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News & Events

Past Events

2022

  • The Expressive Computation Lab at UCSB is hosting talks by Pilar Wiley and Avi Farber, the 2022 artists in residence in the ECL Lab. Thursday, August 4th 2022, 6pm at SBCAST, 513 Garden St Studio F, Santa Barbara.
  • Pilar Wiley and Avi Farber, our 2022 Experimental Clay artists in residence, will be talking about their work. Pilar and Avi will share their earlier work, as well as some details about the work they have undertaken in our lab and the opportunities and limitations they see for digital fabrication within their practice.

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    Pilar Wiley

    Los Angeles-based Pilar Wiley makes ceramic vessels that serve as canvases for her repeating patterns and pictorial themes. Her surfaces express the idiosyncrasies of mark making, referencing global traditions of decorative abstraction, as well as imagery drawn from plant life and her childhood overseas. Influenced by the forms and techniques of West and South African pottery, Wiley advances a personal mythology through the repetitive ceramic process. Capitalizing on clay’s ritualistic associations, she endeavors to transform the information she consumes.


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    Avi Farber

    Avi Farber is a multimedia artist working with woodfired ceramics, documentary photography, 3D Printing, and new media/sound, based in New Mexico, U.S.A. After earning a degree in Philosophy at Bates College, ME, Avi took a job fighting wildfires for the United States Forest Service. This inspired a large body of documentary work as well insights that led him to pursue a Masters degree in Interdisciplinary Design at Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2021).

    Working in clay, Avi creates installations, sculptures, and functional wares that explore landscapes and weathering. Working with local clays and firing with wood, his work is raw and refined, subtle and gestural. Drawn to the moments that break through the distractions of daily life, Avi documents people in environmental frontiers. His photos, video, and sound installations reveal a strong sense of place as seen from a quiet observer. His projects explore human relationships with the natural phenomenon of our changing climate and alternative modes of production.

    For more information, please visit ecl.mat.ucsb.edu/artisttalks

    The Expressive Computation Lab at UCSB

    The Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology (SBCAST)

  • Soft Wearable Robotics and Haptics: Design, Engineering, and Human Factors, a PhD dissertation defense by Mengjia Zhu.
  • Friday, July 8, 2022 at 1pm PDT.
    Room 1605 Elings Hall and via Zoom.

    Abstract

    Soft robotics technologies hold substantial promise for use in wearable haptic systems, due to their ability to supply forces to the human body in a compliant, conformal, and safe manner. A challenge at the intersection of soft robotics and wearable haptics is to seamlessly integrate soft components into garments. The overarching goal of my Ph.D. research is to transform textiles into soft robotic haptic garments that are comfortable, ergonomic, and can provide multimodal, affective, and expressive haptic feedback tailored to the human sense of touch. This PhD integrates research on the design, fabrication, and control methods for soft robotic textiles. It contributes new methods for expressive haptic feedback for large areas of the body, and guidelines for the design of haptic feedback delivered via garments, accounting for immersion, emotion, affect, and health-related benefits. This dissertation contributes to the fidelity, ubiquity, and social relevance of wearable haptic systems, by allowing haptics to be seamlessly integrated within garments that are widely used.

    The first part of this dissertation reviews emerging advances in soft wearable robotic and haptic technologies, and several promising application areas, including wearable haptic interfaces, assistive robotics, and biomedical devices [1]. It summarizes essential design considerations for such systems based on functional concerns, wearability, and ergonomics. It provides a synthetic review of design strategies that have been adopted in numerous examples from prior research by surveying sensing and actuation technologies, materials, and fabrication methods. The chapter concludes with a discussion of frontiers, challenges, and future prospects for soft, wearable robotics. These findings guided the development of novel wearable technologies and haptic rendering methods in the following parts of the thesis.

    The second part of this dissertation presents the development of a new family of soft actuators that are suitable, versatile, and effective for wearable applications. We refer to these actuators as fluidic fabric muscle sheets (FFMS) [2]. These sheet-like actuators can strain, squeeze, bend, and conform to the human body. I designed and fabricated FFMS using fabrics and elastic tubes through facile apparel engineering methods. Though the fabrication process is low-cost and straightforward, FFMS can operate at frequencies of 5 Hz or more, achieve engineering strains exceeding 100%, and exert forces exceeding their weight by more than 10,000%. I further demonstrated several potential use cases of FFMS actuators, including a miniature steerable robot, a glove for grasp assistance, garments for applying compression to the extremities, and devices for actuating small body regions or tissues via localized skin stretch.

    The next part of this dissertation demonstrates how FFMS actuators can be used to realize a wearable haptic interface with integrated sensing and multimodal actuation. Using six FFMS actuators, I constructed a forearm sleeve called the PneuSleeve [3]. It is able to render a broad range of haptic feedback types including compression, skin stretch, and vibration, and is able to supply consistent feedback to users with different arm sizes and anatomies by virtue of integrated soft capacitive sensors and a closed-loop force controller. Physical characterizations showed that the actuators generated consistent and perceivable forces at frequencies of 20 Hz, as validated in engineering characterizations. Results of user studies highlight the expressiveness of the haptic effects it provides. The PneuSleeve holds the potential for enabling new interfaces, haptic notifications, navigation, gaming, AR/VR experiences, and many other applications.

    In the final part of this dissertation, informed by the preceding results, I designed and investigated a peristaltic soft robotic sleeve for supplying dynamic compression therapy via finger-sized FFMS actuators [4]. The sleeve can produce dynamic compression pressure exceeding 22 kPa at frequencies of 14 Hz or more, meeting the requirements for compression therapy and massage. An array of software-programmable peristaltic compression patterns can be furnished by varying frequency, amplitude, phase delay, and duration parameters. To evaluate the promise this sleeve holds for aiding peripheral hemodynamic flow, I designed a mechanical fixture integrating artificial muscles, skin, and a vein, modeled after the human upper limb. Results showed that the wearable robot was capable of driving fluid flow at rates of up to 1 mL/min. The results matched theoretically derived predictions for peristaltic fluid transport. This dynamic compression garment holds promise for treating disorders affecting lymphatic and blood circulation.

  • A Speculative Assemblage: Image Data-driven Interactive Experience for Visual Communication, a PhD dissertation defense by Weidi Zhang.
  • Wednesday June 8th, 2022 at 3pm PDT.
    Experimental Visualizaton Lab (room 2611 Elings Hall) and via Zoom.

    Abstract

    Assemblage is an artistic practice where found or unrelated objects and different materials are juxtaposed to result in new entities, which often suggest non-linear narratives, poetic meanings, and new symbols. The ideas and methods of assemblage widely emerged during the early twentieth century in the early stages of modernism and were closely connected to modern art movements such as Cubism, Surrealism, and Dada. Nowadays, images are programmable databases that are increasingly networked with the advent of operative images and machinic vision, offering new ways to conceptualize assemblages based on authorship, connectivity, data-driven forms, materials, and chance and choice operations. In the field of new media art, few interactive artificial intelligent visual works address the changing notion of images through assembling image data as a real-time generative experience that emphasizes collective voices from artists, intelligent machines, and participants. In this context, I conduct practice-based research and propose a methodology for A Speculative Assemblage: transform the image-making process into a real-time visual experience in an artist-machine-participants collaborative manner.

    A Speculative Assemblage proposes interdisciplinary and critical design research, which is at the intersection of experimental visualization, interactive AI art, and immersive media design. This research is demonstrated through three core interactive AI artworks (Cangjie's Poetry, LAVIN, and RAY), along with preliminary research: five image-based immersive art projects ( Fantastic Shredder, Repository, Borrowed Scenery, Astro, and Volume of Voids ). A novel design methodology and conceptual framework are presented to integrate intersections of the real and the virtual through the current methods to engage machine vision in relation to human perception and the impact of automation on originality.

  • Data-driven Audiovisual Arts Focused on the Uncertainty in the Human-Data-Machine Loop, a PhD dissertation defense by Sihwa Park.
  • Monday June 6th, 2022. 12pm PDT.
    MAT Conference Room (2003 Elings Hall) and via Zoom.

    Abstract

    Along with the increasing digitization of society, our personal data has been explicitly or implicitly collected and shared through a plethora of digital devices and online social media services. This personal data has become of vital importance for researchers, designers, and artists to represent an impression of our datafied society and depict the images of data subjects through various forms of data representations. Meanwhile, the explosive increase of personal data has also been accelerated by commercial or governmental entities behind services or technology to monetize the customer data or surveil citizens. For that, the data is used to categorize or predict our behavior, preference, and identity through machines, for example, content recommendation and face recognition.

    As our society is increasingly datafied, we see ourselves through our data for self-representation and self-understanding, which is collected and processed by the machines. Moreover, responses from the machines also affect us in shaping our behavior and understanding ourselves. Within this data-centered human-machine interrelationship, the Human-Data-Machine Loop, the machines see us through available, measurable data obtained from us and see us through stochastic, algorithmic processes to generalize individuals. Here uncertainty exists because personal data is not an objective representation of oneself and the machines are not perfect; they can be erroneous and biased upon the data or humans. These issues of uncertainty are difficult to estimate and represent, and they are problems to be solved especially in scientific domains. But, this uncertainty perspective can be a creative force or theme in data art. This dissertation proposes artistic approaches to represent this nature of uncertainty in the Human-Data-Machine Loop through data art. To this end, I first define the Human-Data-Machine (HDM) Loop as a main conceptual research framework to view our datafied society along with possible types/sources of uncertainty in the Loop. Second, I propose three types of data art practice based on the HDM framework: Artist-centered Practice, Artist-Machine Collaborative Practice, and Machine-centered Generative Practice. Last, the dissertation explains the author’s data-driven audiovisual art projects as an empirical case study of each data art practice. This dissertation aims to contribute to expanding data art practice with the perspective of uncertainty in data practice and raising concerns about uncertainty in our datafied society through artistic approaches.

  • Media Arts and Technology is pleased to host a lecture by professor Masaki Fujihata, a world-renowned new media artist, who will present his latest research. Friday June 3rd at 11:30am in Elings Hall room 1605 and via Zoom.
  • Masaki Fujihata is one of the pioneers of Japanese new media art, beginning his career working in video and digital imaging in the early 80s. As an early practitioner of the application of new technologies to the process of artmaking, he was one of the first artists to use stereolithography, a technique in which a laser polymerizes a liquid resin as it sweeps its surface. He also created the worlds smallest sculptures by using the manufacturing techniques for integrated circuits (at 10m and 100m, these works are visible only with an electron microscope). However, he is most recognized for his sophisticated interactive network installations and his primary concern has been to employ multimedia technology in order to examine the possibilities for communication within virtual spaces. His new work BE HERE/1942 is currently being exhibited at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

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    Masaki Fujihata at Echo Park, Los Angeles. Photo by David Leonard.

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    Photo from BeHere/1942 exhibit: Two young girls being filmed as they wait to board a train that will take them to Owens Valley (Manzanar). Photograph by Russell Lee, Los Angeles, California, April 1942. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, loc.gov/resource/fsa.8a31184.

  • Media Arts and Technology hosted a series of events as part of our annual End of Year Show 2022. This year's event SYMADES, took place in Elings Hall on the UCSB campus and in downtown Santa Barbara at the Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology (SBCAST).
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    SYMADES (Start of the Year Media Arts Design Engineering and Science) was held on the following dates:

    • May 12 – Open Labs/Research Day. Hosted at Elings Hall at UCSB, 6-8pm.
    • May 27 – End of Year Show Part 1. Hosted in Elings Hall at UCSB, 6-9pm.
    • June 2 – End of Year Show Part 2. Hosted at SBCAST in downtown Santa Barbara, 5-10pm.

    At the event at SBCAST, MAT was pleased to present a guest performance of Song Cycle, first premiered on April 9, 2022 at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Song Cycle is an immersive performance that describes an emergent world of music, or all the music that could ever happen. The text is randomly generated as a work of process poetry and is set within a texture of mystic drones, the sound of the rain pressed into vinyl, early drum machines, and generous harmonies accompanied by an evolving floral arrangement. Song Cycle is performed by the loose ambient collective superteam and florist Alexandra Rose Franco. The performance is a collaboration between artists Chris Kallmyer and Zoe Aja Moore.

    MAT's very own Curtis Roads also performed his piece Always (2013), with visualisation art by Brian O'Reilly (MAT alum).

    Both performances were supported by the Systemics Public Events fund and private donors.

    MAT is grateful to Alan Macy for his support and generous use of SBCAST in downtown Santa Barbara.

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    Performance of Always at SBCAST. Visualizations by Brian O'Reilly, projection mapping by the transLAB.

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    www.symades.net

    sbcast.org

  • Sound Morphogenesis: A Theory and Methodology of Architecture and Design informed by Sound and Music, a PhD dissertation defense by Yin Yu.
  • Thursday, June 2nd, 2022
    12:00pm (Santa Barbara) / 9:00pm (Berlin) via Zoom

    Abstract

    In 1958, Iannis Xenakis used a glissandi diagram as the parti for the architectural design of the Philips Pavilion. It was a pioneering example of an architectural form directly derived from the morphology of a sound object. In stark contrast, sound is usually seen as a pollutant, as something to be absorbed, blocked, and diffused in current architectural design and practice. From an architectural design theory perspective, Digital Morphogenesis demonstrates significant theoretical implications in computational design and digital fabrication due to its natural-inspired sustainable methodologies, new forms, fabrication techniques, and multidisciplinary approaches. However, our current architectural and design field does not consider sound material from a morphological perspective in both theory and practice.

