Past News


  • "Etherial", an artwork by JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, Andres Cabrera, Kon Hyong Kim and Gustavo Rincon, will be premiered at the 2019 International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA), June 22-28 in Gwangju, Republic of Korea.
  • Image

    "Etherial" will bring the quantum form into the material, through virtual reality, spatial augmented reality and material form. The work will consist of two windows into the virtual that will ultimately control the various visual/sonic quantum forms, a SAR window in a completely immersive VR space that will allow one to sculpt quantum mechanics in real time, and a physically rendered sculpture that will be tracked with gestural sensors so one can perform the work from the sculpture as well. Two controllers into a completely immersive VR space that will allow performers to sculpt quantum mechanics in real time in total synchrony with one another and the virtual environment that they control.

    In keeping with the theme of "LUX", the quantum, revealed, the hydrogen-like atom combinations feature light-emitting wave function combinations that move toward the science of the phenomenon, while the quantum, suggests the ethereal nature of spirit in the form of light, EHERIAL/IMMUTABLE – to touch the untouchable.


  • MAT PhD student Yin Yu has designed a course for the Science & Engineering Research Academy (SERA) at UCSB that she will teach in the summer of 2019.
  • Th​e​ course, titled "In the Digital Age​ - ​Experiencing Architecture and Music Through STEM", ​is an introduction to Media Arts and Technology​ through the lens of architecture and music​, and adds humanities (H) and arts (A) to the STEM model, to produce the THEMAS model.​ The SERA program introduces qualified high school students to the research enterprise through project-based, directed research in STEM related fields, including machine learning, marine biology, evolutionary biology, global conflicts, and media arts & technology​.

    The course challenges what you think architecture and music are by examining how the intersection of these topics evolved over time through the lens of human experience and the digital age. For example, the way in which theme parks are intentionally designed or the role that a musical score plays in movies to enhance or manipulate the audience's experience. You will learn the basic concepts of digital architecture and computer music through exercises using physical and digital modeling, 3D fabrication, haptics (touch sound), and interactive design highlighting how new media technologies and fabrication tools have allowed for the integration of STEM and the fine arts. Students will attend a field recording workshop and develop a hands-on studio project to learn creative techniques in music composition and sound making. In addition, students will develop oral communication and formal presentation skills through a series of workshop project presentations. By the end of the course, you will develop the methodologies for an interdisciplinary research project. This is an excellent opportunity for participants interested in both science and art, to increase their skills and knowledge towards their college education.

  • MAT PhD candidates Sahar Sajadieh and Hannah Wolfe are presenting an interactive performance piece titled "Come Hither to Me!", at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2019, Glasgow, UK, May 4-9.
  • Image

    "Come Hither to Me!" is an interactive robotic performance piece, which examines the emotive social interaction between an audience and a robot. Our interactive robot attempts to communicate and flirt with audience members in the gallery. The robot uses feedback from sensors, auditory data, and computer vision techniques to learn about the participants and inform its conversation. The female robot approaches the audience, picks her favorites, and starts charming them with seductive comments, funny remarks, backhanded compliments, and personal questions. We are interested in evoking emotions in the participating audience through their interactions with the robot. This artwork strives to invert gender roles and stereotypical expectations in flirtatious interactions. The performative piece explores the dynamics of social communication, objectification of women, and the gamification of seduction. The robot reduces flirtation to an algorithm, codifying pick-up lines and sexting paradigms.


  • An installation titled "Fragile Safari" by MAT professor Marko Peljhan and media artist Matthew Biederman is on exhibit at the Paved Arts gallery in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada, September 14 - October 20, 2018.
  • Image

    "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together" - Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower, January 1961.

    Electromagnetic forces can be shaped, modulated, monitored or transformed in order for them to be utilized. The FRAGILE SAFARI situations are constituted as a ‘parcours’ through two bodies of work. The first work is the evolved signals intelligence (SIGINT) work: We Should Take Nothing for Granted – On The Building of An Alert And Knowledgeable Citizenry the second is the spatial electromagnetic installation STAR VALLEY (ICARUS).

    Together, the works provoke a sensorial experience of the immaterial electromagnetic spectrum, and open well-defined societal questions regarding notions of privacy in the 21st century. Collectively, the elements form a tactical media landscape that is conceived as an “electromagnetic theatre” in order to engage the visitors/participants on multiple levels; technologically, intuitively, intellectually and politically. Arguably the electromagnetic spectrum is the most valuable, yet non-exhaustable natural resource, while it’s control and use continues to be strategically significant and economically vital.

    Central to both works are probes, the devices that are probing multiple aspects of the electromagnetic spectrum by monitoring or transmitting signals in order to observe or occupy the spectrum. These acts activate civic potentials to engage and re-imagine the relationship between the global citizenry and sovereign actors with the military industrial complexes including their visible, opaque and dark structures by addressing current positions and debates about the notions and structuring of privacy, surveillance states, and safetylss. Each element in FRAGILE SAFARI is the result of research and construction of hardware and software systems nto be utilized as a set of tools, in order to gain knowledge of the occupation, use and potential misuse of global mass communication infrastructures.

