Past News


  • Professor Marko Peljhan will represent Slovenia at the 58th Venice Biennale, May 11 - November 24, 2019. Venice, Italy.
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    "System 319" at the Venice Biennale.

    Marko Peljhan’s work revolves around two fundamental aspects of the world today: the technological developments in communication, transport, and surveillance; and the highly complex systems of political, economic, and military power driving such developments and employing them in administration, control, production or military applications. The potentials of technology are introduced into art as a way of confronting the systems of governance and their strategies. Peljhan’s art has thus evolved into a process involving a cartography of "signal territories," an analysis of the role of technology in society, particularly as it relates to power structures, a reflection on the possibilities of a different, creative and resistant use of technological means, and, ultimately, the creation of socially useful models of resistant behaviors in the contemporary social system. The theatrical dimension of Peljhan’s art plays a crucial role in this; his best-known project Makrolab can in this sense be interpreted as a technological laboratory and a social stage based on the concept of micro-performance.

    At the Venice Biennale, Peljhan will present a work from his Resolution series. This series, which has evolved over some 20 years, proposes some specific material and applicable solutions to certain problems in society. It is the artist’s response to the state in which the world finds itself today, calling for a rediscovery of space and a utopian response to the rapid changes in the environment. In this sense, the autonomous vessel produced as part of the "Here we go again… SYSTEM 317" project is a colonizing, apocalyptic and pirating tool of sorts. In it, Peljhan brings together his vision, the potential for and the impossibility of a final exit from our rapidly deteriorating planetary conditions in a process he calls “reverse conversion.” He first employed this methodology in his "TRUST-SYSTEM" series, which focused on the conversion of cruise missile technology and later, unmanned systems for civil counter-reconnaissance. The artist proposes the construction of a counter-privateering machine intended for the days when the world’s great empires find themselves, once again, in confrontation—and one characterized by a grave lack of responsibility together with great destructive potential.


    The X-43A Hypersonic Experimental (Hyper-X) Vehicle in Benefield Aenechoic Facility at Edwards Air Force Base radio January 2000. Photo: Tom Tschida. Image courtesy of NASA.

  • "Repository", a virtual reality experience by MAT PhD student Weidi Zhang, is on display at the C X U Gallery, Los Angeles, from November 2 - November 16, 2019.
  • Humanity’s digital footprints in the vast data universe are duplicatable, transferrable and mutable. Deletion has become much harder than throwing a piece of paper into a shredder, which was first invented over a hundred years ago. Photos, videos, geographical tag or just simple texts living on social media platforms as the virtual presence of digitized human memories strengthen the power of machine computation and analysis while underlying the control from us. When we try to preserve or delete our own stories in the digital landscape, do we still have the authorship of them? Are they in a constant shift of meaning and representation?

    "Repository" is a virtual reality experience created around the issue and question of data authorship and data oblivion. It builds a world of data in motion merging the structure of a server farm (A place physically store data) with a paper shredder (A machine deconstruct data). Repository gradually transforms from a surreal bank safely stores memories into a space filled with floating shreds of letters and characters through assembling and fragmenting varies conversations borrowed from social media. Its non-linear narrativity, interactive experimental sound and surreal aesthetic provide a conceptualization of an alternative model of human-machine interaction, and questions whether we have the right to be forgotten, at the same time as the right to be remembered?


    The C X U Gallery is at 4950 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010.

  • MAT PhD candidate Sihwa Park will exhibit his work "Brand Logo Sonification" at IEEE VIS 2019 Arts Program, October 21-25 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He will also give an artist talk.
  • Brand Logo Sonification is an audiovisual installation that exists on the border between old and analog technology and new digital practices. It mainly represents the global top 10 brand ranking data and logos from 2000 to 2018 through an oscilloscope, which is an electronic analog instrument, by the computational digital processes of data visualization and sonification. Based on OpenCV image processing and a vector synthesis technique, it extracts the contours of logos and converts them to audio that can be rendered on a vector display, such as an oscilloscope or laser. While the contours chiefly determine sound textures, the ranking data contributes to the whole composition. Through this process combining analog and digital practices, this work also reveals that our society is getting more affected by digital and IT companies, such as Google, Apple, Amazon, or Facebook, than brands in traditional industries, as their ranking in the data becomes highly positioned over time.


  • "Borrowed Scenery", a VR project by MAT PhD student Weidi Zhang will be exhibited at the IEEE VIS 2019 Arts Program. October 21-25, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
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    Borrowed Scenery is a virtual reality experience that constructs an autobiographical spatial narrative that points to the deconstruction and reconstruction of cultural identity through experimental visualization of image data.

    Being exposed to diverse cultures enables us to continuously portray our own cultural identities through collaging our collective memories cross cultural boundaries. In this project, I utilized autobiographical threads to evoke the universal experience of alienation and displacement. Photographs of eastern and western motifs, symbols and landscapes, which are collected as raw source image data, are captured volumetrically mostly in two places - my hometown Suzhou (China) and my current living place Los Angeles (US). Visualizing those two groups of image data in the VR world change the way we percept the scalability of intersections, as we could navigate the space to play with different points of view. A non-linear narrative is created when the intelligent agents ( generated by image data) crossed over dynamically in the virtual world.

    The visualization methodology includes photogrammetry, shader programming, and intelligent system development. The pixel coordinates from those sets of image data are reconstructed as 3d coordinates of points on structures through automatic calibration. A customized shader is designed for the textures of those data-driven structures, which displaces and animates processed image pixels on vertices with layers of customized algorithms and 3d Voronoi Tessellation, collectively generates fragmental geometrical forms and fluid chaos. Those forms are programmed as intelligent agents to seek and wander in the environment, collide with others, die and get reborn. The system simulates how our cultural identities are evolved and how the ‘border’ is dynamically disturbed and reformed in the aesthetic and subject matter.


  • "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.
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    "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 Hannen (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.
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    "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.