Past Events


  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Using the Creative Process of Music Composition and Performance as a Computational Framework for Unfolding Complex Systems".
  • Speaker:  JoAnn Kuchera-Morin

    Time:   Monday, March 12th, 2018 at 1pm.
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601.


    The AlloSphere, a 30-foot diameter sphere built inside a 3-story near-to-anechoic cube was invented by composer and digital media pioneer Dr. JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, to facilitate research that intersects arts and science through the immersive, interactive representation and transformation of complex systems. Scientifically, the AlloSphere is an instrument for gaining insight and developing bodily intuition about environments into which the body cannot venture—abstract higher-dimensional information spaces, ideally suited for exploring big and complex data sets. Artistically, it is an instrument for the creation and performance of avant-garde new works and the development of new modes and genres of expression and forms of immersion-based entertainment. The AlloSphere is one of the largest immersive scientific instruments in the world containing unique features such as true 3D, 360-degree projection of visual and aural data, and sensing and camera tracking for interactivity. The instrument is built at its scale and size to facilitate scaling to any computational platform, including mobile devices.

    Dr. JoAnn Kuchera-Morin is a composer, Professor of Media Arts and Technology and Music, and a researcher in multi-modal media systems content and facilities design. Her years of experience in digital media research led to the creation of a multi-million dollar sponsored research program for the University of California—the Digital Media Innovation Program—where she was chief scientist from 1998-2003. Through her research as Chief Scientist of UC, Professor Kuchera-Morin built and developed the Digital Media Center and AlloSphere Instrument and the Graduate Program in Media Arts and Technology within the California NanoSystems Institute, a research and creative practice community based on the intersection of science, art, engineering and mathematics. The AlloSphere instrument and software infrastructure design is based on the process of music composition and performance. Professor Kuchera-Morin serves as the Director of the AlloSphere Research Facility and Professor of Media Arts and Technology and Music. She earned a Ph.D. in composition from the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester.

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

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Machines, Molecules and Networks".
  • Speaker:  Andrew Culp

    Time:   Monday, March 5th, 2018 at 1pm.
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601.


    In this talk, media theorist Andrew Culp compares three different types of diagrams: mechanical, chemical, and cybernetic. Beginning with the mechanical, he considers how the introduction of machines beginning with the steam engine embody what Siegfried Giedion calls in Mechanization Takes Command "the movement of movement". He also examines chemical models, especially the molecular bio-pharmacological approach to experimentation introduced by Paul Preciado’s study of testosterone and other hormones. Finally, he looks to network diagrams as what Alexander R Galloway has named "protocological" power, now found in everything from war manuals to business organization texts.

    The talk is ultimately about the power of diagrams. Rather than treating them as mere metaphor, he explores how each interdisciplinary form has been actualized across art, science, and politics.

    Andrew Culp (PhD Ohio State, 2013) teaches Media History and Theory in the MA Program in Aesthetics and Politics and the School of Critical Studies at CalArts. His published work on media, film, politics, and philosophy has appeared in Radical Philosophy, parallax, angelaki, and boundary 2 online. He also serves on the Governing Board of the Cultural Studies Association. His interest in media stems from the after-lives of technologies born out of the anti-globalization movement of the 1990s. In his first book, Dark Deleuze (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), he proposes a revolutionary new image of Gilles Deleuze’s thought suited to our 24/7 always-on media environment, and it has been translated into numerous languages including Spanish, Japanese, and German.

    Current work includes a monograph on technologies of anonymous resistance titled Persona Obscura (under contract with University of Minnesota Press), articles on the influence of the digital/networks on radical politics, and explorations of contemporary theories of pessimism.

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

  • First Thursdays at SBCAST will feature recent work by students in professor George Legradys' Data Visualization course. Thursday, March 1st, 6-9pm.
  • The works highlight novel methods for communicating information, and the possibility for creating insight through non-traditional data representation.

    First Thursdays at SBCAST features audio-visual performances and installations by the MAT community in downtown Santa Barbara, on the first Thursday of every month.

    SBCAST is located at 513 Garden Street in downtown Santa Barbara.

  • The Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) presents "Time Shift", a talk by performer/composer Thea Farhadian.
  • Time:   Thursday, March 1st, 2018, at 5pm.
    Location:  Studio Xenakis, Music Building room 2215.


    Thea Farhadian is a performer/composer based in San Francisco Bay Area and Berlin. Her projects include solo violin and interactive electronics, acoustic improvisation, solo laptop, radio art, and video. Her solo pieces for violin and electronics combine a classical music background with extended technique and digital processing using the program Max/MSP. In 2016 she released her solo CD, Tectonic Shifts, which integrates the violin with interactive electronics.

    Thea's work has been seen internationally at venues which include the Issue Project Room, and Alternative Museum New York City, Galerie Mario Mazzoli, Sowieso, and Quiet Cue in Berlin, the Room Series, the Center for New Music, and Meridian Gallery in San Francisco, the Center for Experimental Art and the Aram Kachaturyan Museum in Yerevan, Armenia, International Women's Electroacoustic Listening Room Project at Bimhaus in Amsterdam.

    Thea has held residencies at Steim in the Netherlands and at Bait Makan in Jordan, and at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California, and has done several university presentation's and participated in panel discussions at Columbia University in New York, and the City University of London. Thea is a former member of the Berkeley Symphony orchestra where she played under Kent Nagano for ten years. She has an MA in Interdisciplinary Arts from San Francisco State and an MFA in Electronic Music from Mills College, and studied Arabic classical music with Simon Shaheen.

    In 2009, she was a lecturer in the Art Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

    For more information, visit:

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Immersive Audio: Creating and Recreating a Natural Auditory Environment".
  • Speaker:  Agnieszka Roginska

    Time:   Monday, February 26th, 2018, at 1pm.
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601.


    Dr. Roginska will talk about the latest developments in immersive audio and emerging trends in the field of spatial audio. Her talk will touch on ongoing projects at NYU in the field of immersive sound including research in capturing, reproducing, and simulating immersive experiences for Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality.

    Dr. Agnieszka Roginska is Music Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Music Technology program at the Steinhardt School, at New York University. She received a Bachelor’s degree in music from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, with a double major in Piano Performance and Computer Applications in Music. After receiving an M.M. in Music Technology from New York University, she pursued doctoral studies at Northwestern University where she obtained a Ph.D. in 2004. At NYU, Dr. Roginska conducts research in the simulation and applications of immersive and 3D audio including the capture, analysis and synthesis of auditory environments, auditory displays and its applications in augmented acoustic sensing. She is the co-editor of the book titled "Immersive Sound: The Art and Science of Binaural and Multi-Channel Audio". She is an AES Fellow.

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

  • The Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) presents "Multidimensionality in Augmented Performance", a talk by visiting Fulbright researcher Henrique Portovedo. Friday, February 23rd 2018 at 6:15pm, Studio Xenakis, room 2215 Music Building.
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    The changing paradigm of performance practice is creating new virtuosity. This work documents performance multidimensionality, identifying processes of musical expression in the field of new music including acoustic and electronic means, including the exploration of computer-mediated interaction and the use of Augmented Instruments. New mediums are currently seen as extensions of instrumental practice and available for creative purposes during the compositional and performative processes.

    International D’Addario Woodwinds and Selmer Paris artist, Silverstein Pro Artist, Henrique Portovedo has found his place in contemporary music by working with composers such as R. Barrett, P. Ferreira Lopes, P. Ablinger, P. Niblock, M. Edwards, among others. Portovedo has more than 40 works for saxophone dedicated to him. He was soloist with several orchestras and ensembles including L’Orchestre d’Harmonie de la Garde Republican, Trinity College of Music Wind Orchestra, Orquestra de Sopros da Universidade de Aveiro, Sond'Art Electric Ensemble etc. Co-founder of QuadQuartet and Artistic Director of Aveiro SaxFest, he recorded for several labels including Naxos and Universal. He was artist in residency at ZKM, Karlsruhe, visiting researcher at Edinburgh University and is now visiting researcher at UC Santa Barbara supported by Fulbright Foundation. Henrique is member of the European Saxophone Comité, Tenor Sax Collective, President of the Portuguese Saxophone Association and was the artistic director of the European Saxophone Congress 2017. Henrique gave concerts and masterclasses at prestigious festivals and conservatoires as Real Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Madrid, Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles, Mallorca SaxFest and Conservatori Superior de Música de les Illes Balears, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, Hochschule fur Musik Karlsruhe and more.

