Museum of Sensory & Movement Experiences

New Santa Barbara Museum Featuring Interactive Media Art Opens in La Cumbre Plaza

Allison Strachan (left) and Alexandra Wardwell check out the Video Organism installation at the Museum of Sensory and Movement Experience at La Cumbre Plaza. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss
Isabella Pinter demonstrates the Heart Space installation at the Museum of Sensory and Movement Experience at La Cumbre Plaza. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss

Tucked away along the central pedestrian pathway of La Cumbre Plaza, there’s an innovative new museum that offers an invigorating alternative to traditional gallery going. The brainchild of media artist Marco Pinter, the Museum of Sensory & Movement Experiences (MSME) turns each individual visitor into the energetic source of a unique experience. By engaging with interactive artworks that respond to their movements, people see themselves in unexpected ways. 

As with virtual reality, how you move determines the outcome. Unlike in VR, there are no headsets, joysticks, or wearables. Although these digital avatars resemble life-sized colored shadows, they act like nimble dance partners rather than simple copycats.  

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“Fluid Connections” and “Time Dilation,” works by Pinter that fill the museum’s first gallery, capture the heart of the MSME aesthetic. In “Fluid Connections,” the viewer controls a colorful projection with graceful extensions that appear to flow from one’s extremities. When two people are in the space together, their hand extensions can connect to form one long visual umbilical. No physical contact is necessary — the image makes the connection. On another wall, “Time Dilation” creates multiples of your body, with each iteration moving at a slight delay. Both pieces encourage dance-like engagement to get what’s on the walls to do interesting and unexpected things. 

Subsequent gallery spaces explore further ramifications of body-based displays, inviting viewers to use not only their movements but also their metabolisms to leave visible traces and send audible signals. In “Heartspace,” created by Alan Macy, Alex Stahl, Dominique Reboul, and Garrett Staab, (sanitized) touch turns heartbeats into throbbing techno basslines. “Oscilla,” by Xindi Kang and Rodney Duplessis, renders vocal inflections as abstract visuals, initiating a feedback loop that allows visitors to “draw” with their voices. Works by Elisa Ortega Montilla and Ethan Turpin provide further layers of intention and juxtaposition. The museum can be seen and experienced in under an hour, but it invites multiple visits as the works unfold through repeated use. Visit or call (805) 233-3395 for tickets and information.

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