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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:

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Media Arts and Technology

Graduate Program

University of California Santa Barbara



Surrogate Performer in the Age of in-vitro Intelligence


"...I envision a future ‘post-corporeal’ connection between body, instrument, space and time where creative production tools cease to be divorced from the biological body, instead artist and artwork are one in the same. The complexities and nuances that these ‘prepared’ living entities can embody will give rise to a new kind of performative entity, an entity physically removed from the human but linked through lab-based processes in which biopsied material grown outside of the donor’s body (in vitro) control a creative, hybridised entity or specifically, an - in-vitro Intelligence driven Surrogate Performer..." In this presentation, I hope to propose two new concepts: ‘in-vitro Intelligence’ and ‘Surrogate Performer’ that I believe are essential for the discussion about my recent projects: Revivification, Bricolage and cellF and describe some of the methodologies and theories that underpin my artistic practice with some preliminary discussion of terminology, ethics and robotic embodiment as an artistic strategy.


Guy Ben-Ary, is an award winning Perth based artist and researcher. He currently works at SymbioticA, an artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning and hands-on engagement with the life sciences, which is located within the University of Western Australia. Recognised internationally as a major artist and innovator working across science and media arts, Guy specialises in biotechnological artwork, which aims to enrich our understanding of what it means to be alive. Guy’s work has been shown across the globe at prestigious venues and festivals such as the Beijing National Art Museum, MoMa, MONA, San Paulo Biennale, Moscow Biennale, ARS Electrona and more. His work can also be seen in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His work Bricolage won an award of excellence in the Japan media art festival, cellF & Silent Barrage were awarded an Honorary Mention in Prix Ars Electronica (2017, 2009) and Silent Barrage also won first prize at VIDA, a significant international competition for Art and Artificial Life. Interested in how art has the potential to initiate public debate on the challenges arising from the existence of these liminal lives, Ben-Ary creates artworks designed to problematise current and emergent bio-technologies’ influence on the shifting forces that govern and determine life, death and sentience.

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


XR for Robotic Exploration and Earth Communication

The lecture will explore how creative and immersive technologies transform the way scientists, engineers, and astronauts are studying our solar system and beyond. We will focus on the history of robotic exploration at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and connect that history to the evolution of immersive technologies. Sasha will expand upon the newest research in XR for both science and engineering at NASA-JPL and how this work relates to the current state of our world.


Sasha Samochina (sam-ocean-uh) is an award-winning creative technologist. She joined the team at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory after working in New York in video and web development and in Chicago, where she was a Media Producer at The Field Museum of Natural History. After dreaming up content for JPL’s Communications department, she began to explore the world of 360 videos and Cross Reality (XR). Through Sasha’s visualization skills, she pioneered the first-ever 360° video release on NASA's social media. Currently, she manages the Data Visualization & Infusion Group (174C) and is the Project Lead for JPL’s ProtoSpace software. Sasha dedicated herself to creating software that incorporates innovative forms of visualization that aid scientists, engineers, and astronauts in transforming their workflow. She leverages that same experiential technology to educate and inspire the public to engage in STEAM. She loves all things digital, animal, sound-emitting, cosmic, and views the world through XR-colored glasses.

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

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