MAT Seminar Series 2017-2018


Fall 2017

Art and Xenopolitics in the Anthropocene

Ewen Chardronnet

Monday, October 2, 2017, 1PM

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.

Bio: 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.

The Social Construction of New Digital Musical Instruments

Michael Gurevich

Monday, October 16, 2017, 1PM

Elings Hall, room 1601


Abstract: 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.

Bio: 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.

VIRTUOSITY VX (Virtual Experience): A Hybrid Approach to Delivering the Promise of Interactive Storyworlds

Scott Ross and Brett Leonard

Monday, October 30, 2017, 1PM

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”.

The Tangle of Art and Research

Rebecca Allen

Monday, November 6, 2017, 1PM

Elings Hall, room 1601


Abstract: 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.

Bio: 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.

The realities/pitfalls of developing games in an academic setting

Magda El Zarki

Monday, November 20, 2017, 1PM

Elings Hall, room 1601


Abstract: 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.

Bio: 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.

Distributed Computing in Media Arts

Andres Cabrera

Monday, December 4, 2017, 1PM

Elings Hall, room 1605


Abstract: 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.

Bio: 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.

Winter 2018

From SubArctic to RainForest and the Caribbean: Fieldwork and Exhibition Design

Andres Burbano

Monday, January 8, 2018, 1PM

Elings Hall, room 1601


Abstract: 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 professor 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.

Bio: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."

Deviant Resonances—Improvising Evolution

David Rosenboom

Monday, January 29, 2018, 1PM

Elings Hall, room 1601

David Rosenboom
Photo Credit: Rafael Hernandez

Abstract: 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.

Bio: 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.



Since 1998, the Media Arts and Technology graduate program hosts a periodic seminar series. The transdisciplinary nature of our program is also reflected in the diverse range of fields our speakers come from: engineering, electronic music, art and science.



Most of our seminar talks take place at Elings Hall, room 1601 or ESB room 2001