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Media Arts and Technology

Graduate Program

University of California Santa Barbara


Symbiotic Architectures: Synergistic Compositions in Extended Reality


The coming wave of new media technologies relying on generative composition and Artificial Intelligence (AI) has introduced novel opportunities in transmodal synthesis and creative synergies within real-time composition networks. The term ‘perforated systems’ as proposed by Marcos Novak, is used to describe the collaborative systems that arise from dialogues between diversified environments operating through flowing fields of data. Such systems allow for the creation of complex artificial, physical, and hybrid environments in Extended Reality (XR) through real-time collaboration.

This master thesis delves into the intersection of XR technologies, transmodal environments, and generative AI in speculative architectural composition, unveiling paradigms of hybrid ‘perforated systems’ in the form of interior and urban installations. These installations propose alternative environments through a fusion of tangible artifacts, olfactory, audio, and visual components, and explore the interplay between dynamic and diverse data-driven compositions in XR.

Ranging from biodata-driven abstract worlds in Virtual Reality (VR), to Mixed Reality (MR) installations like the ‘Synaptic Time Tunnel’ presented in SIGGRAPH 2023, and AI-generated urban projection mapping performances, these endeavors fuse cutting-edge technologies with generative AI tools to achieve maximal complexity with minimal initial conditions.

In the age of data, networks, and AI, the potential for collaboration between different fields and creators is vast and profound. The present thesis aims to demonstrate how transdisciplinary ‘perforated’ networks can generate complex and abstract compositions that emerge from simple elements and expand into Extended Reality. The objective is to harness the potential of merging "perforated systems" with AI, XR technologies, and the built environment, to foster the development of immersive and collaborative experiences that push the boundaries of worldmaking.

Past Events  


The Computer Music Tutorial, Second Edition (2023) by Curtis Roads


Curtis Roads, professor in Media Arts and Technology and affiliate faculty in Music at UCSB, has announced the publication of an expanded, updated, and fully revised Second Edition of his textbook The Computer Music Tutorial (2023, The MIT Press, 1257 pages).

Essential and state-of-the-art, The Computer Music Tutorial, Second Edition is a singular text that introduces computer and electronic music, explains its motivations, and puts topics into context. Curtis Roads's step-by-step presentation orients musicians, engineers, scientists, and anyone else new to computer and electronic music.

The new edition continues to be the definitive tutorial on all aspects of computer music, including digital audio, signal processing, musical input devices, performance software, editing systems, algorithmic composition, MIDI, and psychoacoustics, but the second edition also reflects the enormous growth of the field since the book's original publication in 1996. New chapters cover up-to-date topics like virtual analog, pulsar synthesis, concatenative synthesis, spectrum analysis by atomic decomposition, Open Sound Control, spectrum editors, and instrument and patch editors. Exhaustively referenced and cross-referenced, the second edition adds hundreds of new figures and references to the original charts, diagrams, screen images, and photographs in order to explain basic concepts and terms.

Features include:

New chapters on virtual analog, pulsar synthesis, concatenative synthesis, spectrum analysis by atomic decomposition, Open Sound Control, spectrum editors, instrument and patch editors, and an appendix on machine learning.

Two thousand references support the book's descriptions and point readers to further study.

Mathematical notation and program code examples used only when necessary.

Twenty-five years of classroom, seminar, and workshop use inform the pace and level of the material.

As Prof. Roads states: "I finished writing the first edition in 1993. It finally came out in 1996, the year I joined the UCSB Music faculty as a Visiting Associate Professor. Writing the Second Edition required going through the research literature in the field since 1993. It often felt overwhelming but I just had to keep going. In 2017 I devoted all my creative time to the project. I promised myself I would finish it in 2020, and at 10 PM on 31 December 2020 I finished writing. Time for Champagne! The production process took all of 2021 and most of 2022. In a way it was a perfect project for the pandemic lockdown, as it gave me a daily purpose in a time of isolation. The textbook has been the core of my teaching at UCSB."