  • A conversation with Cameron Carpenter, creator of the International Touring Organ. Tuesday, February 13th from 2-3pm, room 1605 Elings Hall.
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    Join organ phenomenon Cameron Carpenter for a moderated conversation and Q&A session. The event is sponsored by UCSB Arts and Lectures and Media Arts and Technology.

    A live concert performance will be held on Monday, February 12 at 7pm at the Granada Theater, in downtown Santa Barbara.

    For more information, visit:

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "GLO: The Global Loop Orchestra and Network Music Performance".
  • Speaker:  Ken Fields

    Time:   Monday, February 12th, 2018, at 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601

    The Global Loop Orchestra is an experiment in networked musical ritual. We focus on a simple method for approaching a network music performance in order to achieve a larger scale event with more actors involved. We use the software Artsmesh to connect multiple cities and Ableton live to play several sound loops at each node. We test the network ping delay between each of the various participating locations in order to extract the inherent ratios of beats per minute (BPM) on each edge of our mesh - a many to many structure of connectivity. We aim for a chronometrically interlocked musical topology that is inspired by the ancient Greek analog computer, the Antikythera Mechanism, which 2000 years ago modeled the complex mechanics of the solar system. Each performance is an iteration of the same process, but using different loops, with the hope that each performance will achieve a refinement toward our goal of a planetary scale, sonically synchronous loop machine. Syneme has been playing network music for over a decade. The Global Loop Orchestra is part of a project initiated by Syneme (Network Music Lab at the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing) and the CERNET2 (China Educational Research Network). The image above is a schematic of the gears inside the Antikythera Mechanism and reflects the same type of interlocked annular and phasic relationships we wish to constitute with each instance of the orchestra; the teeth per rotation (TPR) of the mechanic gears above are replaced by the beats per minute (BPM) of our sound files.

    Kenneth Fields is currently a Professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China. Previously, Ken held the position of Canada Research Chair in Telemedia Arts, investigating all aspects of live musical performance over high-speed networks. Ken has been developing Artsmesh since 2008, digital presence workstation (DPW) for network music performance. Ken received his Ph.D. in Media Arts from UCSB in 2000. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Organised Sound.

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

  • A three day conference titled "New Perspectives: Innovations by Women Intersecting Science, Media and Sonic Arts", will take place at UCSB from February 8-10. The event is hosted by the Alliance of Women in Media Arts and Technology (AWMAT).
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    The conference celebrates the achievements of today's generation of women media artists using technology in their work, and will include a mixture of paper and poster presentations, demos/workshops, installations and concerts.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Monte Carlo (MC) Path-Tracing".
  • Speaker:  Pradeep Sen

    Time:   Monday, February 5th, 2018, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601


    Monte Carlo (MC) path-tracing is now the most common rendering algorithm used in industries ranging from architectural visualization to feature film production. MC rendering systems produce photorealistic images by simulating the physical flow of light through paths in the scene. However, if too few light paths are computed, the images are filled with objectionable noise, which made MC rendering unfeasible for over two decades. Today, MC denoising algorithms are the most popular tool for removing this noise, and they have been used in films such as Disney’s “Big Hero 6” and featured in products such Pixar’s Renderman and NVIDIA's Iray. However, it was only a few years ago that these post-process, screen-space denoising approaches were considered unsuitable for tackling even small amounts of MC noise, because it was thought they would either leave noise artifacts or overblur scene detail.

    In this talk, we will present a first-hand account of the MC denoising revolution that has unfolded over the past decade and the key innovations that made it possible. We begin in the summer of 2008, when we observed the industrial “best-practices” for dealing with MC noise at Sony Pictures Imageworks, one of the first studios to adopt a path-tracer as the primary renderer. The limitations of the available approaches used in production motivated us to start exploring the possibility of robust MC denoising algorithms.

    The first key idea we developed that we could output several features computed at render time (sample positions, surface normals, texture values) to make the denoiser more robust and effectively turn the rendering system into a black box. Since these features often contained MC noise, we realized we had to carefully adjust the manner in which these features were used from pixel to pixel in order to remove the noise but preserve the scene detail. The resulting system was the first to demonstrate that high-quality, post-process general MC denoising was indeed possible.

    In subsequent work, we observed that the problem could be modeled as a supervised learning problem that would train a system to reproduce a denoised output from noisy inputs. Since training a full denoiser given a limited number of scenes was difficult, we trained an end-to-end system that would output the parameters of a filter that would produce a result comparable to the ground truth. Later, we extended this idea to work compute the final color directly, allowing the denoiser to work robustly in production environments. Our new system, developed in collaboration with Disney and Pixar, was trained using millions of examples from the Pixar film “Finding Dory” and then applied as a proof-of-concept to denoise the renderings for the upcoming Pixar films Cars 3 and Coco, even though they had completely different artistic styles and color palettes. Although MC denoising has been credited as being one of two key “enabling technologies” that brought path-tracing to feature film production, the journey is far from over. We conclude the talk by discussing future directions for MC denoising, and describe how it fits among the pantheon of tools available for variance reduction.

    Pradeep Sen is an Associate Professor in the UCSB MIRAGE Lab in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He attended Purdue University from 1992 - 1996, where he graduated with a B.S. in Computer and Electrical Engineering. He then attended Stanford University where he received his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1998 in the area of electron-beam lithography. In 2000, he joined the Stanford Graphics Lab where he did research on real-time rendering and computational photography. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in June 2006, advised by Dr. Pat Hanrahan. His research interests include algorithms for image synthesis, computational image processing, and computational photography, and he is a co-author of over 30 technical publications, including ten SIGGRAPH/SIGGRAPH Asia/ToG publications. Dr. Sen has been awarded more than $2.2 million in research funding, including an NSF CAREER award in 2009.

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

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Deviant Resonances - Improvising Evolution".
  • Speaker:  David Rosenboom

    Time:   Monday, January 29, 2018, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601


    This talk will draw from selected examples of my work over several decades that explore how propositional models for musical worlds have energized my composer-performer practice, which often collapses distinctions among formal percepts and embraces a dynamic dimensionality in musical structures that may be fundamentally emergent and/or co-creative. Selected examples that emphasize interaction strategies in music—including some inspired by socio-cultural-neuro-political emergence—are explored along with their implications for designs and definitions of instruments.

    David Rosenboom (b. 1947) is a composer, performer, interdisciplinary artist, author and educator known as a pioneer in American experimental music. During his long career, he has explored ideas about the spontaneous evolution of musical forms, languages for improvisation, new techniques in scoring for ensembles, multi-disciplinary composition and performance, cross-cultural collaborations, performance art and literature, interactive multi-media and new instrument technologies, generative algorithmic systems, art-science research and philosophy, and extended musical interface with the human nervous system. He holds the Richard Seaver Distinguished Chair in Music at California Institute of the Arts, where he has been Dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music since 1990 and serves as a board member of the Center for New Performance. Recent highlights have included a fifty-year retrospective of his music presented in a series of performances at the new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2015), a six-month exhibition of his work with brainwave music at Centre Pompidou-Metz in France (2015-2016), a four-month exhibition of his work in computer music at Whitechapel Gallery in London (2015-2016), a retrospective of his music for piano(s) at Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall (2016), the premiere of his Nothingness is Unstable, a work for electronics, acoustic sources and 3-dimentional sound diffusion at ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn (2017), and numerous publications, recordings, festival performances and keynote speeches at international conferences. Following his retrospective at the Whitney Museum, he was lauded in The New York Times as “an avatar of experimental music.” Rosenboom is a Yamaha Artist.