    My research aims to expand the theory of digital morphogenesis by encompassing sound objects as additional architectural material for computational design and fabrication. I introduce Sound Morphogenesis Design (SMD), a new design framework that uses information theory as a foundation to develop methodologies for architecture and design research. My research explores three main questions: (1) How does architectural practice change when sound is not viewed as pollution but as a design opportunity? (2) How does sound morphology expand the theory of digital morphogenesis and change the approach for architectural design research? And (3) what would be the novel design practice of sound morphogenesis design that enhances aural experiences and aesthetics? By integrating sound morphology in design, this dissertation presents a systematic survey of musical aesthetics in architectural projects and develops two SMD methodologies: WYHIWYW and SoftTectonics. WYHIWYW (What You Hear Is What You Wear) investigates digital domain design techniques such as Digital Design through the Open-Sound-Control Protocol, Computational Design through MIDI, and Computational Design through Modular Synthesizers. Through such techniques, the listening experience enriches and expands the design process. SoftTectonics explores sound morphogenesis from three different approaches using physical prototyping of soft materials: tip-grow, feather-flip, and pneumatic-cavity. SMD methods provide a framework for digital architecture, wearable design, and new media artworks. A novel analysis tool CIMT (Creative-Impact-Musicality-Technology) evaluates the developed research experiments to prove SMD’s contribution as a design theory. The present dissertation paves a path to cross music and architecture for future discovery, design, and human perception.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Eco-hydrology and Climate Change: Revealing What is Hidden.
  • Speaker:   Christina Naomi Tague

    Monday, May 16th 2022, at 1pm PDT via Zoom

    Abstract

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    As climate warms, the complex interactions between forests and water also change - and these changes can transform our landscapes. In the Western US, we have already seen increased fire severity, drought, floods, and widespread forest mortality.

    Naomi's TagueTeamLab develops a widely used mechanistic model, RHESSys, that simulates interactions among water, carbon, soils and vegetation at scales from a forest plot to a watershed- We use this model to understand our changing landscapes and to predict future changes. Recently she has been collaborating with an artist, Ethan Turpin, and MAT graduate, David Gordon, to translate the data generated by RHESSys into meaningful visualization that can help the public, students and scientists themselves explore how water-trees and climate coevolve. This talk will present this work - and talk about possible future directions.

    Bio

    Christina Tague's research is focused on the interactions between hydrology and ecosystem processes and, specifically, how eco-hydrologic systems are altered by changes in land use and climate. Much of her work involves developing and using spatial simulation models to integrate data from multiple field-based monitoring studies in order to generalize results to larger watersheds. Reflecting that emphasis, she is one of the principal developers of the Regional Hydro-Ecologic Simulation System (RHESSys), an integrated model of spatially distributed carbon, water, and nitrogen cycling. RHESSys is designed to provide science-based information about spatial patterns of ecosystem health and vulnerability in terms of water quantity and quality. Professor Tague is currently modeling the impacts of climate change on stream-flow patterns in the western United States and examining how urbanization alters drainage patterns and associated biogeochemical cycling in watersheds in Baltimore, Maryland, and Southern California.

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    www.geog.ucsb.edu/people/faculty/christina-naomi-tague

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: FELT: Communicating Emotion Through Textile Expression.
  • Speaker:   Felecia Davis

    Monday, May 16th 2022, at 1pm PDT via Zoom.

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    Abstract

    Touch of a computational textile on human skin provides a unique opportunity to look at relationships between ambience, emotion and computing. The sense of touch on human skin offers a potential framework to think about ambient computing as the information from skin is multimodal and comes in many forms such as temperature, humidity, sharpness, smoothness, location and movement. Because textiles surround and shelter people in every culture on the planet, they are a culturally embedded and potentially invisible way to create interfaces for people to capture or receive information in ways that engage other senses such as touch. The author of this talk will share work that examines communication of emotion by touch and implications for design computing.

    Bio

    Felecia Davis’ work in computational textiles questions how we live and she re-imagines how we might use textiles in our daily lives and in architecture. Davis is an Associate Professor at the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing in the School of Architecture at Pennsylvania State University and is the director of SOFTLAB@PSU. She completed her PhD in Design Computation at MIT. Davis’ work in architecture connects art, science, engineering and design and was featured by PBS in the Women in Science Profiles series. Davis’ work was part of the MoMA’s exhibition Reconstruction: Blackness and Architecture in America. She is a founding member of the Black Reconstruction Collective a not-for-profit group of Black architects, scholars and artists supporting design work about the Black diaspora. Davis’ work has been recently recognized by the New York Architectural Leagues’ 2022 Emerging Voices in Architecture program.

    www.feleciadavistudio.com

    www.blackreconstructioncollective.org

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Aesthetics of New Nature.
  • Speaker:   Yasaman Sheri

    Monday, May 9th, 2022 at 1pm PDT via Zoom.

    Abstract

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    2020 marked an entry into a new era signifying a powerful moment to support aesthetic and political engagements in life sciences and ecology. With rapid advances made in biotechnologies and instruments in perception & sensing technology, artists and designers are an increasingly important voice in shaping how such technologies get rendered at societal level. From ecological awareness around climate change, ethics of geo-engineering, creation of sensing systems, providing glimpses into techno-biological futures, to making with a multitude of species and living systems, the creative inquiry explores the poetic entanglements of living systems & contextualizes conceptually our everyday living. This talk explores sheri’s on-going research & investigation in life sciences through artistic intervention & critical inquiry.

    Bio

    Yasaman Sheri is a Design Director, Artist & Researcher investigating human relationship to biology & technology and the creative inquiry into life sciences. Her artistic and critical practice explores the plurality of senses and sensing, perception and the invisible scales at which humans frame and reframe ecology through culture, society and technology. She is the founder and Principal Investigator of Serpentine Galleries Synthetic Ecologies Lab and also an educator and design leader with more than a decade of experience in building platforms and novel interfaces in mixed reality and immersive computing as well as life sciences. Yasaman is passionate about sharing her expertise and continues to uplift women identifying communities of color and folks less represented.

    www.yeahsnos.com

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Distributed Consciousness.
  • Speaker:   Memo Akten

    Monday, May 2nd 2022, at 1pm PDT, ExpVisLab (room 2611) Elings Hall and via Zoom.

    Abstract

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    In this talk, Memo discusses the conceptual motivations behind some of his recent works and research involving computational technologies, with a focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning, embodied interaction, and mixed reality. From a practical perspective, this includes explorations in real-time, interactive computational systems for artistic, creative expression; and 'intelligent' systems for human-machine collaborative creativity. From a more conceptual perspective, this involves investigations into how we make sense of the world and project meaning onto noise; and more broadly speaking, the collisions between nature, science, technology, ethics, ritual, tradition and religion; particularly in the context of the current social and political polarizations, moral crises and technological submission.

    Bio

    Memo Akten is a multi-disciplinary artist, experimental filmmaker, musician and computer scientist from Istanbul, Turkey. He works with emerging technologies and computation as a medium, to create images, sounds, films, large-scale responsive installations and performances. Fascinated by trying to understand the nature of nature and the human condition, he draws from fields such as biological and artificial intelligence, computational creativity, consciousness, neuroscience, physics, biology, ecology, philosophy, ritual and religion. He has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and expressive human-machine interaction from Goldsmiths University of London, and is Assistant Professor of Computational / New Media Art at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Akten is a frequent keynote speaker on topics involving art, science, technology and culture. As part of his PhD, he specializes in expressive human-machine interaction and creative explorations of Artificial Intelligence, and in this field he is considered one of the world’s leading pioneers.

    www.memo.tv

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Miniatures, Demos and Artworks: Three Kinds of Software, Their Uses and Abuses.
  • Speaker:   Warren Sack

    Monday, April 25th, 2022 at 1pm PDT via Zoom

    Abstract

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    Miniatures, demos and artworks (MDAs) are three kinds of software produced in universities, research laboratories, and the art world. Primarily they are created for teaching, arguing, selling, and sparking the imagination to show a larger public what is possible for the future of software. The most well-known miniature is Minix developed by Andrew Tanenbaum (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) to teach students about the workings of the Unix. “The mother of all demos” was produced in 1968 by Douglas Engelbart (SRI) introducing the computer mouse, resizable windows, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing, and collaborative editing — and basically everything we have today in personal computing. The best-known software artwork is probably Spacewar!, a computer game created by Steve Russell in collaboration with several others at MIT in 1962. In this talk I will describe how MDAs are similar and different from one another, have been used and abused in imagining the future of software. Examples include those from the Yale AI Project of the 1980s (where the design of miniatures was a vital concern); demos from the MIT Media Laboratory of the 1990s (an agonistic environment of “demo or die”); and contemporary artworks from the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC.

    Bio

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    Warren Sack is a media theorist, software designer, and artist whose work explores theories and designs for online public space and public discussion. He is Professor of the Software Arts in the Film + Digital Media Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he teaches digital arts and digital studies. He has been a visiting professor in France at Sciences Po, the Fondation Maison des sciences de l'homme, and Télécom ParisTech. His artwork has been exhibited by SFMoMA (San Francisco), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and the ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany). His scholarship and research has been supported by the Paris Institute for Advanced Study, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Sunlight Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. Warren received his PhD from the MIT Media Lab and was an undergraduate at Yale College.

    More about his 2019 book, The Software Arts (MIT Press) can be found at http://softwarearts.info.

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • The Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) presents a lecture by Marcin Pietruszewski, titled The New Pulsar Generator (nuPG): Multiscale Form and Formalisms.
  • Tuesday April 19th at 6pm PDT. Studio Xenakis (Music 2215)

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    This talk is an introduction to the New Pulsar Generator (nuPG) program. Developed in SuperCollider 3 programming language and using the SuperCollider Server for sound synthesis, nuPG builds upon and extends historical Pulsar Generator (2001) by Curtis Roads and Alberto de Campo. After a brief overview of the program design, the key objective of the talk is to demonstrate a set of formal methods developed by Marcin Pietruszewski as part of his compositional praxis. This includes techniques of sieves, per-pulsar processing, and pulsar- wavelet transform are discussed. The nuPG program offers an established visual mode of data representation and editing. It also provides a text-based (live coding) extension enabling a fast implementation of new algorithmic processes. As a prelude to this talk, the composer encourages the audience to learn about fundamental notions of pulsar synthesis as described in Microsound by Curtis Roads.

    Marcin Pietruszewski (b. 1984, Poland) is a composer and researcher. He is engaged in sound synthesis and composition with computers, exploring formal developments in the tradition of electroacoustic music and contemporary sound art. He works across composition, installation, and radio production. Works exhibited at West Court Gallery (Edinburgh, 2019), Remote Viewing (Philadelphia, 2019), and Institute of Contemporary Arts (London, 2017). Commissions by CTM Festival (2021), ZKM Karlsruhe (2018) and Deutschlandradio Kultur (2016). As an educator, Marcin has given courses focused on digital instrument design, digital signal processing, sound theory, and practice. He has taught at The Reid School of Music (Edinburgh College of Art) and Design Informatics (The University of Edinburgh). He also writes on issues related to computer music histories, aesthetics, and technology. His texts have been published by Hatje Cantz and ZKM among others. Currently, Marcin is a Research Fellow in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences of Northumbria University, Newcastle. Marcin lives and works in Berlin.

    www.marcinpietruszewski.com

    soundcloud.com/marcin_pietruszewski

  • MAT Seminar Series: Poetic Justice: Art at the Scale of Social Justice.
  • Speaker:   Ekene Ijeoma

    Monday, April 18th, 2022 at 1pm PDT via Zoom.

    Abstract

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    Ekene will share how he works across his studio and lab practices to address social issues through various mediums and scales.

    Bio

    Ekene Ijeoma is an artist who focuses on the overlooked or shared aspects of sociopolitical trends and interpersonal dynamics through the lenses of personal observation and analytical exploration. He works across various mediums including sound, video, sculpture, installation, and performance.

    His work has been exhibited and performed at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (2021), Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis (2021), Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (2020), Contemporary Art Museum of Houston (2020), The Kennedy Center (2019, 2017), Museum of the City of New York (2019, 2018), Neuberger Museum of Art (2016), Storefront for Art and Architecture (2015) and Museum of Modern Art (2015) among others.

    His practice has been supported by grants and fellowships, including The New York State Council on the Arts (2021); Creative Capital (2019); Map Fund (2019); The Kennedy Center (2017); and New York Foundation for the Arts (2016) among others.

    Ijeoma is a first-generation Nigerian-American born and raised in Fort Worth, TX. He lives and works between his studio in Brooklyn, NY, and lab in Cambridge, MA. He earned his BS in Information Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006 and MA in Interaction Design from Domus Academy (Milan, IT) in 2008. He is an Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Founder and Director of the Poetic Justice Group at Media Lab. Currently, his work with Poetic Justice Group focuses on how art can address the scale of sociopolitical issues through multisite participatory public artworks. These works are accessible over the phone, online, and soon on the streets.

