Subscribe to the MAT Announcements email list

Subscribe to MAT Announcements


Email Address is Invalid

Media Arts and Technology

Graduate Program

University of California Santa Barbara


Cognitive and Affective Learning through Immersive Story Worlds: Designing Social Virtual Reality for Inclusive Attitudes and Behaviors


Virtual reality (VR) perspective-taking experiences focused on imagined intergroup contact with individuals from marginalized groups can increase prosocial behavior toward them (van Loon, Bailenson, Zaki, Bostick, Willer 2018). Intergroup contact theory hypothesizes that reducing anxiety, which is the cause of increased stereotyping against the outgroup, and permeating the social encounter with positive emotions (Miller, Smith, & Mackie, 2004) leads to prejudice mitigation (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006). Beyond these insights from social psychology, sparse literature has explored how to design immersive story worlds to instill prosocial attitudes and behaviors, including the effectiveness of employing photorealistic techniques. This research fills this gap and challenges the assumption that human perceptions inside virtual and physical worlds are equal if digital assets are photorealistic.

Through the creation of a taxonomy of design for inclusive VR, developed from playtesting six state-of-the-art VR experiences, it identifies which affordances and methodologies are significant to inducing prosocial attitudes in immersive social encounters and contributes a pragmatic approach to the design of VR for bias reduction while considering the craft, ethical and humanistic dimensions of the medium.

Intro to Modular Synthesis

Hybrid In Person / Virtual Workshop

Sunday, March 3rd
Location: Modular Building 387 - 1015


CREATE and Media Arts & Technology present, an Intro to Modular Synthesis Workshop by Curtis Roads and Marcel Rodriguez-Riccelli. They'll be giving a retrospective of the history of synthesis and analog computing, before breaking down the basics with demonstration on a hardware eurorack system, and giving participants the foundational knowledge needed to delve further into creating music with modular synthesizers on their own. There will also be a practical portion, in which participants will be able to create their own eurorack synthesizers with the free virtual eurorack software VCV Rack 2.

We encourage anybody who’s curious to join, regardless of experience or skill level. Modular synthesis is a fun and engaging way for both people with no musical background to begin to understand musical concepts and for studied musicians to expand their practice. Foreknowledge of certain basic musical concepts is assumed in the lesson plan, but more time can be taken to go further in depth as is necessary at participant’s request.

The workshop will also be possible over Zoom.


Speculative Assemblage

Speaker:  Weidi Zhang


Weidi will present her practice-based research on Speculative Assemblage. She'll introduce her recent experimental visualization artworks, including 'ReCollection,' 'Cangjie's Poetry,' 'Wayfarer,' and 'Astro.' Her discussion will delve into her practices at the intersection of immersive art, AI system design, and experimental visualization.


Weidi Zhang is a new media artist/designer based in Los Angeles and Phoenix. She is a tenure-track Assistant Professor of immersive experience design at the Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) center of Arizona State University. Her interdisciplinary art and design research investigates A Speculative Assemblage at the intersection of immersive media design, experimental data visualization, and interactive AI art.

Her works are featured in international media art and design awards, such as the Best In Show Award in SIGGRAPH (2021,2022), Red Dot Design Award (2022), Honorary Mention in Prix Ars Electronica (2022), Juried Selection in Japan Media Arts Festival(2020), Lumen Prize shortlists (2020, 2021), and others. Her works have been exhibited internationally such as Times Art Museum (CN), Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Society For Arts and Technology (CA), SwissNex Gallery (USA), V2_Lab (NL), ISEA, CVPR, IEEE VISAP, Mutek (MX), Mira Fest (Spain), Zeiss Major Planetarium (GE), Planetarium 1 (RUS), and among others. ​She holds her Ph.D. degree in Media Arts and Technology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, an MFA degree in Art + Technology at the California Institute of the Arts, and a BFA degree in Photo/Media at the University of Washington, Seattle. She lectured at both UC Santa Barbara and The Ohio State University.


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

Song Cycle

Speaker:  Chris Kallmyer


The lecture will explore how sound and context transform the way we use technology to inspire meaning and change in listeners. Through this talk we will outline the strategies employed by mid-century experimentalists, pre-enlightenment collectivists, and the prospect of a post-industrial revolution. Chris will expand upon the generative work currently installed in Elings Hall, Song Cycle, and the emerging relationships between audience and performer – artist and community – technology and environment.


Chris Kallmyer is an artist working at the intersection of music, architecture, and design. Through his work, he creates collective experiences driven by his interests in listening, landscape, and community. His multi-disciplinary works have been exhibited and performed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and STUDIO TeatrGaleria in Warsaw among other spaces in America, Europe, and Asia. His studio is located on the Silver Penny Farm in Petaluma, CA.


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

Audiovisual/Abstraction Machines

Speaker:  Juan Escalante


My work relies on diagrams to parse the inner and outside world. These maps become machines of abstraction. They enable the translation of one medium, domain, or dataset into another. I use sound, drawings, and code to complete a process where computer programming occupies a central role, serving as an orchestration mechanism. Throughout most of my practice, source material, both empirical and speculative, is reinterpreted through a process of stochastic computation.

As a result, the work manifests through a wide range of outputs, such as performances, audiovisual work, graphic notation, print, and screen-based media. Over time, all of these forms rescript one another and keep the creative process in a state of flux. For the MAT Winter 2024 Seminar, I will discuss three recent software art projects using graphic scores, electronic sounds, and artificial intelligence.


Juan Manuel Escalante (b. Mexico City) is a Southern California-based artist and educator working with computer code, modular synthesizers, and analog drawings. His work has been shown in major festivals and exhibitions worldwide. He was a member of the National System of Art Creators (2017-2019 National Endowment for the Arts, MWX) and received the Corwin Award (1st prize) for Electronic-Acoustic Composition in 2016. Escalante holds an MFA in Architecture Design (UNAM) and a Ph.D. in Media Arts and Technology (University of California, Santa Barbara). He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at the California State University, Fullerton.


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

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).

This SPARKS session focuses on the innovative interactive digital artwork and pioneering artists prior to the year 2000. Interactive digital art’s roots began forming in the 1960s and blossomed in the following decades. By relinquishing the power to control the outcome of a work of art, digital artists in the 1960-1990s established a democratic, reciprocal relationship with the viewer. Without a defined history, artists were free to experiment and create works that capitalized on the concept of “possibilities”. These individualized personal art experiences took many forms including screen-based art, immersive installation environments, haptic device art, and much more.


Vladimir Bonačić’s interactive digital installations 1969 – 1971
Darko Fritz

Media Art as Thinking Space
Monika Fleischmann and Wolfgang Strauss

Interactive Plant Growing – a journey of an interactive garden created in 1992
Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau

Searching for Conditions of Possibility: Jeffrey Shaw’s Artistic Practice in Expanded Cinema
Lukasz Mirocha

Engaging Subjectivity Through Interaction
Greg Garvey

The enduring telematic vision of a coexistent third space
Paul Sermon

From Music Composition to Multimodal Interactive Composition – An Historical Overview
JoAnn Kuchera-Morin


This event is co-moderated by MAT alumni Dr. Myungin Lee and co-sponsored by the ACM SIGGRAPH History Committee.


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