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

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "From Sub-arctic to Rainforest and the Caribbean: Fieldwork and Exhibition Design".
  • Speaker:  Andres Burbano

    Time:   Monday, January 22, 2018, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601


    In this presentation, we will discuss the potentialities that fieldwork offers to many aspects of the media arts creative research practice. Fieldwork opens exciting and challenging experiences from designing gathering data processes to the implementation of collaboration strategies. The interaction with professionals with expertise in the field such as anthropologists, archaeologists, and biologists has the potential to illuminate and transform our practice because it contributes to the re-elaboration of the limits of what happens inside the laboratory. Examples of practical projects in collaboration with professors George Legrady, Angus Forbes, Jonathan Pagliaro and Gabriel Zea will be presented. On the other hand, considering transmission e information display as a crucial component of sharing knowledge and artistic experiences, some projects on exhibition design will be presented, from the James Bay Cultural Atlas to the Macondo Pavillion, from Visualization History Expo to the preparations of the Siggraph 2018 Art Gallery in Vancouver.

    Andres Burbano is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Design at Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. Burbano holds a Ph.D. in Media Arts and Technology from the University of California Santa Barbara where he wrote a dissertation about media technology history in Latin America. He was ISEA2017 Academic Chair and will be Siggraph 2018 Art Gallery Chair. Burbano was a keynote at Potential Spaces at ZKM 2017 and is visiting lecturer at the Krems University in Austria. "Burbano, originally from Colombia, explores the interactions of science, art and technology in various capacities: as a researcher, as an individual artist and in collaborations with other artists and designers. Burbano's work ranges from documentary video (in both science and art), sound and telecommunication art to the exploration of algorithmic cinematic narratives. The broad spectrum of his work illustrates the importance - indeed, the prevalence - of interdisciplinary collaborative work in the field of digital art."

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


  • "Tamuyal: Increasing STEM Interest through Gaming", a Masters presentation by Nataly Moreno.
  • Date:  Thursday, December 7th
    Time:  12pm
    Location:  Elings Hall room 1601


    Tamuyal is a mobile, location-based game that provides K-12 students an introduction to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The word Tamuyal is Yucatec Mayan for “in the cloud”, appealing to both indigenous Mayan cosmology and modern cloud computing. Since females and minorities continue to be largely underrepresented in STEM fields, there has been research addressing this problem from various angles. However, no one has created a game that aims to educate and motivate students to pursue higher education in STEM. Tamuyal accomplishes this task by combining modern day technology, culturally relevant art, and a recommender system to create an educational gamified experience tailored to individual tastes to make visits more engaging. Through the use of Mesoamerican artwork and cultural representations, we generate an experience intended to increase interest and familiarity in STEM education and careers, particularly for students who are largely underrepresented in these fields.

  • "Matdan: Informing the Electorate", a Masters presentation by Ambika Yadav.
  • Date:  Wednesday, December 6th
    Time:  9am
    Location:  MAT Conference room, 2003 Elings Hall


    The Republic of India is regarded as the largest democracy in the world, due to the sheer number of it’s inhabitants. At the same time according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s democracy index, as of 2016, India ranks 32nd and is categorized as a flawed democracy. Matdan is an interdisciplinary project integrating information visualization methodologies with social sciences to build a data visualization platform to educate the electorate in India. It aims to act as a catalyst in India’s transformation from a flawed democracy to a full democracy.

    The project is at present developed for the 2017 Legislative Elections for the state of Gujarat in collaboration with TCPD (Trivedi Center of Political Data), Ashoka University. The deliverable is an interactive data visualization built utilizing the javascript D3 library. The application has three visualization segments each derived from a different dataset. The first segment visualizes the historical Indian election dataset of TCPD. It is a time-series dataset of parameters attached with every constituency in Gujarat. The second section visualizes multivariate data profiling candidates contesting in the upcoming elections. This is extracted from the affidavit data collected by the Election Commision of India. The final section visualizes aggregated socio economic parameters accumulated from the Open Government Data (OGD) platform of the Indian Government.

    The project aims to visualize this data to educate the electorate of the background and historical performance record of the competing candidates and parties, and enable them to be able to make an informed voting decision.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Distributed Computing in Media Arts".
  • Speaker:  Andres Cabrera

    Time:   Monday, December 4, 2017, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1605


    Distributed computing has been ubiquitous since the inception of computing. It can solve issues with processing and memory constraints, heterogeneity of platforms, peripheral accessibility and physical location constraints. From SETI@home to Bitcoin, it has entered the mainstream. It is still however relatively unexplored and seldom used in Media Arts - with the exception of control interfaces and network performance-, mainly due to the high technical barrier of entry. This talk will address the challenges and possibilities of distributed computation for Multimedia Arts.


    Andres Cabrera is CREATE (Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology) Research Director and Media Systems Engineer with the AlloSphere Research Group at UCSB. Graduated as classical guitarist from Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia and moved to Computer Music and eventually Media Arts through his contact and participation with the Csound Open Source community. His research focuses on spatial audio and interactive media systems and languages.

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

  • MAT Student Research Briefing #2.
  • Time:   Monday, November 27, 2017, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601

    MAT students Dennis Adderton, Hannah Wolfe and Cecilia Wu will present their research, scholarly and creative activities to fellow students and the UCSB Community.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "The Realities/Pitfalls of Developing Games in an Academic Setting".
  • Speaker:  Magda El Zarki

    Time:   Monday, November 20, 2017, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601


    This talk will focus on three wide ranging games that we have worked on extensively over the past 4 years: Elmina - A Slave Castle: history and cultural heritage, Sankofa - The Asante of West Africa: education, culture and storytelling, and MineBike - MindCraft on a Bike: exergames and rehabilitation. I will discuss the origin of each idea, the purpose, the process, the challenges, and the outcomes. All three games were developed under the guidance of UCI faculty, with mostly local student talent - from UCI’s pool of game students, with some assistance from students from neighboring Art schools. For Sankofa we were fortunate enough to be given a small pool of seed funding that enabled us to hire some external concept artists, 3D animators and riggers.


    Magda El Zarki currently holds the position of Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine, where she is involved in various research activities related to telecommunication networks and networked computer games. She is currently the Director of the Institute of Virtual Environments and Computer Games and was the co-creator of the Computer Game Science Degree program which she directed for the first 2 years. Prior to joining UC, Irvine, she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where she also held the position of Director of the Telecommunications Program. She was director of the Networked Systems Graduate Program at UC, Irvine from 2005 – 2007. From 1992 – 1996 she held the position of Professor of Telecommunications at the Technical University of Delft, Delft, The Netherlands. She was the recipient of the Cor Wit Chair in Telecommunications at TU Delft from 2004 – 2006. Ms. El Zarki has served as an editor for several journals in the telecommunications area, and is still actively involved in many international conferences. She was on the board of governors of the IEEE Communications society and was the vice chair of the IEEE Tech. Committee for Computer Communications. She is co-author of the textbook: Mastering Networks – An Internet Lab Manual.

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

  • The Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) presents "Sound Resistance".
  • Date: Wednesday November 15, 2017
    Time: 7:30pm
    Location: Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall


    Sound Resistance presents works by music composition student Rodney DuPlessis, recent graduate Ori Barel, the CREATE Ensemble led by Karl Yerkes, and faculty members Yon Visell and Curtis Roads.

    The featured work is two parts from FAUST (1962) by Else Marie Pade.

    Else Marie Pade (1924–2016) was a Danish composer. In her youth, Pade was active in the anti-fascist resistance. She began by distributing illegal newspapers in 1943. In 1944 she received training in the use of weapons and explosives. She joined an all-female explosives group aimed at identifying the telephone cables in Aarhus with resistance organiser Hedda Lundh. Their goal was to blow up the telephone network when the Allied invasion came, so the Nazis would be left incommunicado. In 1944 she was arrested by the Nazi Gestapo and condemned to the Frøslev prison. Through a prison window she saw a shooting star and heard music from within. She began composing. The prisoners held song evenings to keep their spirits up. After the war she was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. Later she participated in the famous Darmstadt Summer Courses with Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen. In 1954 she became the first Danish composer of electronic music.

  • MAT Student Research Briefing #1.
  • Time:   Monday, November 13, 2017, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601

    MAT students Joseph Tilbian, Mark Hirsch and Ehsan Sayyad will present their research, scholarly and creative activities to fellow students and the UCSB Community.