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    Photo: Kris Graves

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Interactive Art: Connecting to Each Other and to Ourselves.
  • Speaker:   Scott Snibbe

    Monday, April 11, 2022 at 1pm PDT, Experimental Visualization Lab (room 2611) Elings Hall and via Zoom.

    Abstract

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    Scott Snibbe will talk about three decades of interactive art that connect people through augmented reality, interactive apps, and embodied social interaction. He’ll touch on the uneasy adoption of interactive art techniques into corporate products, and the way digital art can connect us to others, help us better know ourselves, and even respect respecting privacy in the age of the surveillance state.

    Bio

    Scott Snibbe is a pioneering interactive artist, augmented reality entrepreneur and the host of the meditation podcast A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment. Snibbe’s interactive art installations have been incorporated into concert tours, museums, and airports; and he has collaborated with musicians and filmmakers including Björk, Philip Glass, Beck, and James Cameron. His work can be found in the collections of New York MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and other institutions. Snibbe has produced several bestselling mobile apps including Gravilux and the world's first “app album” Björk: Biophilia, and was one of the early creators of the special effects animation software Adobe After Effects.

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    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Entangled Ecologies of the Public Realm.
  • Speaker:   Marcella Del Signore

    Monday, April 4th at 1pm PST via Zoom

    Abstract

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    The exploration of the public domain is an important parameter to define how we live as collective and how we can rethink the fundamentals of living. The public realm is an expanded field where the deployment of collective ecologies is inherently connected to the socio-cultural production of space and forms of cohabitation of living systems. The talk addresses the intersection of technologies with the public/social/cultural realm through prototyping, material and fabricated systems, data-driven protocols, and mediated environments. Starting from Aério, an installation recently exhibited at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, a series of projects will be the vehicle to speculate on the current and future states of socio-technical apparatuses, interlaced ecosystems, and planetary entanglements.

    Bio

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    Marcella Del Signore is an architect, urbanist, educator, scholar, and the principal of X-Topia, a design-research practice that explores the intersection of architecture and urbanism with technology and the public, social and cultural realm. She is an Associate Professor and Director of the MS. in Architecture, Urban Design at New York Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Design. Her research focuses on interscalar design approaches that engage the notion of socio-technical systems through computation, prototyping, material and fabricated assemblies, data-driven protocols, and adaptive environments. Her work investigates architecture, environments, and cities not as isolated entities but as part of an extended field mediated through the discursive application of technology. In her design practice, she has built a wide array of urban interventions and small-scale prototypes recognized through awards, grants, and publications. In 2018, she co-curated the ‘Data & Matter’ exhibition at the ECC during the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, and in 2021 she exhibited “Aério” at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale. She also exhibited her work at the Gardiner Museum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, MIT Media Lab, Columbia University Buell Center, Rotterdam Biennale of Architecture, Arte Sella, Milan Design Week, Zero1 Biennal, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Duncan Plaza, Architekturzentrum Wien, EME3, and a series of festivals including LunaFete, Urban Prototyping, DesCours, Think Town, Northern Spark, Verdecoprente, and Conflux among others.

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    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • Computational Paideia through the New Media Arts: Toward the embodiment of value, meaning, and holistic thinking in information, a PhD dissertation defense by Alexis Story Crawshaw.
  • Tuesday, March 15th, 2022
    2pm PST, transLAB (room 2615), Elings Hall

    Abstract

    Paideia, a Classical ancient Greek notion of education, encompassed both holistic formal instruction and art (particularly poetry) as means to develop cultural values and understanding. This dissertation examines how the new media arts—as a transdisciplinary and computational field—can be leveraged to fulfill a contemporary notion of paideia in both its practice and instruction, demonstrated through respective artistic and pedagogical proofs-of-concept. Specifically, we analyze the ways in which the computational platform can facilitate the creation and readability of causal relationships across information to embody value, meaning, and holistic thought. To start, we examine how we design affordances—formal qualities that constrain an object’s possible uses by an agent—for guiding participant behavior (observed or enacted) and interpreting meaning as part of experiential learning. We will achieve this through artistic installations and objects. Next, we discuss pedagogical strategies with a cross-disciplinary conceptual framework to support holistic thinking through digital design-based learning. We compare these new efforts toward paideia with ancient Greek media and approaches.

    Toward imparting values, the cybernetic nature of physical computing and other interactive systems offer a means to model or to incentivize (and thus train for) certain kinds of participant actions and behaviors. We present an original body of performance and installation work designed to cultivate the values of social cooperation and attention to nuance.

    Toward shaping meaning, we propose that complex non-verbal ideas may be communicated by strategic formal design that 1) follows “natural [somatic] mappings” or culturally established associations and/or 2) explicitly defies them, directing attention through “strangeness.” To this end, through a theoretical framework and artistic proofs-of-concept, we explore how computation facilitates abstraction and metaphor via operations of mapping, analysis, and execution.

    Lastly, to promote trans-paradigmatic thinking, media arts education and practice through fictional worldmaking can provide a means for organizing complex knowledge and systems. We discuss conceptual framework contributions within the THEMAS (STEAM + creative Humanities) pedagogical model (as originally conceptualized by Marcos Novak).

    In these ways, building upon ancient roots, this research both informs the field of media arts and technology and informs education through design strategies for (artistic) experiential and making-based learning.

  • Making in Time: How Timescale Impacts the Experience, Outcomes, and Expressive Opportunities of Digital Fabrication, a PhD dissertation defense by Mare Hirsch.
  • Monday, March 14th, 2022
    10am PST via Zoom

    Abstract

    Digital fabrication is a rich space for creative production. Many computational tools, including those that support automation, precision, generativity, and parameterization, have been developed to support creativity in fabrication. Emerging digital fabrication tools hold the potential to further expand practices and experiences in digital fabrication, by facilitating more fluid, interactive, and experiential forms of making, in ways that may resemble tools for dynamic digital drawing or real-time audiovisual performance.

    However, digital fabrication involves physical materials that introduce constraints that are not present in creative processes involving strictly digital media. For example, creative digital fabrication practices are constrained by the substantial fabrication times that are required. New technologies, tools, and workflows that circumvent such challenges could enable new forms of making, and expand expressive opportunities for creation, by allowing makers to engage more fluidly and interactively with machines and with physical media.

    This dissertation investigates this emerging space of opportunity through three key questions: (1) How do current digital fabrication workflows support or constrain aspects of efficiency, iteration, interaction, and expression? (2) How do fabrication modalities with different timescales shape the experience and outcomes of making? (3) How can shorter fabrication timescales be supported given the time constraints of digital fabrication, especially additive digital fabrication?

    A first part of the PhD research applies qualitative research methods in examining and analyzing digital fabrication workflows used by professional designers. This analysis characterizes the ways that digital fabrication practitioners apply their knowledge of materials, develop custom software, and leverage incomplete design representations to realize creative and commercially viable products. The analysis highlights the ways that expertise with materials and machine processes are applied in expressive practices that yield feasible products, and how designing viable customizable products influences decisions about geometry, materials, and manufacturing processes, while accounting for costs, effort, and marketability.

    The next part of the thesis applies autobiographical research methods in order to investigate how unconventional digital fabrication workflows can facilitate interactive making processes. This research highlights the potential for custom software to integrate digital fabrication with real-time interaction. The results demonstrate how shared human and computer control of fabrication processes can expand opportunities for creative expression, and how constraints of time scale impact the development of digital fabrication workflows for interactive art.

    Motivated by such opportunities, and the temporal constraints arising in conventional 3D printing processes, the third part of this dissertation presents a novel additive digital fabrication system, the Liquid-Crystal Printer (LCP), that leverages supercooled liquid solutions to enable rapid 3D fabrication. This printing process is based on the deposition and rapid crystallization of supercooled sodium acetate trihydrate solution. The results illustrate how the parameters of this process provide unique opportunities for controlling the attributes and aesthetics of 3D printed artifacts.

    This dissertation contributes new knowledge and methods that highlight the influence of process constraints, including timescales for digital fabrication, on workflows used by professionals designers and artists, and the works they create. It also highlights the potential for new processes and interactive techniques that can leverage emerging technologies for rapid fabrication, and demonstrates the expressive opportunities that such systems can provide.

    marehirsch.com

  • MAT Seminar Series: Craft and Computation: Grounding Our Field in the Social World.
  • Speaker:   Vernelle A. A. Noel

    Monday, March 7th at 1pm PST via Zoom

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    Abstract

    Craft practices, knowledges, and communities are disappearing. These practices carry with them histories and cultures of people, knowledges, and social ties to communities. Some reasons for their disappearance include dying practitioners, lacking pedagogy, changing practices, and technocentric developments. How might we employ computation in the restoration, remediation, and reconfiguration of these practices, knowledges, and communities? Additionally, how might knowledges and innovations in these crafts, repair problems and improve research, practice, and pedagogy in computational design? This presentation will share my research into craft and computation such that our field touches the ground, communities, and critically considers access.

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    Bio

    Vernelle A. A. Noel, Ph.D. is a design scholar, architect, artist, and Founding Director of the Situated Computation + Design Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture and the School of Interactive Computing, her research examines traditional and automated making, human-computer interaction, interdisciplinary creativity, and their intersections with society. She builds new expressions, tools, and methodologies to explore social, cultural, and political aspects of computational design, and emerging technologies for new reconfigurations of practice, pedagogy, and publics. Her work has been supported by the Graham Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, and ideas2innovation, among others, and she is a recipient of the 2021 DigitalFUTURES Young Award for exceptional research and scholarship in the field of critical computational design. Dr. Noel has been a Visiting Professor, researcher, and educator at the Cluster of Excellence in Computational Design (IntCDC) at the University of Stuttgart, the University of Florida, Penn State, MIT, the Singapore University of Technology & Design, and has practiced as an architect in the US, India, and Trinidad & Tobago.

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    vaanoel.com

    sit-code.com

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • Porting of Bhatkhande's Legendary Six-Volume Work "Kramik Pustak Mālikā" to Western Staff Notation, a PhD dissertation defense by Purva Gujar-Kale.
  • Tuesday, March 8th, 2022
    12 noon PST via Zoom

    Abstract

    Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande (1860 – 1936) was one of the most prominent musicologists in the history of India who wrote the first modern treatise on North Indian Classical Music, an art which had been propagated earlier mostly through oral tradition. Early in the 20th Century CE, he wrote a series of books of great current renown; perhaps the best-known of these is his Hindustānī Sangīt Paddhati – Kramik Pustak Mālikā (System of Hindustani Music - Book Series), written in the North Indian language Marathi, in which he outlined his system of the categorization of the North Indian modal system: he classified the hundreds of known rāga-s (scales replete with instructions for melodic movement) into ten modes called thāṭ-s which form the basis of current North Indian Classical Music theory. This six-volume work illustrates the rāga-s and their thāṭ-s by the inclusion of ~1900 different short Hindustani classical music compositions. In 1968 the Czech-born composer Walter Kaufmann, then professor of musicology at Indiana University, Bloomington, published his book The Ragas of North India, in which he transcribed into Western staff notation a generous selection of the compositions in Bhatkhande’s Kramik Pustak Mālikā. However, Bhatkhande’s work – apart from Volume I, a very brief introductory booklet comprising only 68 pages – has never been translated into English. This project has as its goal the porting into Western staff notation of all ~1900 compositions in the 3,500-odd pages of the Kramik Pustak Mālikā to make it accessible to the Western music community. Given the large scope of the work, the solution is to leverage and build technology into the software platform - InSargam - Indian Classical Music Notation Editor that can export Western staff notation and accomplish this task.

  • Spatial Audio Fields, a PhD dissertation defense by Nathan Weitzner.
  • Wednesday, March 9th, 2022
    3pm PST via Zoom

    Abstract

    When a sound source is spatialized over loudspeakers, the source undergoes a series of transformations before it ultimately reaches the listener. The source is first transformed by panning and other spatialization algorithms based on its spatial parameters in what this dissertation calls the virtual field. Next, the source is projected by the loudspeaker array into the acoustic field further transforming the source. The virtual field, loudspeaker array, and acoustic field form the spatial audio field (SAF) which significantly influences how a spatial composition is perceived.

    The majority of current spatial techniques focus on manipulation of a source's spatial parameters and parameters of the spatial image. While sources in spatial audio compositions are assigned positions and trajectories that often change throughout the work, the spatialization algorithms of the virtual field are usually fixed, the loudspeaker array does not change, and the acoustic field rarely changes during the performance. Thus the specific SAF used in a given work, whether constructed deliberately as part of the compositional process, or constructed arbitrarily, is usually static.

    The SAF is largely unexplored for new compositional techniques on short musical timescales. As the loudspeakers and acoustic field are physical components of the SAF, changes to each are only practical on larger timescales from musical phrases to form. However, as the virtual field is usually constructed digitally, it can be changed on timescales down to the sample rate. Therefore, the focus of this research is on developing compositional techniques in the virtual field.

    To carry out this research, an experimental software program was developed that not only allows for realtime spatialization of multiple audio sources, but also allows for realtime changes to the virtual field. This research has led to the development of new compositional elements, methods of synthesis, and spatial extensions to traditional compositional techniques.