    STAR VALLEY (ICARUS), is a single spark-gap transmitter lthat occupies and overwhelms local signals . The transmitter is controlled by a computer running a neural network that has been trained on US/NATO codenames, describing units, orders of battle and/or military operations and their descriptions in order to generate new names, theatres, and directives of ‘imaginary’ operations both from the past and projected into the future, highlighting the intentional obfuscation of facts from the public.

    Lastly, We Should Take Nothing for Granted – On The Building of An Alert And Knowledgeable Citizenry, is designed to demonstrate the fragility of the local communications infrastructure by probing the visitor’s personal communication devices while creating a generative sonic landscape of over 20 years of collective signal monitoring archives using Eisenhower’s presidential farewell address from 1961 as a compositional tool.

    The title for the series FRAGILE SAFARI is derived from another “safari”, the BIG SAFARI, which is a specialized black USAF program dedicated to air systems modification for collection and processing of SIGINT (signals intelligence) and COMINT (communications intelligence) data, as well as offensive and defensive electronic warfare. The program is one of the oldest electronic warfare related programs and responsible for much of the SIGINT collection globally since 1952.

    The works on display are small part of the evolutionary toolkit that Biederman and Peljhan have been creating over the past 20 years in order to re-examine and redefine our relationship to the political, philosophical and physical conditions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.


  • MAT Master's student Mert Toka presented his live-coding interface "Siren" at the 2018 New Interfaces for Musical Expression Conference (NIME). June 3-6 2018, Blacksburg, VA.
  • Image

    Siren is a software environment for exploring rhythm and time through the lenses of algorithmic composition and live-coding. It leverages the virtually unlimited creative potential of the algorithms by treating code snippets as the building blocks for audiovisual playback and synthesis. Employing the textual paradigm of programming as the software primitive allows the execution of patterns that would be either impossible or too laborious to create manually.

    The system is designed to operate in a general-purpose manner by allowing multiple compilers to operate at the same time. Currently, it accommodates SuperCollider and TidalCycles as its primary programming languages due to their stable real-time audio generation and event dispatching capabilities.

    Harnessing the complexity of the textual representation (i.e. code) might be cognitively challenging in an interactive real-time application. Siren tackles this by adopting a hybrid approach between the textual and visual paradigms. Its front-end interface is armed with various structural and visual components to organize, control and monitor the textual building blocks: Its multi-channel tracker acts as a temporal canvas for organizing scenes, on which the code snippets could be parameterized and executed. It is built on a hierarchical structure that eases the control of complex phrases by propagating small modifications to lower levels with minimal effort for dramatic changes in the audiovisual output. It provides multiple tools for monitoring the current audio playback such as a piano-roll inspired visualization and history components.

  • An exhibition by MAT professor George Legrady titled "The James Bay Cree in 1973" will be on display in the Art and Architecture Hall of the UCSB Library from January 18 - June 2, 2018.
  • Image

    The exhibition consists of a wall of 180 photographs organized in 20 thematic clusters of images showing the way of life in 1973 in four James Bay Cree villages in the Canadian sub-arctic. The exhibition also includes 2 large screens featuring video documentation by Andres Burbano of village scenes recorded during two return trips in 2012 and 2014.

    In 1973, the Cree invited professor Legrady to photo document their daily life, as a way to strengthen their negotiations with the Canadian government over land rights. At the time, the Québec government had plans for a hydroelectric project that would flood a significant area of Cree land in the James Bay. Although the project went forward, the Cree were able to leverage the issue and negotiate self-governance, improving their political and social position within Québec.

    A panel discussion will be held on Thursday, January 18, at 4pm, in room 1312 of the UCSB Library, followed by a reception and exhibition walk-throughs.

    Event Flyer

  • MAT and RE Touch Lab researchers will present five papers as part of the technical program of the IEEE Haptics Symposium, March 2018, in San Francisco, USA.
  • Image

    S. Patwardhan, A. Kawazoe, D. Kerr, M. Nakatani, Y. Visell, Too hot, too fast! Using the thermal grill illusion to explore dynamic thermal perception. Proc. IEEE Haptics Symposium, 2018.

    J. Jiao, Y. Zhang, D. Wang, Y. Visell, D. Cao, X. Guo, X. Sun, Data-Driven Rendering of Fabric Textures on Electrostatic Tactile Displays. Proc. IEEE Haptics Symposium, 2018.

    B. Dandu, I. Kuling, Y. Visell, Where Are My Fingers? Assessing Multi-Digit Proprioceptive Localization. Proc. IEEE Haptics Symposium, 2018.

    J. van der Lagemaat, I. Kuling, Y. Visell, Tactile Distances Are Greatly Underestimated in Perception and Motor Reproduction. Proc. IEEE Haptics Symposium, 2018.

    M. A. Janko, Z. Zhao, M. Kam, Y. Visell, A partial contact frictional force model for finger-surface interactions. Proc. IEEE Haptics Symposium, 2018.