  • "Metronomes of the Spirit", an evening of live sonic and visual performances by members of the MAT community.
  • Date: Friday November 10, 2017
    Time: 7pm
    Location: SBCAST, downtown Santa Barbara

    Performing members of the MAT/UCSB community include Owen Campbell, Juan Manuel Escalante, Jamey Geston, Mark Hirsch, Sölen Kiratli, Josh Mueller, Payam Rowghanian, Katja Seltmann, and Yon Visell.

  • "Nyia": An Immersive Interactive Installation created for the AlloSphere at UCSB, by Andrés Cabrera and Ricardo Escallón.
  • Dates: November 3 & 4, 2017
    Times: 3pm to 6pm
    Location: The AlloSphere, 2nd floor Elings Hall

    "Hacía el indio dorado su ofrecimiento echando todo el oro que llevaba a los pies en el medio de la laguna, y los demás caciques que iban con él y le acompañaban, hacían lo propio."

    "The golden indian would make his offering throwing all the gold at his feet in the middle of the lagoon, and the rest of the chieftains with him did the same."

    Juan Rodríguez Freyle (1566-1642)

    Nyia is an interpretation of the material vs. spiritual value of gold, based on the offerings made by native pre-Hispanic cultures in the sacred lagoons of the Colombian Andes. It is that same mythical gold that led Spanish conquistadores to follow the legend of El Dorado in search of fortune, bringing death and devastation. In contrast to a sonification (sound work), Nyia is an ‘imagication’: an experiential artwork for which the creative began as sounds and music and then combined with an entrancing, visual narrative.


  • MAT Seminar Series:  "The Tangle of Art and Research".
  • Speaker:  Rebecca Allen

    Time:   Monday, November 6, 2017, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601


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


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

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

  • "Fukushima! Fukushima!", an interactive VR installation by PhD student Mengyu Chen, will be exhibited at SBCAST on Thursday, November 2nd, from 6 - 9pm.

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    Fukushima! Fukushima! is a conceptual virtual reality installation exploring the post-modern condition of human habitation and technological catastrophe. Based on the artist's memory and photography at the 10 km evacuation zone around Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, along with the voice and testimonies from local residents, an immersive virtual world is created to connect one's personal experience with the volatile apparition of collective trauma. A non-linear story-telling technique is employed that the audience can freely walk, observe, interact and habituate themselves at this marginalized and forgotten land at the corner of Japan. The lines between human subject, bystander, habitant, and technological refugee are, therefore, blurred, broken, and re-examined.

    SBCAST is located at 513 Garden St, in downtown Santa Barbara.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "VIRTUOSITY VX (Virtual Experience): A Hybrid Approach to Delivering the Promise of Interactive Storyworlds".
  • Speakers:  Scott Ross and Brett Leonard

    Time:   Monday, October 30, 2017, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601


    Scott Ross


    Brett Leonard

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

    Scott Ross Bio

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

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

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

    Brett Leonard Bio

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

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

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

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

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "The Social Construction of New Digital Musical Instruments".
  • Speaker:  Michael Gurevitch

    Time:   Monday, October 16, 2017, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601


    This talk situates the practice of designing digital musical instruments with respect to models of musical-social interaction. I argue that the conventional composer-performer-listener model, and the underlying metaphor of music-as-communication upon which it relies, cannot reflect the richness of interaction and possibility afforded by digital technologies. Building on Paul Lansky’s vision of an expanded and dynamic social network, I present an alternative, ecological view of music-making, in which the opportunities for creation, design, and the production of meaning emerge from the inherent uncertainty in the interfaces that mediate musical-social interactions. However, the increased potential afforded by digital systems is undermined by our tendency to treat digital musical instrument design as a form of invention, wherein the various roles in this network are collapsed into a single individual. Using examples from my own practice, I describe approaches to designing instruments that respond to the technologies that form the interfaces of the network, which can include scores and stylistic conventions.


    Michael Gurevich is Associate Professor and Chair of Performing Arts Technology at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, where he teaches courses in physical computing, electronic music performance, and interdisciplinary collaboration. His research employs quantitative, qualitative, humanistic, and practice-based methods to explore the aesthetic and interactional possibilities that can emerge in music performance with computer systems. Prior to the University of Michigan, Professor Gurevich was a Lecturer at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s University Belfast, and a research scientist at the Institute for Infocomm Research in Singapore. He holds a B.M. from McGill University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford. He is an active author and editor in the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), computer music, and human-computer interaction communities, was Music Chair for the 2012 NIME conference in Ann Arbor, and is a Vice-President of the International Computer Music Association.

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

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Art and Xenopolitics in the Anthropocene".
  • Speaker:  Ewen Chardronnet

    Time:   Monday, October 2, 2017, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601


    Ewen wrote his last book "Mojave Epiphanie" during his residency, that was partially also supported by the UC Institute for Research in the Arts. Ewen is an instrumental figure in the European media arts production/distribution/reflection and has been so over the past 15 years.


    Ewen Chardronnet is an author, journalist, curator and artist from France. He has since the early 90s participated in many artistic endeavors (music, performances, films, fanzines, installations, residences, production, group exhibitions) and wrote as an essayist in numerous publications and participated in numerous conferences. He has served on various boards and committees in the field of art and technology, and has worked as a consultant. He co-founded with the collective Bureau d'études The Laboratory Planet journal and write regularly on art&science and maker&hacker cultures in magazine. Active in the field of space culture since 1995, he released in 2016 a non-fiction narrative book on the life of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory between 1935 and 1955 (Mojave Epiphanie, Inculte, march 2016) with the support of the UCIRA. Ewen Chardronnet will introduce his new project for an art&science residency program at the Roscoff Marine Station in Brittany, France ; as well as the recently co-founded Aliens in Green artists group, a tactical theater project where these « Aliens in Green are agents from a planet-turned-laboratory allowing earthlings to identify the numerous collisions between capitalist and xenopolitical forces.

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

  • "Sonification Workstation: Audible data playback for general use and rapid sonification", a Masters presentation by Sean Phillips.
  • Date:  Thursday, September 21st
    Time:  3pm
    Location:  MAT Conference room, 2003 Elings Hall


    To foster adoption of sonification across disciplines, and increase experimentation with sonification by non-specialists, a software prototype is proposed, which will demonstrate the distillation of many sonification tasks, encapsulating them in a single software application. The appliation will be operable from a GUI interface inspired by multimedia programs, such as audio editors and word processors. Further, the system will associate methods of sonification with the data they sonify, in session files, which will make sharing and reproducing sonifications easier.

    It is posited that facilitating experimentation by non-specialists will increase the potential growth of sonification into fresh territory, encourage discussion of sonification techniques and uses, and create a larger pool of ideas to draw from in advancing the field of sonification.

  • "Exploring Interactivity: Interactive Storytelling In Mixed Reality", a Masters presentation by Hilda He.
  • Date:  Friday, September 15th
    Time:  10am
    Location:  MAT Conference room, 2003 Elings Hall


    This project explores the unique character of interactive storytelling using filmed footage in mixed reality, combining virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) elements. Integration of computer-rendered artifacts and real-world video sequences, omni-directional narratives, and methods of interactivity are at the center of discussion. It demonstrates a scenario where fictional narratives with interaction possibilities are presented to the audience based on real scenes. This project is built in Unity and supported by HTC Vive for VR experience. It applies footage shot by the Nokia OZO stereo surround-view capturing system.

    Effective interactive storytelling benefits from a creative drama manager that builds the basic narrative system, a thoughtful agent model that weaves in natural logic in order to achieve the dramatic goals intelligently, and a susceptive user model to sense audience choices and inputs. The rise of VR/AR brings new possibilities to the drama manager and more importantly, a whole new system for the user model. Mixed reality takes interactivity to a higher level, where the user gains more control over the direction and the pacing of the narrative. It fosters a better immersive experience, especially as display and haptic technologies develop further. However, challenges remain in the coherence of computer rendering and reality, in particular as constrained by the real-time requirement.