  • MAT Seminar Series: EXPOSED: Documenting COVID-19 in the Criminal Punishment System.
  • Speaker:   Sharon Daniel

    Monday, February 28th at 1pm PST via Zoom

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    Abstract

    In the 15th century, Venetians invented Quarantine as a protection against the plague. In the Mid-20th century, Americans invented a criminal punishment system based on the model of Quarantine in which the disproportionately poor, Black, or Brown ‘offender” is treated as a pathogen to be isolated and contained. In the 21st century, COVID-19, an actual pathogen, has both exposed and intensified the brutality of that system — prisoners have been stranded in quarantine without adequate food or medication, abandoned and unseen. In the US over 2 million people are confined in overcrowded, unsanitary, and unsafe environments. Prisoners cannot practice social distancing or use hand sanitizer and are regularly subjected to medical malpractice and neglect. In this seminar presentation, I will focus on the interactive documentary EXPOSED, which provides a cumulative public record and evolving history of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on incarcerated people. EXPOSED, documents the spread of COVID-19, over time, inside prisons, jails, and detention centers across the US, from the perspective of prisoners and their advocates. Original interviews, along with quotes, audio clips, and statistics collected from a comprehensive array of online publications and broadcasts, are assembled into an interactive timeline that, on each day, offers abundant testimony to the risk and trauma prisoners experience under coronavirus quarantine. The scale of the project is intended to reflect the scale of the crisis. There are now over 11,000 entries in the project database. The monochrome, image-less, headline-styled interface, which allows viewers to step through thousands of prisoners’ statements, is designed to visualize their collective suffering and signal that the injustices they endure are structural.

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    Bio

    Sharon Daniel is a media artist who creates interactive and participatory documentary artworks addressing issues of social, racial, and environmental injustice, focusing principally on mass incarceration and the criminal legal system. She develops innovative online interfaces and multi-media installations that visualize and materialize the testimony of incarcerated people. Her work has been exhibited in museums and festivals internationally. Her work has been honored by the Webby Awards, a Rockefeller/Tribeca Film Festival New Media Fellowship, and a Fulbright Fellowship. She was named in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts “YBCA 100” – a list of “the creative minds, makers, and pioneers that are asking the questions and making the provocations that will shape the future of American culture.” Daniel is a Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

    www.sharondaniel.net

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Art in the Age of Machine Learning.
  • Speaker:   Sofian Audry

    Monday, February 14th at 1pm PST via Zoom

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    Abstract

    A talk by transdisciplinary artist-researcher Sofian Audry on machine learning art and its practice in new media art and music, presenting as an overview of Audry's new book at MIT Press.

    Bio

    Sofian Audry is an artist, scholar, Professor of Interactive Media within the School of Media at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) and Co-Director of the Hexagram Network for Research-Creation in Art, Culture and Technology. Audry's work explores the behavior of hybrid agents at the frontier of art, artificial intelligence, and artificial life, through artworks and writings. Audry's book Art in the Age of Machine Learning examines machine learning art and its practice in art and music (MIT Press, 2021). Their artistic practice branches through multiple forms including robotics, installations, bio-art, and electronic literature.

    sofianaudry.com

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Cognition, Technology and the Arts.
  • Speaker:   Simon Penny

    Monday, February 7th at 1pm PST via Zoom

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    Abstract

    This presentation will focus on my research into distributed, inactive, and embodied cognition as it relates to the arts, and on my critical interrogation of computing history and rhetoric - all of which has arisen out of, and in parallel with, my practice as an artist in interactive, robotic and virtual media. The presentation will begin with an introduction to two works, followed by a discussion of the philosophical ideas that have informed computing and the mind. Questions will gravitate around the issues raised during the presentation and around the two assigned papers: One examines the history of digital media arts in the 90s, the other addresses issues of cognition related to contemporary digital media.

    Bio

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    Simon Penny is an artist, theorist, and teacher with a longstanding focus on emerging technologies and on embodied and situated aspects of artistic practice. He has built interactive installations and robotic art since the mid-1980s. He explores - in artistic and scholarly work and in technical research - problems encountered when computational technologies interface with cultural practices. His longstanding concern for embodied and situated aspects of aesthetic experience, along with a critical analysis of computer culture, is the focus of his book Making Sense: Cognition, Computing, Art and Embodiment (MIT press 2017). He was director of A Body of Knowledge: Embodied Cognition and the Arts conference UCI 2016, and An Ocean of Knowledge: Pacific Seafaring, Sustainability and Cultural Survival at UCI in 2017. He is co-director of the Industrial Crafts Research Network. He was Professor of Art and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon (1993-2000). He founded the Arts Computation Engineering (ACE) graduate program at the University of California Irvine, 2001-2012. He was visiting professor in media theory, Cognitive Systems, and Interactive Media masters, University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, 2006-2013, and Labex International Professor, University Paris8 and ENSAD in 2014. Penny is currently a professor in Electronic Art and Design (Dept of Art) at the University of California, Irvine, with appointments in the dept of Music and in Informatics (School of Information and Computer Science). He is a guest professor at the School of Art and Design, Nottingham Trent University UK, 2021-2024.

    simonpenny.net

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Abundance of Otherness.
  • Speaker:   Maja Smrekar

    Monday, January 31st at 1pm PST via Zoom

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    Abstract

    Artist talk on Maja Smrekar’s work that derives on an interdisciplinary artistic research, exploring intersections between the human and the animal and intertwines these contexts with technology. Her work stems from the premise that human life is above all, about other than human entities that disrupt the division into subject and object. In her attempts to challenge these relations, she establishes contexts beyond the laws of genus and species or race or gender, constructing situations that happen on a (micro-)political level and furthermore on a molecular one. Drawing inspiration from different media, including performative elements, such as durational and photo performance; Smrekar extends her work into micro performativity that emphasizes on the processes within the human body and also includes nonhuman subjectivities.

    Bio

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    Smrekar's work has been established in the international art and science milieu. Her projects explore the potentials of technologically and scientifically rooted processes and materials, such as from biotechnology, molecular biology, reproductive biomedicine, ecology, ethology, artificial intelligence, soft robotics, etc. Her practice has allowed her to lead strong collaborations in developing productions that include cross-conceptual staging of hybrid art, performance, installations, site-specific, and video as well as contributions to knowledge exchanged within lectures, talks and texts. She exhibited in the following spaces: ZKM Karlsruhe (Germany), Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing (China), MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome (Italy), Zuercher Gallery / Frieze New York (USA), RMIT Gallery Melbourne (Australia), etc. and festivals: Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria), Click festival (Elsinore, Denmark), Transmediale (Berlin, Germany) ... In 2017 she was the recipient of the Prix Ars Electronica - Golden Nica 2017 in the Hybrid Arts Category (Linz / Austria).

    www.majasmrekar.org

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: From Soft Robotics to Soft Robot Aesthetics.
  • Speaker:   Jonas Jørgensen

    Monday, January 24th at 1pm PST via Zoom

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    Abstract

    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.

    Bio

    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.

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    jonasjoergensen.org

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Technologies of Consciousness.
  • Speaker:   Marcos Lutyens

    Monday, January 10th at 1pm PST via Zoom

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    Abstract

    A talk by internationally recognized artist Marcos Lutyens covering the trajectory of his work that centers around consciousness. His emergent work spans neuroscience, shamanism, performance art, hypnosis, networked video, augmented reality, and various other art forms, seeking to expand what we consider to be the roots of consciousness.

    Bio

    In his explorations of consciousness, Lutyens has collaborated with celebrated neuroscientists V. Ramachandran and Richard Cytowic, as much as studying under shamans from different cultures. His works take form in installations, sculptures, drawings, short films, writings, and performances. Lutyens has exhibited internationally in numerous museums, galleries, and biennials, including the Royal Academy of Arts, Centre Pompidou, National Art Museum of China, Documenta, and the Biennials of Venice, Istanbul, Liverpool, São Paulo.

    www.lutyens.com

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • The Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) presents a lecture by MAT alumna Dr. Jiayue Cecilia Wu, titled Teaching Modular Synthesis and Sound Design Online During COVID-19: Improving Learning Outcomes with Open-source Software and Student-centered Pedagogy.
  • Thursday January 13th at 6pm Pacific Time via Zoom.

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    This lecture introduces an innovative online teaching pedagogy in sound design and modular synthesis. It uses open-source software to improve student-centered learning outcomes during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We wanted to achieve a similar level of engagement as in-person classes, inspire a diverse student body, offer ample technical and mental support, as well as open the possibility of learning sound design through Eurorack modular synthesizers without investing money in expensive hardware. Human subjects research was conducted during the course to improve the students’ learning experience and shape the pedagogy. The qualitative and quantitative data indicates the effectiveness of student-centered pedagogy. We promoted social interaction and student well-being while teaching challenging topics during challenging times.

    Dr. Jiayue Cecilia Wu is a scholar, composer, vocalist, multimedia technologist, and audio engineer. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Design and Engineering in 2000. She then worked as a professional musician at Universal Music Group and EMI Records for ten years. In 2013, she obtained a Master of Arts degree in Music, Science, and Technology at Stanford University. In 2018, she received a PhD in Media Arts and Technology from the University of California Santa Barbara. Dr. Wu's work focuses on designing and using media technology to compose music for meditation and healing. Her work has been exhibited at museums and arts/science societies such as the National Museum of China, Denver Art Museum, IEEE, Linux Audio, ISEA, ICMC, NIME, AES, and SEAMUS. She is the chairperson of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committees for both AES and Colorado MahlerFest. She also serves as a voting member of the Recording Academy (Grammy), the Editor-in-Chief of SEAMUS, and the board director-at-large of ICMA. Currently, Dr. Wu is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Arts and Media.

2021

  • MAT Seminar Series: Learning from AlphaGo: How will AI transform architecture?.
  • Speaker:   Neil Leach

    Monday, December 6th at 1pm PST via Zoom

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    Abstract

    "The ideas that are driving AlphaGo are going to drive our future."
    - AlphaGo documentary

    "AlphaGo showed us that moves humans may have thought are creative were actually conventional."
    - Lee Sedol, following match with AlphaGo

    "Overnight, China plunged into an artificial intelligence fever. . . AlphaGo was China’s Sputnik moment."
    - Kai-Fu Lee

    Seldom has a game had such a profound impact on the world. In 2016 a match of Go took place between leading Korean Go player, Lee Sedol, and AlphaGo, an AI program developed by DeepMind of London. Few had expected AlphaGo to beat one of the world’s leading Go players, given the complexity of a board game where there are more potential moves than atoms in the universe. But AlphaGo comfortably beat its human opponent. Moreover, AlphaGo played a series of strategically brilliant moves never seen before. The match transformed the game of Go forever, but its overall impact was felt even more broadly. AlphaGo had demonstrated that AI could outperform human beings at a highly complex challenge, and caused a seismic shock – a wakeup call – for China and Korea, two countries where Go is a national game, prompting both countries to invest heavily in AI research.

    How will the ideas behind AlphaGo – and AI in general – transform the discipline of architecture? Learning from AlphaGo draws comparisons between the ideas behind AlphaGo and the startling ways in which AI is already being used to transform the profession: AI is automatically generating novel architectural designs, and outperforming architects in urban planning; AI is controlling our environmental systems and sorting out all our traffic jams; AI is teaching robotic arms to stack bricks and build walls; and clients have even begun to insist on architects using AI to guarantee their return on investment. The AI revolution has already begun.

    In 1972 Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steve Izenour published Learning from Las Vegas. 50 years later, it is clear that AI is going to transform architecture more radically than Las Vegas ever could. It is now time to learn from AlphaGo.

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    Bio

    Neil Leach is a British architect and professor. He currently teaches at FIU, EGS and Tongji, and taught previously at AA, Harvard GSD, Columbia, Cornell and SCI-Arc. He has been a NASA research fellow, developing 3D printing technologies for the Moon and Mars, and is an academician within the Academy of Europe. He has published over 40 books on architecture and digital theory. His books include Rethinking Architecture (Routledge, 1997), Designing for a Digital World (Wiley, 2002); Digital Tectonics (Wiley, 2004); Camouflage (MIT Press, 2006); Digital Cities (Wiley, 2009); Space Architecture (Wiley, 2014); Swarm Intelligence (TongjiUP, 2017); Computational Design (TongjiUP, 2017); Digital Fabrication (TongjiUP, 2017); Architectural Intelligence (Springer, 2020); Material Intelligence (Springer, 2021); Architecture in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (Bloomsbury, 2021) and Machine Hallucinations: Architecture and AI (Wiley, 2022).

    neilleach.wordpress.com

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Critical Computation and Emotive Matter.
  • Speaker:  Behnaz Farahi

    Monday, November 29th at 1pm PST, Elings Hall room 2611 (Experimental Visualization Lab).

    Abstract

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    Can computation be critical or will various forms of bias always be found embedded in computational systems? Could surveillance act as a form of resistance? Could materials be imbued with Artificial Intelligence and computer vision in order to address critical issues such as emotion? The goal is to address the possibility of an empathetic relationship between human beings and their environment in order to augment human intelligence and sensory experience of the world and influence social interactions in a critical way. By demonstrating a series of interdisciplinary projects, the attempt is to address provocative research questions through design and critical making, fueled by the latest advances in the world of neuroscience, cognitive philosophy, computational design, artificial intelligence and feminism. From wearables to architecture, these projects demonstrate an application of techniques, such as EEG brain imaging, facial and gaze tracking as well as novel actuator systems, such as smart materials and pneumatics systems.

