, with contributions from MAT Masters student Lu Liu (UX design).
"Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together" - Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower, January 1961.
Electromagnetic forces can be shaped, modulated, monitored or transformed in order for them to be utilized. The FRAGILE SAFARI situations are constituted as a ‘parcours’ through two bodies of work. The first work is the evolved signals intelligence (SIGINT) work: We Should Take Nothing for Granted – On The Building of An Alert And Knowledgeable Citizenry the second is the spatial electromagnetic installation STAR VALLEY (ICARUS).
Together, the works provoke a sensorial experience of the immaterial electromagnetic spectrum, and open well-defined societal questions regarding notions of privacy in the 21st century. Collectively, the elements form a tactical media landscape that is conceived as an “electromagnetic theatre” in order to engage the visitors/participants on multiple levels; technologically, intuitively, intellectually and politically. Arguably the electromagnetic spectrum is the most valuable, yet non-exhaustable natural resource, while it’s control and use continues to be strategically significant and economically vital.
Central to both works are probes, the devices that are probing multiple aspects of the electromagnetic spectrum by monitoring or transmitting signals in order to observe or occupy the spectrum. These acts activate civic potentials to engage and re-imagine the relationship between the global citizenry and sovereign actors with the military industrial complexes including their visible, opaque and dark structures by addressing current positions and debates about the notions and structuring of privacy, surveillance states, and safetylss. Each element in FRAGILE SAFARI is the result of research and construction of hardware and software systems nto be utilized as a set of tools, in order to gain knowledge of the occupation, use and potential misuse of global mass communication infrastructures.
STAR VALLEY (ICARUS), is a single spark-gap transmitter lthat occupies and overwhelms local signals . The transmitter is controlled by a computer running a neural network that has been trained on US/NATO codenames, describing units, orders of battle and/or military operations and their descriptions in order to generate new names, theatres, and directives of ‘imaginary’ operations both from the past and projected into the future, highlighting the intentional obfuscation of facts from the public.
Lastly, We Should Take Nothing for Granted – On The Building of An Alert And Knowledgeable Citizenry, is designed to demonstrate the fragility of the local communications infrastructure by probing the visitor’s personal communication devices while creating a generative sonic landscape of over 20 years of collective signal monitoring archives using Eisenhower’s presidential farewell address from 1961 as a compositional tool.
The title for the series FRAGILE SAFARI is derived from another “safari”, the BIG SAFARI, which is a specialized black USAF program dedicated to air systems modification for collection and processing of SIGINT (signals intelligence) and COMINT (communications intelligence) data, as well as offensive and defensive electronic warfare. The program is one of the oldest electronic warfare related programs and responsible for much of the SIGINT collection globally since 1952.
The works on display are small part of the evolutionary toolkit that Biederman and Peljhan have been creating over the past 20 years in order to re-examine and redefine our relationship to the political, philosophical and physical conditions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.
The artists would like to thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Ministry of Culture Republic of Slovenia, City of Ljubljana Cultural Department, C-ASTRAL and the University of California Santa Barbara Media Arts and Technology Systemics Lab and the Wave Farm (Acra, NY) for their financial and material support. A special thanks to Brian Springer and Aljosa Abrahamsberg.
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.