  • "Fluid Subspaces: An Audiovisual Exploration", a PhD dissertation defense by Aaron Demby Jones.
  • Date:  Tuesday, July 11th, 2017
    Time:  2pm
    Location:  Engineering Science Building, room 2001


    The intricate, beautiful patterns of fluid dynamics have captured the imaginations of artists and scientists for centuries. Although some composers have written atmospheric music steeped in the mood of fluid flow, the systematic generation of sound from fluid dynamics is a newer, more unexplored area of research. A recurring problem, however, is computational cost—high-quality simulations of fluid dynamics are time- and memory-consuming.

    This dissertation comprises two distinct projects. The first is a novel data compression algorithm that alleviates the memory burden of subspace fluid simulations. Using a transform-based lossy compression scheme along with a sparse frequency domain reconstruction, we achieve an order of magnitude compression without any visible artifacts. Compression of this scale allows users to feasibly run complex scenes on a standard laptop.

    The second is a framework for generating correlated fluid motions and audio spectra. Aesthetically, the goal is to construct a unified process to connect the sounds and visuals while retaining artistic and musical expression. Our technique is inspired by the shapes and sounds formed by the modes of vibration of Chladni plates. By computing the spectrum of the characteristic velocity fields of a fluid, we form an analogous map between fluid flow and mixtures of audible frequencies. As such, the framework unites the spectral content of both the visuals and the sounds. We then explore and categorize several different techniques of modulating this spectrum over time in a series of short audiovisual studies.

  • "Archimusic: A New Poïesis - A Method for Archimusical Synthesis", a PhD dissertation defense by Myles Sciotto.
  • Date:  Friday, June 16th, 2017
    Time:  2pm
    Location:  transLAB (Elings Hall 2615)


    In 1958 the 20th-century architect and composer Iannis Xenakis transformed lines of glissandi from the graphic notation of Metastasis into the ruled surfaces of nine concrete hyperbolic parabolas of the Philips Pavilion. Over the next 20 years Xenakis developed the Polytopes, multimodal sites composed of sound and light, and in 1978 his Diatope bookended these spectacles and once again transformed the architectural and musical modalities using a general morphology. These poetic compositions were both architecture and music simultaneously; forming the best examples of what Marcos Novak would later coin as archimusic. Contemporary examples have continued to experiment with this interdisciplinary domain, and though creative, the outcomes have neglected to move this transformational conversation forward.

    This dissertation proposes to examine how to advance this transformational field of archimusic by introducing (A) an evaluative method to analyze prior trans-disciplinary works of archimusic, and (B) a generative model that integrates new digital modalities into the transformational compositional process based on the evaluative method findings. Together these two developments are introduced as archimusical synthesis and aim to contribute a novel way of thinking and making within this dynamic spatial and temporal territory. The dissertation research also proposes to organize and categorize the field of archimusic as an end in itself, presenting the trans-disciplinary territory as a studied and understood discipline framed for continued exploration.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Strategies for Combining Sonic and Visual Media in Electroacoustic Audio-visual Music".
  • Speaker:  John Thompson

    Time:   Monday, May 22, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 3001


    This talk will focus on my work in a specific subset of visual music, electroacoustic audio-visual music. I will discuss three of my compositions, "Stream Stone Surface" "Accretion Flows" and "Electrotactile Maps". These compositions exhibit a tight coupling of sonic and visual components. The intended result in an audio-visual alloy, stronger than its individual parts. Each of the compositions employs a different strategy to combine the sonic and visual materials. I will discuss these strategies and speak to the results in practice.

    John Thompson is a composer of electroacoustic music and electroacoustic audio-visual music. His recent audio-visual works feature a tight coupling of sonic and visual components. He is an advocate for music that explores otherness, contemplation and alternate paths toward beauty. He co-founded and co-directs the annual Root Signals Festival of Electronic Music and Media Art in 2014. In 2009, he began the Channel Noise concert series, which features an international selection of electroacoustic works.

    John directs the Music Technology Program at Georgia Southern University where he is Professor of Music. He teaches courses ranging from audio programming to interactive media. He is currently an At-Large Director for the International Computer Music Association. He received his PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied music composition and media arts with JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, Curtis Roads, Stephen Travis Pope, William Kraft, and Marcos Novak. As a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Scholar, he investigated interactive systems in the California Nanosystems Institute’s Allosphere, a large space for immersive and interactive data exploration.

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

  • "Melange: A Computational Fluid Dynamics Audiovisual Instrument", a Masters presentation by Kurt Kaminski.
  • Date:  Friday, June 2nd
    Time:  1pm
    Location:  Engineering Science Building, room 2001.


    Melange, image by Kurt Kaminski.


    The convergence of GPUs and spatial sensors fosters the exploration of novel interactive experiences. Next generation audiovisual synthesis instruments benefit greatly from such technologies because their components require significant computing resources and robust input methods. One technique that shares these requirements is physical simulation. The expressive potential of real-time physical simulation is rarely used in the domain of visual performance.

    I present Melange, an audiovisual instrument that maps gestural input to a highly evocative real-time fluid dynamics model for synthesizing image and sound. Using general-purpose GPU computing and a structured light depth sensor, I explore different visual and sonic transformations of fluid flow as an interactive computational substance.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Generative Narrativity".
  • Speaker:  Vladimir Todorovic

    Time:   Monday, May 1, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1605


    This talk is an overview of my extensive artistic practice from the time I graduated at UCSB in 2004 until today. I will reflect on my experiences and creative methods used in my collaborative projects in a variety of media encompassing: generative art, procedural animation, game art, rapid prototyping data visualizations, code art, new media art installation and performance, as well as in art-house cinema projects. The subjects and themes that prevail in my artistic practice vary widely. They include: environmental visions, class and cultural differences, migrations, intangible heritage, memories, landscapes, nature, and sustainability. I define these projects as sensory and thought-provoking time-based narrative architectures where narrative potential has to be triggered and released by the active participation of the viewer. While designing narrative architectures, I find the process of bricolage defined by Claude Levi-Strauss, also essential in understanding my practice. Working with materials that are available, accumulating and tinkering with accessible technological means have resulted in a body of work that I attempt to understand. What is certain is that these art projects are completed out of the necessity to create and be in a dialogue with the participants of my narrative architectures.

    Vladimir Todorovic is a filmmaker, multimedia artist and educator based in Singapore. He is working as an associate professor at the School of Art, Design and Media, NTU. His projects have won several awards and have been shown at hundreds of festivals, exhibitions, museums and galleries including: Visions du Reel, Cinema du Reel, IFFR (42nd, 40th and 39th), Festival du Nouveau Cinema, BIFF, SGIFF, L’Alternativa, YIDFF, Siggraph, ISEA (2016, 2010, 2008, 2006), Ars Electronica, Transmediale, Centre Pompidou, House of World Cultures, The Reina Sofia Museum and Japan Media Art Festival.

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

  • "Sketching Sound: Gestural Interaction for Expressive Music Programming", a lecture by Dr. Spencer Salazar.
  • Date:  Wednesday, April 26, 2017
    Time:  1:30 - 2:50pm
    Location:  College of Creative Studies, Bldg 494, Room 143


    In my research, two prototype systems were developed to explore programming music using mobile touchscreen interactions and technologies. The first of these, miniAudicle for iPad, is an environment for programming ChucK code on an iPad. The second prototype developed is a sound design and music composition system utilizing touch and hand-written stylus input. In this system, called “Auraglyph,” users draw a variety of audio synthesis structures, such as oscillators and filters, in an open canvas. Ultimately, we believe this research shows that the critical parameters for developing sophisticated software for new interaction technologies are consideration of the technology's inherent affordances and mindful attention to design.


    Spencer Salazar is a computer musician and researcher currently serving as Special Faculty at the California Institute of the Arts School of Music. His research and teaching are focused on computer-based music expression, composition, and experience, with specific attention to mobile software development, systems for music programming, and computer-based music ensembles. Previously he pursued his doctoral studies at Stanford CCRMA. He has also created new software and hardware interfaces for the ChucK audio programming language, prototyped consumer electronics for Microsoft, and architected large-scale social music interactions for Smule, an iPhone application developer. He received a Bachelor of Science and Engineering in Computer Science from Princeton University in 2006 and will receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in Computer-based Music Theory and Acoustics from Stanford University in 2017.