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    Bio

    Trained as an architect, Behnaz Farahi is an award winning designer and critical maker based in Los Angeles. She holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Media Arts and Practice from USC School of Cinematic Arts. Currently she is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Design, California State University, Long Beach. She explores how to foster an empathetic relationship between the human body and the space around it using computational systems. Her work addresses critical issues such as feminism, emotion, perception and social interaction. Farahi has won several awards including the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum Digital Design Award, Innovation By Design Fast Company Award, World Technology Award. She is a co-editor of an issue of AD, ‘3D Printed Body Architecture’ (2017) and ‘Interactive Futures’ (forthcoming).

    behnazfarahi.com

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: On the Vegetariat.
  • Speaker:  Špela Petrič

    Monday, November 22nd at 1pm PST via Zoom.

    Abstract

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    The PLANT-MACHINE is the umbrella title for an art practice and research through which Špela Petrič examines the entwinement of advanced technologies with living bodies, positing horticulture as a model of these relations. By experimenting with ways to appropriate or subvert data acquisition and processing methods, the projects question the current use of algorithms. In the context of the artworks, data becomes the raw material for non-utilitarian, speculative representations of plant life in the sphere of information.

    Bio

    Špela Petrič is a Ljubljana and Amsterdam based new media artist who has been trained in the natural sciences as well as transmedia arts. Her artistic practice combines technolgoy, wet biomedia practices, and performance. She is currently working as a researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, studying how automation of care manifests in various spheres, from horticulture to human medicine. Petrič received several awards, such as the White Aphroid for outstanding artistic achievement (Slovenia), the Bioart and Design Award (Netherlands), and an Award of Distinction at Prix Ars Electronica (Austria).

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Ubiquitous Computing Design as Meaning Making.
  • Speaker:  Richard Durán

    Monday, November 15th at 1pm PT via Zoom.

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    Abstract

    Our notions of human learning and cognition in the learning sciences are undergoing sweeping changes as we better grasp the relationships between human’s embodied mental construction and interpretation of everyday reality and its relationship to the material world, society, and culture. I review Chalmer’s notion of extended mind and the notion of situated cognition as examples, with updated concern for how ubiquitous computing design and related technologies have become widespread as resources for edge scientific advances, literacy learning, culture creation, and expression. I call attention to the importance of calling attention of these developments to young people underserved by the education system and society at large.

    In light of these concerns, I review efforts to introduce ubiquitous computing into expansive learning activities conducted by immigrant Latinx youths in a maker space at the St. George Youth Center in Isla Vista.

    Bio

    Richard Durán is a professor in the UCSB Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. His research interests include notions of extended mind and computational thinking from a learning sciences perspective and how we can pursue equity and affirmative development of persons from underserved communities enabled by collaboration and inventive use of technological tools.

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • Soft Tectonics, the first exhibition of the Start of the Year Media Arts Design Engineering (SYMADES) 2021 series, will be exhibited at UCSB’s Glass Box Gallery. Wednesday November 3rd - Friday November 5th, from 10am to 5pm. The reception will be on Friday November 5th, 5-7pm.
  • Soft Tectonics is an ongoing research project exploring morphogenesis through computational design, soft material fabrication, and digital audio technologies. The exhibition features SoftVoss (a wearable art sonic skin) and OctoAnemone (an interactive sound sculpture).

    https://students.mat.ucsb.edu/yinyu/exhibitions.html

    The Glass Box Gallery is the UCSB Art Department’s student-run exhibition space in Building 535 in the Art Department complex.

    Image

    www.symades.net

  • MAT Seminar Series: Explorations in Audio Synthesis and Composition Software Beyond SuperCollider.
  • Speaker:  James McCartney

    Monday, November 8th at 1pm PDT via Zoom.

    Image

    Abstract

    I will discuss various projects I have worked on over the last ten years involving user interface, audio synthesis code generation, and language design in pursuit of some long term goals I have for an audio synthesis and music composition system.

    Bio

    James McCartney studied computer science and electronic music at the University of Texas at Austin. He wrote music for various dance and drama productions in Austin, and later developed the SuperCollider programming language for audio synthesis and algorithmic composition. For a few years he worked on the Hubble Space Telescope project on software for observation planning and data analysis. He worked for 16 years at Apple in the Core Audio group. Now he is retired and pursuing further interests in possibilities for audio synthesis environments.

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series presents a MAT Alumni Panel: Speculative Futures. Panelists: Basak Alper Ramaswamy, August Black, Pablo Colapinto, and Enrica Costello. Moderator: Alexis Story Crawshaw. Monday, October 25th at 1pm PT via Zoom.
  • Image

    Abstract

    Alumni from MAT converse around our special seminar theme of Speculative Futures (description below) and speak to the field, their retrospectives on the MAT program, their post-MAT work, and where they think the future of the field might be moving (and how this might inform MAT and our future approaches). This MAT Alumni Panel is the first in a series of such alumni panels we plan to hold.

    Speculative Futures

    The future is inherently unknowable, but our present converging crises make for some particularly mysterious seeding conditions. What futures might emerge? What kinds of vectors might be possible from this historical node? The destabilizing events of the new decade have catalyzed global critical reflection about longstanding systems and institutions, with particular focus on mitigating existential threats and social inequalities. The stakes have never been higher, but present volatilities may offer increased flexibility for radical change. During the lockdown, transdisciplinary arts organizations such as Leonardo, S+T+ARTS, and Digital Futures have been hosting international conversations on reimagining the future and the roles that we, as hybrid practitioners, might play in realizing positive change. Relatedly, the practice of speculative design encourages this genre of critical future ideation through artistic praxis itself. As an extension of these efforts and mindsets, the 2021 Fall MAT Seminar Series invites speakers both inside and outside the media arts field to articulate and share their speculative visions, hopes, and designs for the future in this pivotal time. How might such futures shape our field? How might the field change to better guide better futures?

    Bios

    Basak Alper Ramaswamy. PhD MAT 2013

    Basak Alper Ramaswamy works at Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA. She is a product manager of software tools that are being developed for ground operations of space missions. She applies her skills in user research, data science and visualization to create software tools with a user-centered focus. She received her PhD degree from the UCSB MAT program in 2013. Her research interests spanned information visualization and human-computer interaction topics. She has published in various journals and conferences including ACM SIGCHI, IEEE Transactions on Graphics and Visualization, IEEE InfoVis. She lives in Pasadena CA with her husband and two daughters.

    August Black. PhD MAT 2011

    August Black is a hybrid practitioner of art, design and engineering. He makes experimental spatial and acoustic situations, often by building his own technological artifacts and instruments in hardware and software. His past work focused on live networked audio, mixing FM radio with user input through online software. His current interests span the fields of the philosophy of technology, software studies, techno-politics, peer-to-peer networking and AI/machine learning. In the past, he’s been a member of arts organizations such as the ORF Kunstradio and the Ars Electronica Futurelab, as well as a former member of the engineering team at Cycling ‘74, makers of Max/MSP. He has shown works at festivals and venues such as Ars Electronica Festival, Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Wave Farm, Transmediale, Pixelache, LA Freewaves, Piksel Festival, Polar Circuit and the Tasmanian Museum of Art, among others. He earned a BFA at Syracuse University and an MS/PhD at UC Santa Barbara. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Critical Media Practices at CU Boulder.

    Pablo Colapinto. PhD MAT 2016

    https://wolftype.com

    Enrica Costello, MAT: MA 2002 (+ current PhD Candidate)

    Enrica Lovaglio Costello was raised in an Italian hamlet by the Mediterranean sea; her deep-sea diver dad taught her early on the value of knowing “how to build” her “creative projects.” She studied architecture in Genova (Italy), urban design in Lyon (France), and Media Arts and Technology in Santa Barbara (U.S.A.). Enrica is a Full Professor in the Art and Design department at Cal Poly. In the last two decades, her main interests have included immersive and interactive narratives and cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural explorations through advanced technology. More recently, her research focus has been defining new methodologies to reduce discriminatory bias. Today, she is exploring if collaborations between academia and juvenile correctional systems in designing narratives and experiencing them in VR can be an empirical, evidence-based pedagogical method to increase diversity and inclusion inside American universities.

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series: Gestures, Models and Interaction Between Image and Sound.
  • Speaker:  João Pedro Oliveira

    Monday, October 18th, 2021 at 1pm. Experimental Visualization Lab, room 2611, Elings Hall.

    Image

    This presentation analyses several possibilities of interaction between image movement and sound, under the perspective of gestural and textural relations. Departing from theorists such as Hatten, Smalley, Wishart and Chion, who analyzed the idea of gesture and texture in music, we present several examples from the cinema repertoire (Hitchcock, Lawrence, Kubrick, Reggio, Tarkovski), as well as some author's experimental videos, where specific gestures in the image interrelate with sound/music gestures, in ways that can have multiple meanings, or go beyond the direct translation of one into the other. Gesture will be analysed structurally related to its energetic potential, emotion induction, movement and meaning/metaphor. Other concepts such as causality, energy-motion-trajectory, articulation of a continuum, hierarchical levels and disturbances, analysed by the above-mentioned authors will also be applied to the sound-image relation.

    Bio

    Composer João Pedro Oliveira holds the Corwin Endowed Chair in Composition for the University of California at Santa Barbara. He studied organ performance, composition and architecture in Lisbon. He completed a PhD in Music at the University of New York at Stony Brook. His music includes opera, orchestral compositions, chamber music, electroacoustic music and experimental video. He has received over 70 international prizes and awards for his works, including three Prizes at Bourges Electroacoustic Music Competition, the prestigious Magisterium Prize and Giga-Hertz Special Award, 1st Prize in Metamorphoses competition, 1st Prize in Yamaha-Visiones Sonoras Competition, 1st Prize in Musica Nova competition. He taught at Aveiro University (Portugal) and Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil). His publications include several articles in journals and a book on 20th century music theory.

    www.jpoliveira.com

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Blue Sky Sensing: Solarception in Art and Science."
  • Speaker:  Douglas Kahn

    Monday, October 11th, 2021 at 9pm PDT via Zoom

    Image

    Rethinking the cultural dynamics of recent physiology is a means to perceive a new sense, one of two in the eye, one suited to the political conditions of energy. Appealing to mythological and scientific sites of Reverse Icarus, Perdixian technology, Platonic coalescence, the classical elements, and the Holy Trinity of matter-energy-information, this talk focuses on two blues that are not thought to be seen, one in the sky, one in the retina. One occurs in the early days of quantum physics apparent in art and science in European cultural theory; the other grows in significance now that seasons no longer synch with the circadian.

    Bio

    Douglas Kahn is author of Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts and Noise Water Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts, editor of Energies in the Arts, among other books in histories of the arts, experimental music, and computation in the arts. He is Honorary Professor at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, and Professor Emeritus at University of California at Davis, and University of New South Wales.

    www.unsw.edu.au/staff/douglas-kahn

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Dialogues with Machines."
  • Speaker:  Joost Rekveld

    Monday, October 4th, 2021 at 1pm PDT via Zoom

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    This long-running research project started as an attempt to deal with an ancient question: how can we learn something we don't already know ? As a possible answer, Joost Rekveld has been exploring the idea that new things can be learned in interaction with devices outside of us. By focusing on the agency of technological artefacts in speculation and creation, his project hopes to contribute to a reflection on technology as something else than a tool to subjugate our planet and ourselves.

    Practical work focused on the room full of historic and recent analog computers that has been Rekveld's studio for the past few years. Rekveld has been making artistic works nourished by a form of media-archeology that serves two purposes that are almost opposed; one the one hand seeking to illuminate aspects of current practices by going back to their origins, on the other hand looking at the past as a rich and relatively accessible source of difference. Analog computing is an interesting study case since it is the historical origin of computing as a form of interactive exploration, and because interaction with analog computers is non-symbolical: they are not programmed using code but by adjusting material configurations.

    In his presentation, Joost Rekveld will talk about his recent work with analog computers and discuss the roots of still embryonic plans involving evolvable hardware.

    Bio

    Joost Rekveld explores the sensory consequences of systems of his own design, often inspired by forgotten corners in the history of science and technology. He combines temporary dogma’s in the form of procedures or code with open-ended elements such as material processes or networks of interactions that are too complex to predict. His films, installations and performances are composed documentaries of the worlds opened by such systems. In their sensuality they are an attempt to reach an intimate and embodied understanding of our technological world.

    His abstract films have been shown world-wide in a wide range of festivals and venues for experimental film, animation or other kinds of moving image. He had retrospectives at the Barbican in London, Redcat in LA, and the Ann Arbor film festival amongst others, and in 2017 he was filmmaker in focus at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Individual films were screened at hundreds of venues, including the ICA and the Tate Modern in London, The Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. His film “#11, Marey <-> Moire” was the first Dutch film ever to be shown at the Sundance Film Festival.

