Media Arts and Technology

Graduate Program

University of California Santa Barbara




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


Scott Ross


Brett Leonard

Scott Ross and Brett Leonard are pioneers in the entertainment industry, now partnering on a new endeavor in virtual storytelling. Their company Virtuosity has assembled the best and brightest in the fields of science, technology, psychology, medicine, storytelling, programming, coding, creativity, art direction and executive management.

Scott Ross Bio

Dr. Ross is one of the most notable pioneers in digital media, technology and entertainment. He founded, along with James Cameron, Digital Domain, one of the largest digital production studios in the motion picture and advertising industries.

Under Ross’ direction, Digital Domain garnered multiple Academy Award nominations, receiving its first Oscar for the ground breaking visual effects in TITANIC. A second Oscar for WHAT DREAMS MAY COME and a third for THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON followed that success. Under his watch, Digital Domain also developed the compositing software, NUKE, which to this day is still the industry standard. Prior to forming Digital Domain he led George Lucas’ vast entertainment empire, running ILM, Skywalker Sound, LucasFilm Commercial Productions and DroidWorks.

Ross has played a significant role in the worldwide advertising industry as well. Having started commercial production companies whilst at LucasFilm (ILM and LCP) as well as Digital Domain’s Commercials Division, he has led two of the largest VFX commercial production companies on the planet.

Brett Leonard Bio

Brett Leonard is an award-winning Filmmaker/Futurist with over 25 years of Hollywood experience as a pioneer in both the development and use of new media technologies. He is widely recognized as a top thought- leader in Virtual Reality since introducing the concept and term to popular culture in his seminal hit film Lawnmower Man - Many pioneers and tech leaders of the emerging VR industry count Lawnmower Man as one of their key inspirations for creating the actual “reality” of this world-changing medium.

Brett is a sought-after speaker for the rapidly growing VR/AR industry, giving keynotes at events around the globe as a leading expert on defining interactive storytelling, and on providing an ethical framework for these powerful new mediums.

Brett’s core philosophy, born out in all of his work is: “To empower people to create and experience compelling story, character, and emotion in any new medium, no matter what the technology being used to enable it”.

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


Rebecca Allen will review selected works in her long history as an artist working with emerging technologies; beginning with the early use computer animation to her current work with virtual reality. Her early work, before the invention of the personal computer and consumer software, could only be done in research labs. This gave her the opportunity to not only create unique new forms of art, but to play a role in the invention of new technological tools to create that art. The research lab has continued to be the place that has sparked and inspired artistic ideas throughout her career. Her most recent interest in Neuroscience, brain imaging and VR explores areas of perception, philosophy and behavior.


Rebecca Allen is an internationally recognized artist inspired by the aesthetics of motion, the study of behavior and the potential of advanced technology. Her artwork, which takes the form of virtual and augmented reality art installations, experimental video and large-scale performances, spans over three decades and embraces the worlds of fine art, performing arts, pop culture and technology research. Her early interest in utilizing computers as a tool for artists led to her pioneering art and research in computer generated human motion, artificial life and other procedural techniques for creating art. Allen’s work is exhibited internationally and is part of the permanent collection of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and Whitney Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York. She has collaborated with artists such as Kraftwerk, Mark Mothersbough (Devo), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Peter Gabriel, Carter Burwell, Twyla Tharp, Joffrey Ballet, La Fura dels Baus and Nam June Paik. Rebecca moves fluidly between artist studio and research lab, using her research to inform her art. She was founding Chair of the UCLA Department of Design Media Arts and is currently a professor there. She was founding director of two Nokia Research labs and has led research and creative teams at UCLA, MIT Media Lab Europe, One Laptop per Child, NYIT Computer Graphics Lab and elsewhere.

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

Past Events  



It Found A Voice... Now It Needs A Body*

With HIVE, we intended to explore the idea of a sonic intelligence: learning, experiencing, reacting, and finally, "thinking" in sound. Can we model such a system? A system with a body whose morphology is based on picking up and sending sound signals, a system who can learn from its environment and evolve in its response, a pseudo ‘being’ that traces our sonic foot-print and projects our sonic reflection.

Created via fusing aspects of sculptural form, spatial sound, and interactive methods, HIVE is an art installation that explores the relationship between sound, space, body, and communication. HIVE was produced in 2016 by Sölen Kiratli and Akshay Cadambi and debuted in Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science, and Technology (SBCAST) in December of 2016.

* From the tagline of 1996 animated feature film, Ghost In the Shell.

This award provides full funding support for an academic year to outstanding doctoral students engaged in humanities research across all UC campuses. With this support, Jiayue Cecilia Wu will continue her dissertaion work under the supervision of her graduate advisor Professor Curtis Roads.

The workshop investigated computational aesthetics by asking each student to create a 3D animation based on classical geometrical art. 18 students’ works were presented to the public at the end of the workshop. More details about the workshop can be found here:

Tags: Jieliang Luo

The exhibition will be on display from September 2017 until March 2018 at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien (Center for Art and Media), one of Europe’s most important digital media arts museums.

"Voice of Sisyphus" consists of a large projection of a black and white photograph taken at a formal ball, an image reminiscent of the staging of the Alain Resnais film "Last Year in Marienbad". Custom software was developed that unfolds in 8 audio-visual phases, each with a specific set of image segmentation, filtering, and animation, translating the pixel data into a continuous 4 channel sonic experience distributed through the four corners of the exhibition space.

Production credits include: George Legrady (concept and project development), Ryan McGee (image analysis, sound synthesis and spatialization software), and Joshua Dickinson (audio-visual composition software).


Past News  

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.