    This guest lecture is part of the "MUSC CS 105 Embodied Sonic Meditation" course, offered by CCS in spring 2017.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "A Hollow Bone in the Datasphere and Other Desert Tales".
  • Speaker:  Adriene Jenik

    Time:   Monday, April 3rd, 1pm
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1605


    Artist and desert dweller Adriene Jenik will discuss the recent transition of her artistic practice leading from 30 years of pioneering experiments with narrative media and computing projects. Reflecting on the importance of place in telematic embodiment, new frameworks for understanding "audience" and beginning again, the talk will be of interest to those who have been or are currently at a crossroads in their life and art. Newly completed and in-progress projects (including several in-progress) will be presented.

    Adriene Jenik is an artist, educator and arts leader who resides in the southwestern United States. Her computer and media art spans several decades including pioneering work in interactive cinema and live telematic performance. Jenik's artistic projects straddle and trouble the borders between art and popular culture. She was an early member of the Paper Tiger Television collective (1985-91) and a founding member of the Deep Dish TV Alternative Satellite network. Her video productions include the video short, "What's the Difference Between a Yam & a Sweet Potato?" (with J. Evan Dunlap), and the award-winning live satellite TV broadcast, "EL NAFTAZTECA: Cyber-Aztec TV for 2000 A.D." (with Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Roberto Sifuentes). "MAUVE DESERT: A CD-ROM Translation" is Jenik's internationally acclaimed interactive road movie based on the novel Le Désert Mauve by French Canadian author Nicole Brossard. Her creative research project, DESKTOP THEATER (1997-2002), was a series of live theatrical interventions and activities in public visual chat rooms developed with multi-media maven Lisa Brenneis. She recently completed a new experimental narrative "SPECFLIC 1.9" (60:00, 2013) at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Her current research work in “data humanization” is in development.

    Jenik received her BA in English from Douglass College, Rutgers University and her MFA in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has taught a broad range of electronic media classes at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), UC Irvine, University of Southern California (USC), and UCLA's New Media Lab and UC San Diego where she was a full-time research faculty member in the Visual Arts Department for 11 years. A founding professor of the Interdisciplinary Computer Arts Major at UCSD and the Digital Culture program at ASU, Jenik has taught electronic and digital media to generations of students. She served as the Katherine K. Herberger endowed chair of Fine Arts and Director of the School of Art at Arizona State University, one of 5 schools that make up the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts from 2009-2016, and is currently a professor of Intermedia at ASU.

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

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Cinema As I Fly: J. J. Gibson and the Aviation Psychology Program’s Test Films".
  • Speaker:  Oliver Gaycken

    Time:   Monday, March 13, 1pm
    Location:  Engineering Building, room 2001


    World War II saw a massive surge in the use of cinema by the US military, ranging from propaganda films to gun-camera and combat footage to educational and test films. While the first two categories are well known (e.g. Frank Capra’s Why We Fight, the combat documentation of the Signal Corps companies, and William Wyler’s documentaries Memphis Belle and Thunderbolt), the extensive use of film in military education and testing remains largely unknown. This paper will examine and contextualize the films made by the Army Air Force’s Aviation Psychology Program during World War II. A key figure in this program was the perceptual psychologist J. J. Gibson, whose use of film in the evaluation and training of pilot candidates utilized insights from his prior research on perception for the automobile industry, where he established the concept of "optical flow". Gibson’s model of perception, which would culminate in his later theory of "ecological perception", provided a more dynamic understanding of how perceptual cues interacted with spatial movement. Film’s ability to simulate aspects of movement made it a crucial component of his wartime endeavors. Indeed, identifying and training potential pilots and gunners required a utilization of film that replicated novel perceptual experiences—film became a test medium that simulated situations of demanding visual performance.

    As Gibson noted, his results were “to some extent relevant not only to aviation but also to general education and to the theory of visual learning.” Beyond providing a notable example of cinema’s participation in what Avital Ronell has termed modernity’s “test drive,” Gibson’s WWII test films provide an extraordinarily fine-grained account about the development of nontheatrical media. The Aviation Psychology Program explicitly built on prior research into the cinema’s efficacy as an educational tool, particularly the study by the University of Chicago’s Frank N. Freeman, Visual Education: A Comparative Study of Motion Pictures and Other Forms of Instruction (1924). But it also introduced new insights into how cinema’s ability to mimic human perception could be fine-tuned, including a particular emphasis on the "showing of situations from a subjective point of view".

    Oliver Gaycken received his BA in English from Princeton University and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He previously has taught at York University (Toronto) and Temple University. His teaching interests include silent-era cinema history, the history of popular science, and the links between scientific and experimental cinema. He has published on the discovery of the ophthalmoscope, the flourishing of the popular science film in France at the turn of the 1910s, the figure of the supercriminal in Louis Feuillade's serial films, and the surrealist fascination with popular scientific images. His book Devices of Curiosity: Early Cinema and Popular Science, appeared with Oxford University Press in the spring of 2015.

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

  • "Spatiotemporal Granulation", a PhD dissertation defense by Muhammad Hafiz Wan Rosli.
  • Date:  Friday, March 17, 2017
    Time:  5pm
    Location:  MAT Conference Room (Elings Hall 1605)


    The process of segmenting a sound signal into small grains (less than 100 ms), and reassembling them into a new time order is known as granulation. Articulation of the grains’ spatial characteristics can be achieved through various techniques, allowing one to choreograph the position and movement of individual grains. However, this spatial information is generally arbitrarily generated during the synthesis stage.

    This dissertation introduces a novel theory and technique called Spatiotemporal Granulation. Through the use of spatially encoded signals, the proposed technique segments spatial and temporal information producing grains that are localized in both space and time.

    Ambisonics is a technology that represents full-sphere spatial sound through the use of Spherical Harmonics. Using the encoded spatial information as part of the analysis-synthesis process enables the extraction of grains by spatial position, in addition to temporal position. Examples of potential effects and transformations include manipulation of spatial characteristics, spatial cross synthesis, and spatial gating. Angkasa, a software tool for performing Spatiotemporal Granulation will be presented as a proof of concept in the Allosphere.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Electronic Disturbances and Other Unpopular Gestures".
  • Speaker:  Ricardo Dominguez

    Time:   Monday, March 6, 1pm
    Location:  Engineering Building, room 2001


    What is the relationship between data bodies and real bodies? Electronic Disturbance Theater co-founder Ricardo Dominguez cites this as a fundamental question for the group at the time of its founding in 1997, and even though this was twenty years ago, it still strikes us as pressing and unresolved. It is fundamentally a question of presence, a question of the relationship between the real and the virtual. I will trace out a cognitive map of the question based on a number of key gestures and theories that started in the early 1980's and still create the performative matrix of his collaborative projects now.

    Ricardo Dominguez is a co-founder of The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), a group who developed virtual sit-in technologies in solidarity with the Zapatistas communities in Chiapas, Mexico, in 1998. His recent Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab project ( with Brett Stalbaum, Micha Cardenas, Amy Sara Carroll, and Elle Mehrmand, the Transborder Immigrant Tool (a GPS cell phone safety net tool for crossing the Mexico/US border) was the winner of “Transnational Communities Award” (2008), an award funded by Cultural Contact, Endowment for Culture Mexico–US and handed out by the US Embassy in Mexico. It also was funded by CALIT2 and the UCSD Center for the Humanities. The Transborder Immigrant Tool has been exhibited at the 2010 California Biennial (OCMA), Toronto Free Gallery, Canada (2011), The Van Abbemuseum, Netherlands (2013), ZKM, Germany (2013), as well as a number of other national and international venues. The project was also under investigation by the US Congress in 2009-2010 and was reviewed by Glenn Beck in 2010 as a gesture that potentially “dissolved” the U.S. border with its poetry. Dominguez is an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, in the Visual Arts Department, a Hellman Fellow, and Principal Investigator at CALIT2. UCSD. He also is co-founder of "particle group" with artists Diane Ludin, Nina Waisman, and Amy Sara Carroll, whose art project about nano-toxicology titled "Particles of Interest: Tales of the Matter Market" has been presented at the House of World Cultures, Berlin (2007), the San Diego Museum of Art (2008), Oi Futuro, Brazil (2008), CAL NanoSystems Institute, UCLA (2009), Medialab-Prado, Madrid (2009), E-Poetry Festival, Barcelona, Spain (2009), Nanosférica, NYU (2010), SOMA, Mexico City, Mexico (2012): He is a Hellman Fellow and has received a Society for the Humanities Fellowship at Cornell University (2017-18).