    He has realized several installations and was involved in many collaborative projects involving composers, music ensembles, theatre companies, dance companies and artist’s labs. He has been giving lectures since 1993, has been teaching since 1996, and from 2008 to 2014 he was the course director of the ArtScience Interfaculty of the Royal Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. Since 2017, Joost has been affiliated to the School of Arts, University College Ghent (Belgium) as an artistic researcher.

    www.joostrekveld.net

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • "Sound Palette: A System For Exploring and Composing with Audio Archives", a Masters presentation by Philip Kobernik.
  • Tuesday, September 14th, 2021
    11am PDT via Zoom

    Abstract

    Composers have used recorded sound as compositional material since the birth of musique concrete in the 1940s. While advances in technology have enabled composers to generate and collect large archives of recorded sound, tools and workflows for accessing archives of sound have remained largely unchanged. Composing with large archives of recordings often requires managing and searching through large quantities of audio data, which requires extensive time and labor on the part of the composer. I analyzed related works and data collected from formative interviews with composers to design and implement a new system that supports archive exploration, audition, and composition. SoundPalette is a plug-in device for Ableton Live that enables composers to explore their archive of recorded sound using perceptually relevant audio descriptor dimensions. SoundPalette facilitates content-based search and maps resulting sound object playback to MIDI input. To evaluate SoundPalette, I conducted a weeklong study with two expert composers who used the system to create a series of short musical sketches that leveraged material from their archive. The results of the evaluation indicate that computational systems for audio archive exploration and composition can help composers discover material in their archive, gather material before composition, and integrate these workflows directly into the process of composition.

  • "Maximizing Presence in Immersive Virtual Environments", a PhD dissertation defense by Kon Hyong (Kenny) Kim.
  • Friday, June 25th, 2021
    3pm PDT via Zoom

    Abstract

    Virtual Reality (VR) systems have surged in popularity over the last decade, with many different types of devices being utilized to create immersive virtual environments (IVE). One of the key functionalities of an IVE is to induce presence, the sense of "being there", from the user. This is dependent on how the system can manipulate our perception of spatial layout, which involves neurobiological processes of constructing a neural map of the nearby space within our reach, called the peripersonal space. This dissertation aims to understand what presence is, how our brain perceives space, and the importance of peripersonal space in generating presence. Using various iterations of projection-based VR system setups as examples of how to utilize this knowledge, this dissertation will provide insight on how to effectively set up projection-based VR systems with limited resources.

  • "Translating Between Art and Technology Through Interactive Visualizations", a Masters presentation by Xindi Kang.
  • Thursday, June 24th, 2021
    3:30pm PDT via Zoom

    Abstract

    In the practice of media arts, which resides at the intersection of art, engineering and science, seamless communication between disciplines is crucial to creating work that can make an impact in all three areas. The need for a language that enables effective communication between artists, scientists and engineers becomes more prominent as experts from each field strive to push boundaries in their research. In this master’s project, I propose several approaches utilizing abstract representations afforded by interactive visualizations to translate between discipline specific languages, creating works that are understood and valued by researchers in fields ranging from arts and humanities to engineering and data science. I will introduce two case studies in support of each of the proposed approaches, demonstrating their translating effect in both interactive art and data visualization.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "XR for Robotic Exploration and Earth Communication."
  • Speaker:  Sasha Samochina

    Friday, May 28th, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom

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    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.

    Bio

    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.

    Watch on Vimeo

    www.cloudsasha.com

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Surrogate Performer in the Age of in-vitro Intelligence."
  • Speaker:  Guy Ben-Ary

    Monday, May 17th, 2021 at 7pm PDT via Zoom

    Image

    "...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.

    Bio

    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.

    Watch on Vimeo

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "On Ornamental Rashes of Ideology."
  • Speaker:  Jasmina Cibic

    Monday, May 10th, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom

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    Jasmina Cibic will present her talk "On Ornamental Rashes of Ideology", where she will focus on her research and exhibition projects that delved into the co-relation of contagion of ideology and how it spread via the aid of scenographic (state endorsed) spectacle. Jasmina is a London based artist who works in performance, installation and film, employing a range of activity, media and theatrical tactics to redefine or reconsider a specific ideological formation and its framing devices such as art and architecture. Her work draws a parallel between the construction of national culture and its use value for political aims, addressing the timelessness of psychological and soft power mechanisms that authoritarian structures utilise in their own reinsertion and reinvention.

    Bio

    Jasmina Cibic represented Slovenia at the 55th Venice Biennial with her project “For Our Economy and Culture”. Her recent exhibitions include solo shows at: Museum of Contemporary Art Ljubljana, CCA Glasgow, Phi Foundation Montreal, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art Gateshead, Kunstmuseen Krefeld, Aarhus 2017, Esker Foundation Calgary, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, MGLC Ljubljana and Ludwig Museum Budapest along with group exhibitions at Steirischer Herbst ‘19, MOMA NY, MUMA Monash Museum, CCS BARD and Guangdong Museum of Art China. Cibic’s films have been screened at Whitechapel Gallery, CCA Montreal, Pula Film Festival, HKW Berlin, Louvre, Les Rencontres Internationales Paris, Dokfest Kassel and Copenhagen International Documentary Festival. Cibic has been shortlisted for the Jarman Award (2018) and was the winner of the MAC International Ulster Bank and Charlottenborg Fonden awards (2016) and B3 Biennial of the Moving Image Award (2020). Her upcoming solo shows include macLyon, Museum Sztuki Lodz and the Museum der Moderne Salzburg.

    Watch on Vimeo

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Hack the Planet".
  • Speaker:  Michael Candy

    Monday, May 3rd, 2021 at 7pm via Zoom

    Image

    A biographical presentation of Michael Candy's practice as he attempts to brute-force an understanding of technology.

    Bio

    Michael Candy works with a vocabulary of robotics, hardware hacking, intervention and video. This didactic practice seeks to mediate the liminal realm that technology oppresses on the physical world. His installations and projects often emerge as social experiments or ecological interventions in public space.

    Candy has been involved in many international and local projects and exhibitions, notably: Water, (GOMA, Brisbane), Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, (AGSA, Adelaide), Ars Electronica Festival, (Linz, Austria), The Kathmandu Triennale (Kathmandu,Nepal), The Forum of Sensory Motion (Athens, Greece), The Instrument Builders Project + Hackteria Lab (Yogyakarta, Indonesia) and Hawapi (Huepetuhe,Peru).

    Watch on Vimeo

    michaelcandy.com

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • Several current and former members of the MAT community will participate in a panel discussion titled "DigitalFUTURES Talk: New Media Architectures". The event is live streamed, and will take place on May 1st, 2021 at 7am PDT | 10am EST | 4pm Central European Time | 10pm in China.
  • DigitalFUTURES Talk: New Media Architectures

    A Vision for Change in the Arts, Design and Sciences

    "New Media Architecture(s), or NMA, are the flows, shapes, and spaces as information that redefine our world. NMA spaces can be qualified by a formalization of space and time, while also quantified by computational models that attempt to synthetically mimic complex systems behaviors, manmade or natural. This panel explores the conceptual implications of a new vision for change in contemporary research practice combining the Arts and Sciences."

    The panel includes MAT alumni Dr. Haru Ji, Dr. Graham Wakefield, Dr. Şölen Kiratli, and Dr. Hannah Wolfe, and current MAT PhD student Weidi Zhang.

    The event is moderated by Dr. Gustavo Rincon (MAT alumni, UCSB Allosphere Research Group), and Danielle Siembieda (Leonardo, ISAST).

    Live streaming at www.youtube.com/c/digitalfuturesworld/live and live.bilibili.com/22290623.

    Event website:  www.digitalfutures.world

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Interfacing with Living Matter".
  • Speaker:  Mirela Alistar

    Monday, April 26th, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom

    Image

    Can a non-human organism carry and pass on the nostalgic memory of a human being? Could we create hybrid creatures in the lab in order to improve our understanding of the complex relationship between humans and other organisms?

    I am driven by the constant inner desire to discover my humanity through the perspective of the non-human beings around me. For that, I shamelessly use advanced techniques in biotechnology, computing and engineering, not to make an award-winning discovery, but to discover myself.

    I will talk about how I express myself through some of my work, ranging from developing microfluidic biochips for personalized healthcare to Semina Aeternitatis created with Margerita Pevere - an art piece that takes a hybrid approach on immortality, by entwining human memories with bacterial inheritance.

    Bio

    Mirela (assistant professor, ATLAS Institute, Computer Science) investigates the extent to which we can change healthcare to make it a personal process. Her research focuses around microfluidic biochips, devices that enable direct interaction of humans with their microbiome for diagnosis purposes. Mirela is an active contributor to the DIYBio movement, having led and co-founded community wetlabs. In this context, she organizes interactive performances, art installations and open workshops, in order to engage the public in direct interaction with living materials (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi). Mirela received her PhD from the Technical University of Denmark in 2014, and until 2018, she was a postdoc in Patrick Baudish's lab at Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany. Since 2019, she leads the Living Matter Lab at CU Boulder.

    Watch on Vimeo

    www.personallab.org

    www.instagram.com/livingmatterlab

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Hybridity as a Desirable: Arts, Sciences and Technology ? STEM to STEAM? Polymathy ? Transdisciplinary?".
  • Speaker:  Dr. Roger F. Malina

    Monday, April 19th, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom

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    There is much international discussion and interest in how to combine the arts, sciences and new technologies to address certain research agendas. An exemplar is the European Union STARTS program which funds across the three disciplines. Perhaps we need to rethink along the lines of Dr. Sarabeth Berk's "More than my Title". She calls herself "Creative Disruptor" because she blends her expertise as an artist/researcher/educator/designer.

    Roger Malina has a PhD in Astrophysics and a PhD in Art, and has extensive experience in academic publishing and teaches cross disciplinary courses.

    He will discuss, through the use of 'exemplars' , emerging international trends in areas from AI research, astrophysics, bioart to business. He will try to focus on the heterogeneous perspectives of todays graduate students and will solicit interventions from members of the seminar.

    Bio

    Roger Malina is a physicist, astronomer and Executive Editor of the Leonardo publications at MIT Press. With dual appointments as Professor of Arts and Technology and Professor of Physics at UT Dallas, his work focuses on connections among the natural sciences and arts, design and humanities.

    Malina is the former Director of the Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence (OAMP) in Marseille and was a member of its observational cosmology group which collaborated on investigations regarding the nature of dark matter and dark energy. He has been a member of the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Study (Institut Méditerranéen de Recherches Avancées, IMERA), that contributes to trans-disciplinarity between the sciences and the arts and places emphasis on the human dimensions of the sciences.

    With a specialty in space instrumentation, Malina was the principal investigator for the NASA Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer Satellite at the University of California, Berkeley. He also founded the Leonardo organizations in San Francisco and Paris, whose missions are to promote work that explores the intersection of the arts, sciences, and new technologies.

    Malina received an Honorary Doctorate from the Polytechnic University of Valencia Spain, holds a BS in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in Astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley.

    Watch on Vimeo

    diatrope.com/malina

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • "CHON: From Physics Simulation to Musical Gesture", a Masters presentation by Rodney DuPlessis.
  • Tuesday, April 13th, 2021
    3:30pm PDT via Zoom

    Abstract

    Physical metaphor provides a visceral and universal logical framework for composing musical gestures. Physical simulations can aid the composer to create musical gestures based in complex physical metaphors. CHON (Coupled Harmonic Oscillator Network) is a cross-platform application for simulating mass-spring networks and sonifying the motion of individual particles. CHON is an interactive instrument that can provide complex, yet tangible and physically based, control data for synthesis, sound processing, and musical score generation. This system builds on the idea of the traditional LFO by coupling the movement of multiple control signals using physical principles.

    CHON by Rodney Duplessis

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Of (Deep)Time Machines and Spectral Landscapes - Tales of the Rare Earth".
  • Speaker:  Erich Berger

    Monday, April 12th, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom.

    Image

    Deep time is understood as the concept behind geological time: the history of the earth from its beginnings as a molten ball of matter until the present. Deep futures do not yet exist, they are a thought vehicle to speculate within the probability space of a future earth. The realization that anthropogenic impact is leading to transformations of the earth system which follow through into deep futures is not only discussed within the sciences. The Anthropocene and with it a strong interest directed towards deep time and matters of geology surface increasingly within artistic practices. At its core artists look at the origins and consequences of human impact and speculate about deep futures. Berger’s own interest, manifested in his artistic work, is to investigate the dichotomy between human time perception and the time in biological, environmental, and geological processes which we as humans are part of. This dichotomy arises from the present as we as individuals are challenged to change our way of life and to contribute to endeavours and measures to secure a future for humans beyond our lifetime.

    Bio

    Erich Berger is an artist, curator and cultural worker based in Helsinki Finland. His focus is on the intersection of art, science and technology with a critical take on how they transform society and the world at large. Throughout his practice he has explored the materiality of information, and information and technology as artistic material.

    Berger's current interest in issues of deep time and hybrid ecology led him to work with geological processes, radiogenic phenomena and their socio-political implications in the here and now. He moves between visual arts and science in an area which he also investigates and develops as director of the Bioart Society in Helsinki which was awarded the Finnish State Prize for multidisciplinary art in 2017. His installations, performances and interfaces are exhibited widely and Berger received awards from renowned institutions such as Prix Ars Electronica (AT), ZKM (DE), Vida Telefonica (ES), Files Prix (BR) and Arts at CERN (CH).

