MARCH     4  



  What is Happening Over There?
MONDAY. JANUARY.28TH. 2019 · 1PM · ROOM 1601 (California NanoSystems Institute CNSI)


David Bowen is a studio artist and educator whose work has been featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. Bowen’s work consists of interactive, reactive and generative processes that emerge from intersections between natural and mechanical systems. He is currently an Associate Professor of Sculpture and Physical Computing at the University of Minnesota.

Using intersections between natural and mechanical systems, David Bowen produces unique relationships within his sculpture and installation. With robotics, custom software, sensors, tele-presence and data, he constructs devices and situations that are set in motion to interface with the physical and virtual world. The devices he constructs often play both the roles of observer and creator, providing limited and mechanical perspectives of dynamic situations and living systems. These devices and situations create a dissonance that leads to an incalculable changeable situation resulting in unpredictable outcomes. The phenomenological outputs are collaborations between the natural form or function, the mechanism and the artist.





MONDAY. FEBRUARY.4TH. 2019 · 1PM · ROOM 1601 (California NanoSystems Institute CNSI)




START IT UP - a round table discussion on the pathways towards starting a business connected to research conducted within the University at large and MAT in particular.


Round table participants:

- David Adornetto, Enterpreneurship Program Director, Technology Management Program
- Kristin Denault (founder/CEO of Fluency Lighting Technologies) 
- George Legrady, Professor MAT
- Alan Macy, Research and Development director and founder of Biopac Systems Inc.
- Tal Margalith, CNSI executive director of technology, CNSI Technology Incubator
- Sherylle Mills Englander, UCSB Office of Technology & Industry Alliances
- Evan Strenk (founder/CEO of Milo Sensors) 
- Matthew Turk, Chair Computer Science Department, Professor MAT

Moderator: Marko Peljhan, Chair and Professor, MAT





"The stars look very different today"
(David Bowie)

MONDAY. FEBRUARY.11TH. 2019 · 1PM · ROOM 1601 (California NanoSystems Institute CNSI)



The talk will explore the implications of space as an environment for future habitation both materially and conceptually. Research and development projects of LIQUIFER - implemented as part of the European space exploration programme - highlight topics of living with limited resources, in limited spaces and living self-sufficiently. The basis of LIQUIFER’s work constitute concept studies for lunar and Martian bases as well as building prototypes set within future scenarios for living on earth and in space. Arts-based and basic research in the fields of biomimetics and integrating biological systems into architecture add to the circular systems perspective of future narratives for our extended world.


Barbara Imhof is a space architect, researcher and educator. She is also the co-founder and co-manager of LIQUIFER Systems Group that comprises experts from the fields of architecture, design, human factors, systems engineering and science. Their space related projects focus on feasibility and scenario studies as well as designing and building mock-ups and prototypes. LIQUIFER partners with renowned research institutions and well-known enterprises to conduct research and technology development through contracts with the European Space Agency, the space industry and with the EU-Framework Programmes and other funding bodies.

As project lead Barbara currently works on the Gateway project, designing the habitat module for the next International Space Station in a lunar orbit. She also led projects such as SHEE, a Self-deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments, the first built European simulation habitat. The SHEE habitat became part of another LIQUIFER project named MOONWALK, developed to test human-robot collaborations in two space simulation missions in Rio Tinto and subsea. In addition, Barbara pursues projects in the field of biomimetics and losed-loop systems such as Living Architecture - in collaboration with Rachel Armstrong - and GrAB–Growing As Building which looks at growth principles in nature and their proto-architectural translations towards self-growing buildings.




Participatory Strategies in Interactive Art


Professors and Heads of the Interface Cultures Program at the University of Art and Design Linz, Austria

Artists and designers in the area of interactive art have been conducting artistic research in human-machine interaction for a number of years now. Interaction and interface design have not only had their roots in human computer engineering but have also seen parallel developments in media art. It is interesting to see where early notions of interactivity and user participation came from and how artists over the past 40 or more years have already looked at the merits of audience involvement in their artistic work. In this lecture artistic and social notions of interactivity will be addressed and specific examples of the artistic works by Sommerer and Mignonneau as well as the Interface Cultures Department at the University of Art in Linz will be presented.



Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau are internationally renowned media artist, researcher and pioneer of interactive art.  After working, researching and teaching in the US and Japan for 10 years, they set up the department for Interface Cultures at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria. Sommerer is also currently also a Visiting Professor at CAFA Central Academy of Fines Arts Bejing, she was an Obel Guest Professor at Aalborg University in Denmark, and a Visiting Professor  at Tsukuba University Department of Empowerment Informatics in Japan. Laurent Mignoneau was also Chaire International Guest Professor at the Université Paris 8 in Paris, France. Sommerer and Mignonneau created around 30 interactive artworks, which have been shown in around 300 international exhibitions. They have received numerous awards: the BEEP Award at ARCO Art Fair in Madrid in 2016, the 2012 Wu Guanzhong Art and Science Innovation Prize which was bestowed by the  Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China; the 1994 Golden Nica Prix Ars Electronica, among others.

More information is available at:

Currently a selection of Sommerer & Mignonneau interactive artworks is presented in their first US retrospective exhibition at the BEALL Art Center at UC Irvine:


  A Media Archaeology of Vector Graphics lecture (public)
MONDAY. FEBRUARY.25TH. 2019 · 1PM · ROOM 1601 (California NanoSystems Institute CNSI)

Derek Holzer (USA 1972) is a sound+light artist based in Helsinki & Berlin, whose current interests include DIY electronics, audiovisual instrument building, the relationship between sound and space, media archaeology, and participatory art forms. He has performed live, taught workshops and created scores of unique instruments and installations since 2002 across Europe, North and South America, and New Zealand.


The development of any kind of media technology combines utopian and dystopian tendencies, and nowhere is that more true than in the development of computer vector graphics. Taking the activation of the AN/FSQ-7 computers at the heart of the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) defense stations in the United States in 1958 as its starting point, this talk explores the military/scientific legacy at the heart of modern computing and attempts by artists of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s to decouple these tools from their destructive origins. |




“Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.” Francis Bacon
MONDAY. MARCH.4TH. 2019 · 1PM · ROOM 1601 (California NanoSystems Institute CNSI)



The talk will explore how to find ideas - an intersection of entrepreneurship, art, and research.



Adam Kearney is currently a Knowledge Engineer at Amazon working on Alexa. Formerly, he was the Founder and CEO of Propsboard, which helped companies broadcast employee recognition to their office TVs. Before that, he was the Founder and CEO of The Connectome - a music intelligence platform with over 15,000 musicologists contributing data. The Connectome was acquired in October 2015.

Adam was on the leadership board of Philly Startup Leaders where he co-founded a Startup Bootcamp, as well as the PSL Accelerator. He also serves on the board of The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College.


  From Ego to Eco
MONDAY. MARCH.11TH. 2019 · 1PM · ROOM 1601 (California NanoSystems Institute CNSI)

Özge Samanci, a media artist and graphic novelist, is an associate professor in Northwestern University’s School of Communication. Her interactive installations have been exhibited internationally. In her art works she merges the procedural power of computer code with comics, animation, interactive narrations, sculpture, projection art and performance. Her work motivates awareness on rather gloomy subjects such as the collapsing balance between nature and culture and the impact of ego. Her autobiographical graphic novel Dare to Disappoint (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2015) has been translated into five languages and was positively reviewed in The New York Times, The Guardian, Slate and others.


Humanity's relationship with the natural world is multifaceted. Due in part to our sensory system, we perceive an illusionary boundary between our bodies and the rest of the world. While we are an extension of the universe, we are destroying the eco with our ego. For example, humans forget that we evolved from the oceans and now we are destroying the source of our origins. Our human impact is collective and massive, leading to narrations of environmental cataclysm and points-of-no-return. These repeated environmental narrations are turning into clichés. We are developing a resistance to hearing the core of the problem. Can media art help to overcome this collective immunity? In this talk, I will explore some of my interactive installations made to internalize Donna Haraway’s theory: humans are not superior to any ecosystem and they exist in the intertwined web of all ecosystems as an extension of the planet.











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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.

They are all free and open to the public.

> Archive 2015-2016
> Archive 2016-2017

Most of our seminar talks take place at Elings Hall (CNSI. California NanoSystems Institute), room 1601 & 1605. See each talk's information for the final location.

> UCSB Interactive Campus Map
> UCSB Parking





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The 2018/2019 Seminar Series is supported by the generous support of the Media Arts and Technology Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the Chair's Fund at MAT,  Prof. Yon Vissel, The Systemics Lecture Series, The UCSB College of Engineering, The UCSB College of Humanities and Fine Arts.