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

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Imagination Projects Reality; Reality Constrains Imagination".
  • Speaker:  Ben Bogart

    Time:   Monday, February 27, 1pm
    Location:  Engineering Building, room 2001


    I strive to be a generalist; I am an artist who works at the edges of disciplines integrating and challenging knowledge, most recently in cognitive science. I favor a broad and integrative view of knowledge creation that rejects specialism. In the background of my work is an ongoing inquiry into the relation between the world as conceived and the world as independent of cognition. I think of subjects (imagination) and objects (reality) as mutually constructive; as subjects we project and impose categories on objects, while objects’ physical reality as independent of cognition constrains and challenges those categories. I use computational systems to examine the power struggle between subjects and objects. I build machine subjects that manifest categorization processes (unsupervised clustering algorithms) that suppress variation in order to emphasize sameness. My machine subjects categorize, organize and reduce the infinite complexity of sensory reality. In doing so they participate in a process of abstraction that breaks sensed reality into atomic particles that serve as the material from which novel images are constructed. These "mental" images are of the world—their mechanisms uncover underlying statistical truths about reality as independent of cognition, but they are also of us—they are projections of bounded subjective understanding. In this talk I will introduce the conceptual context for my work and present a survey of selected computational works including "Dreaming Machines" "Self-Organized Landscapes" "Watching and Dreaming" "As our gaze peers off into the distance, imagination takes over reality...quot; and current work in development.

    Ben Bogart is a Vancouver-based interdisciplinary artist working with generative computational processes (including physical modeling, chaos, feedback systems, evolutionary computation, computer vision and machine learning) and has been inspired by knowledge in the natural sciences (quantum physics and cognitive neuroscience) in the service of an epistemological enquiry. Ben has produced processes, artifacts, texts, images and performances that have been presented at academic conferences and art festivals in Canada, the United States of America, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Turkey, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Brazil, Hong Kong, Norway and Spain. He has been an artist in residence at the Banff Centre (Canada), the New Forms Festival (Canada) and at Videotage (Hong Kong). His research and practice have been funded by the Social Science and Research Council of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts. Ben holds both master’s and doctorate degrees from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University. During his master’s study he developed a site-specific artwork that uses images captured live in the context of installation as raw material in its ‘creative’ process. In is doctoral work he made "a machine that dreams" that is framed as both a model of dreaming and a site-specific artistic work manifesting an Integrative Theory of visual mentation developed during his doctorate. Ben is currently using this model in the appropriation and reconstruction of popular cinematic depictions of artificial intelligence.

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

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Visualization in AI & Neural Networks".
  • Speaker:  Jeffrey Greenberg

    Time:  Tuesday, February 28, 10:30am
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 2611


    In the past few years, neural networks, have re-emerged as one of the key technologies in AI related work. Because of their ability to find solutions in complex problem spaces, they are being applied in almost every field at this time. On one hand they are used to recognize and transform information from images, sound, speech, or text applications, and on the other they can generate and modify inputs as well, creating pictures, music, speech, poems, and software. Though the latter is very weak with comparison to the efficacy of the former, the step forward is amazing. In this talk we’ll look a brief technical look at architecture and theory of neural networks to form an intuitive understanding of how they work and the challenges there are in computing them. We’ll pay particular attention to convolutional neural nets in particular. We’ll look at various related visualization techniques for understanding how these conv-nets process information such as direct matrix representations, t-SNE, and see what insights we can gain through generative work, like DeepDream & DeepVis. t-SNE is one visualization that can be easily applied to multi-dimensional data to form insights with low effort. There are others that come from NLP, which is a different AI approach than neural networks, that are used when working with language. Two we’ll look at are based on ‘word embeddings’ : Word2Vec, and network mapping (controversy measures).

    Jeffrey Greenberg has a degrees in Bioengineering and Performance Art from UCSD. Currently, VP of Engineering at, where he is focused on improving outcomes of surgeries and other treatments, he has patents in ultrasound imaging, and voice recognition applications. With a history of product and deep technology innovation in such diverse areas as medicine and diagnostic imaging, social media, telephony, operating systems, and games, he aims to work on technology for doing good. Combining experiences at Bell Labs, working on AI, and edge technology together with an Art and culture focus ( including NEA, NYSCA, and foundation grants) he has a history of finding areas that matter and advancing the state-of-the-art.

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

  • "Refactoring the News", a lecture by Jeffrey Greenberg.
  • Time:  Tuesday, February 28, 2pm.
    Location:  CITS Seminar Room, 1310 Social Sciences and Media Studies Building.

    "Fake News" is just the tip of the iceberg. The News has been outpaced by recent technological innovations. As a product it is not a category that excites a lot of investment. For years, revenue at most newspapers has been falling. Increasingly they are pressured to generate revenue by focusing on ‘engagement’, while their focus on improving on their core product offering, truth, has wavered. At best, they focus on innovations in distribution, opening their paywalls to social media, and innovating on reader experiences with interactive content. Though their product is supposed to be a useful tool for truth-seeking and evidence-grounded decision making, it has instead been gamed by anyone who can afford a cable channel, or who for less money can create a web-page or post a tweet.

    In this talk, Greenberg broadly reconsiders the product and processes of the News, from sourcing through distribution, with an eye to making it both more robust and compelling to stand up in the face of significant technologies in play. Starting with the assertion that the news ‘article’ is ‘dead’, he proposes some guides for replacing it with more useful conveyances. He will propose a news ‘substrate’ that provides a (more) solid ground where the underpinnings of fact and assertion are clearer. The aim is to articulate the components of a refactored News, including not only product guidelines but some of the particular technologies and explorations needed to concretely make this a reality.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "On Space Curves as a Substrate for Audiovisual Synthesis and Composition".
  • Speaker:  Lance Putnam

    Time:  Tuesday, February 21, 6pm.
    Location:  Elings Hall, 2nd floor


    In this talk, Lance presents the use of space curves as a fundamental construct for audiovisual composition. Curves provide an attractive starting point for audiovisual synthesis as they are relatively easy to translate into sound and graphics. Systems for producing curves for art and design date back to at least the 18th century and have carried through the technological stages of mechanical, electronic, and digital. Contemporary uses of space curves will be presented through Lance's audiovisual compositions "S Phase" and "Adrift" the hydrogen atom composition "Probably/Possibly?" done in collaboration with Dr. JoAnn Kuchera Morin and Dr. Luca Peliti, and the "Mutator VR" virtual reality experience done in collaboration with Dr. William Latham and Professor Stephen Todd at Goldsmiths college. The talk will be followed by immersive performances of the 3D audiovisual works "Adrift" and "Probably/Possibly?" in the UCSB AlloSphere three-story virtual environment.

    Lance Putnam is a composer with interest in generative art, audiovisual synthesis, digital sound synthesis, and media signal processing. His work explores questions concerning the relationships between sound and graphics, symmetry in art and science, and motion as a spatiotemporal concept. He holds an M.A. in Electronic Music and Sound Design and a Ph.D. in Media Arts and Technology from the Media Arts and Technology program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His dissertation "The Harmonic Pattern Function: A Mathematical Model Integrating Synthesis of Sound Graphical Patterns" was selected for the Leonardo journal LABS 2016 top abstracts. His audiovisual work "S Phase" has been shown at numerous locations including the 2008 International Computer Music Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland and the Traiettorie Festival in Parma, Italy. His work "Adrift" an audiovisual composition designed for virtual environments, is on rotation in the UCSB AlloSphere and was performed live at the 2015 Generative Arts Conference in Venice, Italy. From 2008 to 2012, he conducted research in audio/visual synthesis at the AlloSphere Research Facility and TransLab in Santa Barbara, California. From 2012 to 2015, he was an assistant professor at the University of Aalborg in the Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology where he also taught multimedia programming in the Art and Technology program. He is currently investigating new approaches to procedural art as a research associate in Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London under the Digital Creativity Labs. Here he is developing the virtual reality experience "Mutator VR" which has been shown shown at New Scientist Live, London, at East Gallery, Norwich University of Arts, and at Cyfest 17, St. Petersburg, Russia.