An article about the release of the 2nd edition was published in the UCSB Current:

The book can be found at MIT Press:

Professor Roads's previous books include Microsound (2001, The MIT Press) and Composing Electronic Music: A New Aesthetic (2015, Oxford University Press).

"Parasitic Signals: Multimodal Sonata for Real-time Interactive Simulation of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus"


This project aims to transform the nano-scale of a striking biological phenomenon, the relationship between SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and human molecules, into an interactive audiovisual simulation. In this work, the interaction data between the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and human cellular proteins is measured by Atomic Force Microscopy, which can touch and image a single molecule. We are creating an interactive audiovisual installation and performance from a set of interaction data.

Co-authors of the paper are Yoojin Oh, senior scientist at the Institute of Biophysics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, and JoAnn Kurchera-Morin, Director and Chief Scientist of the AlloSphere Research Facility and professor of Media Arts and Technology and Music at the University of California Santa Barbara.



Synaptic Time Tunnel, SIGGRAPH 2023.

Sponsored by Autodesk, the Synaptic Time Tunnel was a tribute to 50 years of innovation and achievement in the field of computer graphics and interactive techniques that have been presented at the SIGGRAPH conferences.

An international audience of more than 14,275 attendees from 78 countries enjoyed the conference and its Mobile and Virtual Access component.


Marcos Novak - MAT Chair and transLAB Director, UCSB
Graham Wakefield - York University, UCSB
Haru Ji - York University, UCSB
Nefeli Manoudaki - transLAB, MAT/UCSB
Iason Paterakis - transLAB, MAT/UCSB
Diarmid Flatley - transLAB, MAT/UCSB
Ryan Millet - transLAB, MAT/UCSB
Kon Hyong Kim - AlloSphere Research Group, MAT/UCSB
Gustavo Rincon - AlloSphere Research Group, MAT/UCSB
Weihao Qiu - Experimental Visualization Lab, MAT/UCSB
Pau Rosello Diaz - transLAB, MAT/UCSB
Alan Macy - BIOPAC Systems Inc.
JoAnn Kuchera-Morin - AlloSphere Research Group, MAT/UCSB
Devon Frost - MAT/UCSB
Alysia James - Department of Theater and Dance/UCSB

More information about the Synaptic Time Tunnel can be found in the following news articles: SIGGRAPH, Autodesk Take Time Tunnel Through Computer Graphics History on 50th Anniversary SIGGRAPH 2023 Highlights

PR Newswire: SIGGRAPH 2023 Conference Commemorates 50 Years of Innovations With Growth in Contributed Works and In-person Attendees


Delve deep into the transformative world of Generative AI in this enlightening panel discussion. Spanning the rich tapestry of academia to real-world applications in national and local industries, our distinguished panelists will shed light on current practices, novel innovations, and the future horizons of Generative AI. From the integration of this groundbreaking technology in sectors like healthcare and construction to its evolving academic research, join us for a comprehensive journey into the heart of AI's generative revolution. Witness firsthand the synthesis of theoretical insights with hands-on expertise, as we explore what the future holds for this dynamic field.

Link to the Event on Eventbrite

ACM SIGGRAPH is the premier conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques. This year they celebrate their 50th conference and reflect on half a century of discovery and advancement while charting a course for the bold and limitless future ahead.

Burbano is a native of Pasto, Colombia and an associate professor in Universidad de los Andes’s School of Architecture and Design. As a contributor to the conference, Burbano has presented research within the Art Papers program (in 2017), and as a volunteer, has served on the SIGGRAPH 2018, 2020, and 2021 conference committees. Most recently, Burbano served as the first-ever chair of the Retrospective Program in 2021, which honored the history of computer graphics and interactive techniques. Andres received his PhD from Media Arts and Technology in 2013.


Read more from the ACM SIGGRAPH's website and this article on the ACMSIGGRAPH Blog.

The next ACM SIGGRAPH conference is in August 2023 and will be held in Los Angeles, California

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