    Watch on Vimeo

    randomseed.org

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Atypical Mechatronics".
  • Speaker:  Dmitry Morozov

    Monday, April 5th, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom.

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    Dmitry Morozov aka ::vtol:: in his lecture "Atypical mechatronics" will talk about the work of a media artist at the intersection of new technologies and contemporary art. Taking into account the specifics of the genre, media artists comprehend modern technologies from an artistic point of view, studying various fields and directions, such as sound art, robotics, interactive objects that serve as inspiration and become the basis for their works.

    Dmitry defines the art objects created by him as autonomous systems with interactive elements. Many of the objects involve a sequential elaboration of concepts in order to create the "myths" behind each work. Explores the themes of chaos and self-organization of systems, analyzing social, biological, physical phenomena. In his works, he constantly refers to the concepts of "Deep Media" and "Media Archeology".

    Bio

    Dmitry Morozov aka ::vtol:: (b.1986, Moscow) is a transdisciplinary artist and researcher. He focuses on contemporary media arts including sound, robotics and installation, placing special emphasis on the link between emergent systems and new kinds of technological synthesis.

    His works have been exhibited at museums and galleries worldwide, including the NCCA, MMOMA, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Tretyakov State Gallery, Electromuseum, Laboratoria Art&Science Space (Moscow), Laznia Center for Contemporary Arts (Gdansk), ZKM Zentrum (Karlsruhe), Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (Boulder), National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taichung), Kapelica gallery (Ljubljana), ArtScience Museum (Singapore) etc., in 4th MBCA (Moscow), SIGGRAPH 2016 (Anaheim) and in festivals such as Mirage (Lyon), Ars Electronica (Linz), Future Everything (Manchester) and CTM (Berlin).

    He is the award winner of the Sergei Kuryokhin Prize (Russia, 2013 and 2020), Prix Cube (France, 2014) and also received honorary mentions at VIDA 16.0 (Spain, 2014) and Prix Ars Electronica (Austria, 2015, 2017).

    Watch on Vimeo

    vtol.cc

    www.facebook.com/vtol2112

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • "Morphologies of Sonically Actuated Spatial Agents", a PhD dissertation defense by Şölen Kiratli.
  • Thursday, March 11th, 2021
    1pm PST via Zoom

    Abstract

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    This dissertation explores the ways in which media artworks depict agency and convey life-like qualities. This exploration is centered around the design and implementation of two interactive media artworks, HIVE (2016-2018) and Cacophonic Choir (2019-current), and makes use of a novel conceptual framework grounded in an approach to media arts practice that uses the notion of agency as a lens for examining and creating artworks. Starting with an inquiry into novel agent-based art practices that neither feature robotic nor virtual agents, the dissertation reevaluates the notion of agency in artistic contexts in light of the relatively recent establishment of sonic interaction design as a field in its own right and the renewed emphasis on materiality as the result of rapidly evolving digital design and fabrication technologies. To this end, I introduce Sonically Actuated Morphological Agent practice as an area of artistic practice that fuses digitally designed and fabricated artifacts, sonic expressions, and interactive behaviors in order to create ‘perceived’ life-like systems. In summary, this dissertation aims to expand upon the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of interactive media arts via the products of my artistic practice, as well as theoretical discussions, design methods, principles, and strategies, all of which are distilled from this practice.

    www.solenk.net

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Entangled Networks".
  • Speaker:  Saša Spačal

    Monday, March 8th, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom.

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    Complexity of the biotechnological environment we are part of is difficult to comprehend. Understanding art as an endless exercise in perception can help us not only to understand but also to feel, experience and collaborate in the entangled networks that sustain us.

    The artistic practice of Sasa Spacal researches how signals such as the sound of symbiosis, the vibrations of mushrooms, the smell of antibiotics and microbiologically enriched air help us to map out our position in networks and to become aware of the multiplicity of feedback loops through which interspecies communication is enacted. Once we step down from the anthropocentric throne, non-human actors such as bacteria, fungi, and plants can teach us about diverse ways of connecting, not as our opposite, but as part of us and as collaborators in biogeochemical processes. Dualisms such as natural and artificial, virtual and material, technological and ecological intertwine into opaque biotechnological multiplicities of planetary dimensions, which humanity is trying to understand by developing models that are more or less useful. Perhaps in times of anthropogenic crisis, it would be wise to ask how empathic practices of caring collaboration can be developed through the models, theories, cartographies and stories we create.

    Bio

    Saša Spačal is a postmedia artist working at the intersection of living systems research, contemporary and sound art. Her artistic research focuses on entanglements of environment-culture continuum and planetary metabolism. By developing technological interfaces and relations with organic and mineral soil agents, she tries to address the posthuman condition that involves mechanical, digital and organic logic within biopolitics and necropolitics of our times.

    Her work was exhibited and performed at venues and festivals, such as Ars Electronica Festival (AT), Prix Cube Exhibition (FR), Transmediale Festival (DE), Athens Digital Arts Festival (GR), Perm Museum of Contemporary Art (RUS), Onassis Cultural Center Athens (GR), Chronos Art Center (CHN), Cynetart Festival (DE), National Art Museum of China (CHN), Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (SI), Kapelica Gallery (SI), Device_art (CRO), Art Laboratory Berlin (DE), Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana (SI), Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina (SRB), Mediamatic (NL) and Lisboa Soa Festival (PT). For her work she received Prix Ars Electronica honorary mention, Japan Media Art Award jury selection, Prix Cube nomination, New Technology Art Award nomination and was longlisted for New Aesthetica Prize.

    Watch on Vimeo

    www.agapea.si/en

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Forbidden Grounds - Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and to Love the Noise".
  • Speaker:  Ralf Baecker

    Monday, March 1st, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom.

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    Bio

    Ralf Baecker (*1977 Düsseldorf, Germany) is an artist working at the interface of art, science, and technology. Through installations and machines, Baecker explores the fundamental mechanisms of new media and technology. In his representations and spatializations of digital and technological processes, he offers a poetic sight behind the surfaces of contemporary image-making. At the core of his objects lies the entanglement of the virtual with the real, or rather, with the world. With a media-archaeological outlook, Ralf Baecker digs within obsolete devices for traces of functions and (power) structures that are still detectable in technologies today. His work seeks to form a hybrid between contemporary digital methodologies and a material-oriented artistic practice. As a result, he understands technology not as a tool but rather as an epistemological instrument to pose fundamental questions about a world perceived through technological impressions.

    Baecker has been awarded multiple prizes and grants for his artistic work, including the grand prize of the Japan Media Art Festival in 2017, an honorary mention at the Prix Ars Electronica in 2012 and 2014, the second prize at the VIDA 14.0 Art & Artificial Life Award in Madrid, a working grant of the Stiftung Kunstfond Bonn, the Stiftung Niedersachsen work stipend for Media Art 2010 and the stipend of the Graduate School for the Arts from the University of the Arts in Berlin and the Einstein Foundation.

    His work has been presented in international festivals and exhibitions, such as the International Triennial of New Media Art 2014 in Beijing, Künstlerhaus Wien, ZKM | Center for Art and New Media in Karlsruhe, Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, WINZAVOD Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow, Laboral Centro de Arte in Gijón, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), NTT InterCommunication Center in Tokyo, Kasseler Kunstverein and Malmö Konsthall.

    Since 2016 he teaches at the University of the Arts Bremen as Professor for Experimental Design of New Technologies in the Digital Media program.

    Watch on Vimeo

    rlfbckr.io

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • "Embodied Worldmaking", a PhD dissertation defense by Timothy Wood.
  • Thursday, February 25th, 2021
    1pm PST via Zoom

    Abstract

    Embodied worldmaking explores the transdisciplinary creative intersection of embodied movement practice, known in the field of somatics, with virtual worldmaking performance and media arts practice. This research integrates diverse methods into a framework for creating immersive media performative artworks inspired from the body and the natural world that aim to create spaces of refuge for re-connecting to the whole body and sharing embodied stories of interconnectivity with land. This framework takes the form of the embodied worldmaking process, a set of integration methods prioritizing the body in relationship with creative expression, media arts practice, and interactive technology. Specific methods are shared for connecting embodied movement practice, embodied interaction design, performative virtual worldmaking practice, and creative coding system design.

    This practice-based arts research is conducted through the iterated processes of creating poetic virtual worlds and instruments inspired by living ecologies, designing interaction mappings between whole-body sensing systems and virtual ecosystems, and exploring improvisational performance and embodiment practices within these systems. This performance research practice provides the grounding motivation for designing the creative coding system, seer, and the four integrative media artworks of this dissertation.

    The audiovisual creative coding system, seer, was created to empower the process of embodied worldmaking. Autobiographical design methods were used to grow the expressivity of the system to support the media artworks of this dissertation. The system enables expressive and rapid production of instruments and virtual ecologies intended for use in immersive installations and improvisational performance environments. Seer provides useful tools for designing audiovisual worlds for performance, as well as new methods for the iterative design of full-body interaction mappings and composition.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Creating Impact for Global Futures: The Leonardo Full Cycle Creative Engine".
  • Speaker:  Danielle Siembieda

    Monday, February 22nd, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom.

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    Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST) is an enterprise think tank that leverages hybrid, creative inquiry, and practice to build a better world. This lecture will focus on its full-cycle creative engine centered around impact through creative community and experimental publishing. Provoking questions such as how do we create a method/interface to contextually understand communities' needs/interests (human and non-human) that is platform agnostic?

    Bio

    Danielle Siembieda is a bold strategist on transdisciplinary programs, STEAM, and creative technology, With Leonardo/ISAST she develops collaborative explorations through partnership-driven creative programs and initiatives. She leads Leonardo's creative vision including the Leonardo Residency Platform, brand and communications and special projects. In her global partnership portfolio, she leads Leonardo's fast-growing LASER Network of cultural community leaders in over 45 cities world-wide bridging the language, culture, and discipline divide. She also fosters global scientific and artistic literacy through promotional leadership of Leonardo Music Journal and Leonardo journal, which has become the leading peer-reviewed publication of 50 years in art, science, and technology research.

    Siembieda brings over 15 years of leadership experience in community development and strategic communications. She has served on the board of the Women Eco Art Dialogue, an organization founded on the mission to share art at the edge of social justice and the environment. She has been a leader and fellow at Emerging Arts Professionals where she received a MADE grant and was nominated for the Ebony McKinney Leadership award. She was the Community Engagement Manager for ZERO1: The Art & Technology Network where she designed and developed communities around art and technology through the App Lab and Art Ambassador Program; the Co-Project Manager of the San Jose Climate Clock Initiative, an ideas competition for green public art with the City of San Jose, San Jose State University, Montalvo Arts Center and ZERO1; the Managing Editor of SWITCH, the online Journal of New Media (no longer in publication); and a member of the San Jose Public Art Advisory Committee.

    As an Alter Eco-Artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area Siembieda works at the intersection of community, emerging technologies, and the environment. She is also an artist in residence at the University of Santa Cruz Genomics Institute home of the Genome Browser through UCSC's Arts Research Open Lab. Siembieda has an MFA in Digital Media Art at San Jose State University at the CADRE Laboratory for New Media with a focus on green technology and sustainable materials. As the founder of Art Inspector: Saving the Earth by Changing Art, Siembieda has turned this social practice project into a business, acquiring funding from Silicon Valley Energy Watch and working with the City of San Francisco Department of Environment to help artists work healthier and safer. She defines her art at “Alter-Eco Art” bridging Eco-Art practice and New Media at the intersection of environment, technology, and community. Her work has been presented globally including the 01SJ Biennial in the heart of Silicon Valley, the National Gallery in Copenhagen and the Education Center of the National Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

    Watch on Vimeo

    www.siembieda.com

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Designing with Machines".
  • Speaker:  Maria Yablonina

    Monday, February 8th, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom.

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    Today the discourse of digital fabrication in the context of architectural research is dominated by the image of an industrial robot arm performing complex movements to produce complex geometry. But what happens when we move beyond appropriation of available hardware towards architecture-specific machines and devices?

    Envisioning an entire ecology of machine species designed specifically to manipulate material at an architectural scale opens up a conversation about the role of robotic creatures in architecture beyond construction. A smaller fabrication machine capable of navigating an existing architectural space and safely operating next to a human implies that a fabrication process can be executed on site, and more importantly does not have to be finite, venturing into the topics of adaptive and reconfigurable spaces.

    Bio

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    Maria Yablonina is an architect, researcher, and artist working in the field of computational design and digital fabrication. Her work lies at the intersection of architecture and robotics, producing spaces and robotic systems that can construct themselves and change in real-time. Such architectural productions include the development of hardware and software solutions, as well as complementing architectural and material systems in order to offer new design spaces.

    Maria’s practice focuses on designing machines that make architecture — a practice that she broadly describes as Designing [with] Machines (D[w]M). D[w]M aims to investigate and establish design methodologies that consider robotic hardware development as part of the overall design process and its output. Through this work, Maria argues for a design practice that moves beyond the design of objects towards the design of technologies and processes that enable new ways of both creating and interacting with architectural spaces.

    Maria has been commissioned and exhibited by institutions including Milan Design Week, Ars Electronica (Linz), Kapelica Gallery (Ljubljana), the Cooper Union, and the Moscow Institute of Architecture. She has also collaborated internationally on research with both universities and companies, including Autodesk Pier 9 (San Francisco), ETH Zurich, WeWork (New York), and the Bartlett School of Architecture (London).

