Media Arts and Technology

Graduate Program

University of California Santa Barbara



Soft Robotics designates a novel approach to designing robots anchored in the simple idea of using compliant structures and elastic materials rather than rigid metal or plastic parts. In this seminar talk, I introduce the research and creation program of Soft Robot Aesthetics that seeks to unite interests and methodological approaches drawn from artistic research, art history, human-robot interaction, and technical soft robotics research. The broad overall aim of this body of work is to explore alternative versions of what soft robotics might be or become if approached from the point of view of art and aesthetics, and how a more nuanced understanding of the potentials and consequences of rendering a robot soft can be attained through aesthetic practices. The talk describes selected work done at the Center for Soft Robotics at the University of Southern Denmark, including our ongoing collaboration with Maja Smrekar on the final chapter of the !brute_force series. Through methodological considerations and reflections on case study projects, I aim to illustrate how artistic and aesthetic perspectives may generate distinct types of questions and insights about soft robots, as well as singular outcomes, of which some are useful for robotics research more broadly.

Jonas Jørgensen is Assistant Professor at the Center for Soft Robotics at the Biorobotics section of the University of Southern Denmark. Jonas was originally trained as a physicist (BSc) and an art historian (BA, MA) at Univ. of Copenhagen and Columbia University (New York). He received a Ph.D. degree at the IT University of Copenhagen as a member of the Robotics Evolution and Art Lab (REAL). Jonas’s research and practice span the fields of robotic art, soft robotics, human-robot interaction, and media art history. He has presented papers and organized workshops at several high-ranking international conferences and is the author of more than 20 peer-reviewed publications. With different collaborators, Jonas has created robotic art projects that have been exhibited internationally at institutions including Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria), Chronus Art Center (Shanghai, China), and Science Gallery Dublin. Jonas currently serves as a management committee member representing Denmark in the EU COST action CA18136 “European Forum for Advanced Practices” (2019-2023) that focuses on emerging practice-based transdisciplinary practices. Together with Maja Smrekar, he is also a partner in the EU’s STUDIOTOPIA program.

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


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

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