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

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Designing for Music and VR: Inside the Bohemian Rhapsody VR Experience".
  • Speaker:  Vangelis Lympouridis

    Time:  Monday, February 13, 1pm.
    Location:  Engineering Science Building, room 2001


    Virtual Reality has generated a lot of interest in recent years and there is a lot of progress already in formulating its language in both the academia and the industry. Vangelis will talk about the emergence of VR as a new medium and its ability to shape the way we experience musical content. The talk will cover a wide range of topics including best practices for VR, mechanics of engagement, immersive audio production, production design and development pipelines, artistic integrity, systems design and engineering. As a case-study, he’ll discuss his latest production, the Bohemian Rhapsody Experience, an innovative mobile VR application based on Freddy Mercury’s legendary song, which was developed in collaboration with Google Play and Queen. You can download the Bohemian Rhapsody Experience App in advance at, in order to form your personal opinion, inquiries and discussion points. The App is available for Android and iOS smartphones that are VR compatible. For those who do not have a Google Cardboard or equivalent 3D mobile VR viewer, the app includes a 360 story mode.

    Vangelis Lympouridis is the founder of Enosis VR. After a successful career in academia he founded Enosis, a cutting-edge production company that specializes in immersive virtual reality applications. Before launching his company Vangelis oversaw operations and research at the MxR Studio, the main VR Hub at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, where he explored Virtual Reality and Whole Body Immersion with an interdisciplinary team of students. While at USC, he produced a series of innovative VR projects including Project Syria: An Immersive Experience, commissioned by the World Economic Forum and exhibited in Davos, the Sundance Film Festival, the Sheffield Doc Fest and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; Use of Force, funded by the Tribeca Film Festival and AP Google; and F1, a cinematic immersive experience presented at the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Singapore. Vangelis has a PhD in Whole Body Interaction and an MSc in Sound Design from the University of Edinburgh. He also holds a BFA in Sculpture and Environmental Art from Glasgow School of Art. He lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

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

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "A Conversation with Virgil Elings".
  • Time:  Monday, January 30, 1pm.
    Location:  Engineering Science Building, room 2001


    An iconoclastic thinker with broad interests and rare entrepreneurial ability, Virgil Elings, PhD, spent 20 years on the physics faculty of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He developed an innovative graduate program in instrumentation in which he encouraged his students to harness their knowledge and creativity to create complex instrumentation that facilitates scientific discovery. Using a project based approach to learning, Elings’ teaching and guidance have led many graduates of his program to become highly successful entrepreneurs and technology leaders. While on a leave in 1987, he cofounded Digital Instruments with Gus Gurley, a former student of his from several years earlier.

    Using no outside funding, they led the company to become the global leader in the design and manufacture of scanning probe microscopes. These microscopes magnify objects by tens of millions of times, enabling scientists to see the very atoms from which materials are composed. After finishing his leave, UC Santa Barbara asked Elings to sever his ties with Digital Instruments. Elings decided instead to leave the university and continue to develop the firm. Applying his own unique style and business acumen, his uncanny knack for hiring the best people (often UC Santa Barbara graduates), and his philosophy of allowing staff to freely channel their creativity, Elings was able to grow the company from a small start-up to the world’s leader in scanning microscopes. Elings attributes much of Digital Instrument’s success to the proximity of UC Santa Barbara, with its active research environment and ample supply of bright people. He served as Digital Instruments’ President and Chairman of the board until 1998, when the company merged with Veeco Instruments. Shortly after the merger, Elings retired.

    Elings graduated in 1961 with his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University and earned his PhD in Physics from MIT in 1966. His interests are far-ranging, from riding, collecting (and sometimes racing) motorcycles to investing in commercial real estate and enjoying his horse ranch and lavender fields. Elings continues to support teaching, research and the study of nanoscience at UCSB and is a major benefactor in the region.

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

  • "How to Explain Pictures to a Live Paro", a live performance and installation by PhD students Sahar Sajadieh and Mengyu Chen, will be held at the Glass Box Gallery in the Arts Department, UCSB.

  • Date:  Thursday, January 26th
    Time:  4-7pm, reception at 3:45pm.

    There is also a live performance on Thursday, February 2nd at SBCAST from 7-8pm, 513 Garden St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

    The performance turns into an installation piece and is open for public viewing on Friday, January 27th, 4-7pm

    "How to Explain Pictures to a Live Paro" is an interactive durational performance artwork about gun control policies in the US, and the safety and security of students. It is an invitation to a conversation about these issues and a tribute to the students who have lost their lives in shooting incidents at schools. The artist will be performing with Paro, a robotic baby harp seal (a therapeutic robot), which is scientifically proven to be helpful in hospitals, elderly houses, and trauma therapy. Paro has come to help facilitate the interaction, communication, and healing through a dialogue that has been long postponed in our community.

    You can also check out #DearParo on Facebook at 4:00pm PT on Thursday, January 26th, to see the video live, and virtually interact with the piece and other live audience members online.

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "The Great British Recording Studios".
  • Speaker:  Howard Massey, audio consultant, journalist and author.

    Time:  Monday, January 23rd, 1pm.
    Location:  Engineering Science Building, room 2001

    Some of the most important and influential recordings of all time were created in British studios during the 1960s and 1970s: iconic facilities like Abbey Road, Decca, Olympic, Trident, and AIR. This presentation will unravel the origins of the so-called "British Sound", and celebrate the people, equipment, and innovative recording techniques that came out of those hallowed halls.

    Howard Massey is a music industry consultant, audio journalist, and author of "Behind The Glass", "Behind The Glass Volume II", and "The Great British Recording Studios".

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

  • MAT Seminar Series:  "Mathematical Transformation of Spherical Images and Video".
  • Speaker:  Henry Segerman, Department of Mathematics, Oklahoma State University.

    Time:  Friday, January 20th, 1pm.
    Location:  Elings Hall, room 1601


    Spherical (or "360 degree") still and video cameras capture light from all directions, producing a sphere of image data. What kinds of post-process transformations make sense for spherical photographs and video? We can rotate the sphere, but is there an analogue to zoom in flat video?

    By viewing the sphere of image data as the Riemann sphere, we can use complex numbers to describe the positions of the pixels. By scaling the complex plane, we get something like a zoom effect, with which we can make a spherical version of the Droste effect. By applying other complex functions, we can "unwrap" the sphere, producing other Escher-like impossible images and video.

    The code to generate these effects is written in Python, and much of it is available on GitHub.

    Henry Segerman is a mathematician, working mostly in three-dimensional geometry and topology, and a mathematical artist, working mostly in 3D printing. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Oklahoma State University, and author of the new book "Visualizing Mathematics with 3D Printing".

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

  • "Lithe: An Object-based Audio-graph Framework for Spatial Composition and Sound Design", a Masters presentation by Akshay Cadambi.
  • Date:  Friday, January 13th
    Time:  5:15pm
    Location:  Data Visualization Lab, Elings Hall, room 2611


    Over the recent years, content creation in spatial audio has moved away from multichannel to object-based approaches, where instead of specifying audio signals for each speaker channel, audio is created with positional data. This is then rendered to speakers using one of the many spatial sound rendering techniques (VBAP, DBAP, Ambisonics, etc.). However, workflows for creating content in such systems are usually ad-hoc and vary vastly between software, algorithms, and controllers. The unit generator (UGen) is an abstraction used in MUSIC N languages to structure and define sound processing as an interconnected graph. This project will present a novel extension of the UGen graph for object-based spatial audio. By abstracting spatial position as a continuously varying signal transmitted along with the audio, we can allow for interconnections between processing blocks that exert transformations on both the sound and its spatial information. This will be shown to open up the possibility to define and explore spatial effects and transformations. Finally, this project presents "Lithe", a C++ framework to build object-based audio-graphs. It will also present an example use-case of this library to build a modular synthesis application called "Lithe Modular".