    Watch on Vimeo

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "From Small Data to Big Data: an artistic journey through the digital transformation of the archive".
  • Speaker:  Daniel Canogar

    Monday, February 1st, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom.

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    Memory, and its loss, are a central theme in my artwork. Unless we remember, we are condemned to an amnesiac present, texture-less and flat, lacking the perspective of time.

    My Small Data series tackles such issues in different ways. I have scoured junkyards, recycling centers and flea markets, looking for examples of aging technologies that defined our existence in the not-so-distant past. What we throw away holds an accurate portrait of who we were. VHS tapes, 35 mm film, hard discs, CDs, to name just a few obsolete mediums that I have used in my art, are all depositories of our memories. When tossing them out, we are also discarding an important part of ourselves. By projecting video animations onto old media, I attempt to reignite life back into them so as to reveal the shared memory they hold within. More recent projects have ventured into big data, and the implications of ever- expanding and constantly mutating digital archives. My algorithmic data murals are large-scale abstract projections that react in real time to different data sets, including financial transactions, online sales, trending internet search queries and breaking news events. These data murals attempt to capture the ceaseless flow of information, seeking out internal rhythms and repeating patterns that result in hypnotic compositions. In the last 15 years, cloud-based archives have profoundly altered how we create, consume and distribute knowledge. They have also left in their wake the ruins of material-based technologies previously used to store information. My artwork is an attempt to understand how our identities, our memories and our sense of self are being profoundly affected by these rapid technological changes.

    Bio

    Born in Madrid (1964) to a Spanish father and an American mother, Daniel Canogar´s life and career have bridged between Spain and the U.S. Photography was his earliest medium of choice, receiving a M.A. from NYU at the International Center of photography in 1990, but he soon became interested in the possibilities of the projected image and media art. He has created permanent public art installations with LED screens, including Aqueous at The Sobrato Organization (Mountain View, CA, 2019); Pulse, at Zachry Engineering Education Complex in Texas A&M University (College Station, TX, 2018), Tendril for Tampa International Airport (Tampa, FL, 2017) and Cannula, Xylem and Gust II at BBVA Bank Headquarters (Madrid, 2018). He has also created public monumental artworks in different mediums such as Amalgama El Prado, a generative video-projection projected on the Museo Nacional del Prado façade and created with the Museum’s painting collection (Madrid, 2019); Constellations, the largest photo-mosaic in Europe created for two pedestrian bridges over the Manzanares River, in MRío Park (Madrid, 2010) and Asalto, a series of video-projections presented on various emblematic monuments, including the Arcos de Lapa (Rio de Janeiro, 2009), the Puerta de Alcalá (Madrid, 2009) and the church of San Pietro in Montorio (Rome, 2009). Also part of the series is Storming Times Square, screened on 47 of the LED billboards in Times Square (New York, NY, 2014). His solo shows include "Billow" at bitforms gallery (New York, NY, 2020); "Liquid Memories" at sala Kubo-Kutxa (San Sebastian, 2019); Surge a temporary installation for the Grand Lobby Wall at Moss Arts Center, Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA, 2019); "Echo" at Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum (Lafayette, LA, 2019); "Melting the Solids" at Wilde Gallery (Geneva, 2018); “Fluctuations” at Sala Alcalá 31 (Madrid, 2017); "Echo" at bitforms gallery (New York, NY, 2017) and Max Estrella Gallery (Madrid, 2017); "Sikka Ingentium" at Museum Universidad de Navarra (Pamplona, Spain, 2017); “Quadratura” at Espacio Fundación Telefónica (Lima, 2014); "Vórtices" at the Fundación Canal Isabel II (Madrid, 2011); Synaptic Passage, an installation commissioned for the exhibition "Brain: The Inside Story" at the American Museum of Natural History (New York, NY, 2010) and two installations at the Sundance Film Festival (Park City, UT, 2011).

    Watch on Vimeo

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "No Future is Cancelled".
  • Speaker:  Oliver Ressler

    Monday, January 25th, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom

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    Oliver Ressler is an artist and filmmaker whose work has focused on global warming as a central theme ever since he first began to exhibit. One of his first solo exhibitions was “100 Years of Greenhouse Effect” at Salzburger Kunstverein (1996). Several exhibitions, films, installations, billboards and photographic works on the theme have followed since then.

    Oliver Ressler will talk about these works, putting a cycle of films – "Everything's coming together while everything's falling apart" (2016 – 2020) – at the center of the presentation. These films follow the climate justice movement in its struggles to dismantle an economic system heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

    In the first film activists contest the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015, that proved the incapacity of governments to commit themselves to any binding agreement that would curtail global warming. The film on the Ende Gelände action in 2016 shifts the focus to a massive civil disobedience action at the Lusatia lignite coal fields (near Berlin), where 4,000 activists entered an open-cast mine. The film on the ZAD focuses on Europe’s largest autonomous territory that emerged from the struggle against the new airport of Nantes in France. The film about Code Rood highlights a civil disobedience action in the port of Amsterdam in June 2017, Europe’s second-largest coal port. The film on Limity jsme my leads us into the blockade of Bílina coal mine in Czech Republic and the detainment of the activists. The sixth film celebrates the Venice Climate Camp; 200 activists forced their way into the Venice Film Festival enclosure, where they occupied the red carpet for nine hours.

    Three of the films:

    Everything's coming together while everything's falling apart: Code Rood:  https://youtu.be/skz3qVMEtHY.

    Everything's coming together while everything's falling apart: The ZAD:  https://youtu.be/Quehf2OMUbo.

    Everything's coming together while everything's falling apart: COP21:  https://youtu.be/_HWOXeP5pA8.

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    Bio

    Oliver Ressler lives and works in Vienna/Austria. He produces installations, projects in public space, and films on issues such as economics, democracy, migration, the climate catastrophe, forms of resistance and social alternatives. He has had comprehensive solo exhibitions at Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo – CAAC, Seville; Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk; Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz; MNAC – National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest and SALT Galata, Istanbul. Ressler has participated in more than 400 group exhibitions, including Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven; MASSMoCA, North Adams, USA; the biennials in Prague (2005), Seville (2006), Moscow (2007), Taipei (2008), Lyon (2009), Venice (2013), Quebec (2014), Jeju (2017), Kyiv (2017), Gothenburg (2019), Stavanger (2019), and at Documenta 14, Kassel, 2017 (exhibition organized by EMST). Ressler currently works on “Barricading the Ice Sheets”, a research project on the climate justice movement, funded by the Austrian Science Fund. He was the first prize winner of the Prix Thun for Art and Ethics Award in 2016.

    Watch on Vimeo

    www.ressler.at

    www.instagram.com/oliver.ressler

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Methodology of scientist-artist collaborations in Russia: from technooptimism of 1960's to contemporary critical art".
  • Speaker:  Daria Parkhomenko

    Monday, January 18th, 2021 at 9:30am via Zoom

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    Abstract

    Since the early 1960's Russia has its own tradition of scientific-artistic synthesis: in the late Soviet Union technological aesthetics became a safe haven for artists working with abstractions and the heritage of avant-garde. The "Prometei" Center, founded by Bulat Galeev, actively worked in Kazan, kinetic artists (Viacheslav Koleichuk) created their pieces in Moscow and Leningrad, and numerous buildings inspired by bionics, space exploration and modern technologies appeared throughout all over the USSR. Now, in the era of a more self-critical art, artists might take a different view of technology. But the overall interest in science and collaborative work of people from different intellectual cultures is still strong. Russian science-art practitioners are not numerous but distinctive and internationally active. They include ::vtol::, Dmitrii Kawarga, Helena Nikonole from Moscow, "Where the Dogs Run" from Yekaterinburg and Egor Kraft from St. Petersburg.

    In 2008 the first independent nonprofit science-art research, exhibition and production centre has been created by the author of the talk. Laboratoria Art&Science Foundation specializes on building common ground between artists and scientific collectives where technological artworks are created through the interaction of diverse intellectual cultures on equal terms. Over more than a decade of practical experience, Laboratoria has developed a methodology for the interaction of four main participants: artists, scientists, engineers and curators in order to maintain a mutual flow of ideas. Three main methods of this methodology are Immersion, Transposition and Third-order Observation. These methods will be demonstrated on several recent examples of technological artworks produced by Laboratoria in collaboration with leading neuroscientists and deep learning researchers, resulted in the exhibition "Daemons in the Machine" (ММОМА, Moscow, 2018) devoted to re-thinking of AI technologies and its possible interplay with society and culture.

    Bio

    Daria Parkhomenko is the founding director and curator of LABORATORIA Art&Science Foundation, founded in 2008 as the first exhibition and research centre in Russia focused on the platforms of interdisciplinary interaction between contemporary art and science.

    Parkhomenko graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University in sociology and received her MA in art and cultural management at Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. She teaches Methodology and Practice of Science-Art at the Higher British School of Design (Moscow), and at the School of Contemporary Art MMOMA (Moscow), and at Saint Petersburg National Research University of Information, Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO, St. Petersburg). Collaborating with these and other institutions, she has organized numerous conferences, symposiums and talks on the topic of technological art and its prospects. She has also contributed as an author to a number of publications both in Russia and abroad and foreign editions, including: Open Codes, ZKM, 2019; The Art Magazine, Moscow, 2013; Digital art conservation, ZKM, Germany, 2012; Synergia, Arts Santa Monica, Barcellona, 2012; CyberArts 2011, Ars Electronica, 2011 ect.

    Parkhomenko’s scientific interests, as reflected in her curatorial projects, include quantum physics, AI, neuroscience, alternative energy, climate change, and space. She has curated more than 30 exhibitions, among them: "Daemons in the Machine" group exh. (ММОМА, Moscow, 2018), "Quantum Entanglement 2.0" group exh. (Arsenal, Nizhny Novgorod, 2016), "Quantum Entanglement" (with Tom Higham, FutureEverything) group exh. (LABORATORIA, Moscow, 2015), "Superconduction" group exh. (Riga, 2015), "Ice Laboratory", group exh. (LABORATORIA, Moscow, 2013), International symposium "Brainstorms. "The Artist in the Context of Neuroscience" (Polytechnic Museum, Moscow, 2012), "Neuroscientific experiment 1. Measuring the Magic of Mutual Gaze", Marina Abramovic (Garage, Moscow, 2011), "Infusion", group exh. (LABORATORIA, Moscow, 2011), "Tele-Present Wind", David Bowen (LABORATORIA, 2010).

    She served as a jury member at Ars Electronica Festival (Linz, Austria) in Hybrid art nomination (2011), a laureate of the Public Prize "Cariatida" (2014) and a member of the expert board of the All-Russian competition for the award in the field of contemporary visual art "Innovation" (2015, 2016).

    Watch on Vimeo

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "How to Understand That the Cosmos is Bigger Than Us".
  • Speaker:  Andy Gracie

    Monday, January 11th, 2021 at 1pm via Zoom

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    Abstract

    This talk will discuss Andy Gracie's work and the way it has explored various strategies for what the Universe means to us, the significance and fragility of our existence within it, and how it will all end. This trajectory will begin with a series of works that performed astrobiological experiments, pass through intangible cosmic artefacts, briefly visit the aftermath of existential threats, and end with the end of the universe. In and around these destinations will be discussions of the social contract of disaster art in the current global situation and how artists can explore strategies for engaging with scientific institutions. The talk should last around 40 minutes and will invite discussion.

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    Bio

    Andy Gracie works across various disciplines including installation, robotics, sound, video and biological practice. This work is situated at a point of separation between the arts and the sciences, creating situations of exchange which allow new understandings and knowledge systems to develop. Much of his work involves reactions to and engagements with the science of astrobiology and other forms of space research. He looks at space as a nonhuman and unfeeling environment, balancing wonder with awe and fear. His practice employs scientific theory and practice to question our relationships with exploration and experiment whilst simultaneously bringing into focus the very relationship between art and science, and how new knowledge is culturally assimilated. Much of the work also features an ongoing engagement with semiotics, simulation theory and apocalyptic scenarios.

    His work has been exhibited widely and internationally in both solo and group shows and has included several special commissions for new works. He presents regularly at conferences and seminars across the globe and has published a number of articles and papers. His work has also been featured in books by Stephen Wilson, Linda Weintraub, William Myers, Maria-Antonia Gonzalez and Dmitry Bulatov.

    His large scale installation 'Autoinducer_ph-1' has received honourable mentions from VIDA and Ars Electronica in 2007. The ongoing project 'Drosophila titanus' received an honorary mention from Ars Electronica in 2015.

    Alongside his artistic practice he has co-founded the open art/science initiative Hackteria, an international network of artists and practitioners with a strong educational presence. He has co-produced, hosted and curated numerous exhibitions, workshop programs and art/science crossover events internationally.

    Between 1999 and 2007 he worked at the University of Huddersfield as visiting lecturer, and later as course leader of the MA in Smart and Digital Design.

    He is currently involved in a long term collaboration/residency with the School of Planetary Sciences at the Open University of Milton Keynes in the United Kingdom and the Institute of Cosmic Sciences at the University of Barcelona.

    Watch on Vimeo

    For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:  seminar.mat.ucsb.edu.