Scholar Blends Art and Technology in Textiles and Fashion
Scholar of the Month
College of the Arts
Margarita Benitez is an assistant professor of fashion design in the Fashion School of the College of the Arts. Her interdisciplinary focus on interactivity in textiles and fashion blends art and technology, interface design, tangible computing, 3D, architecture and fiber and material studies.
She received a New Media Artworks grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to design a sleeve pocket holding an iPod programmed with software to capture and project sound and imagery. Its public debut was in the costumes of Travesty Dance Group of Cleveland, where the dancers displayed digitized versions of their movements in a light show accompanying their performance. Ultimately, the technology that Benitez developed could find other uses – in physical therapy and medicine, for example.
Benitez’s recent research involves working on OSLOOM, an open-source thread-controlled loom driven by microcontrollers. It will enable weavers who cannot afford a $60,000 floor loom to build their own thread-controlled loom from supplies they can find locally.
In 2013, Benitez was awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research in Vienna, Austria, on a movement of artists, architects, designers and craftsmen that flourished there in the early 20th century – the Wiener Werkstätte.
Benitez previously served as a part-time faculty member in the Department of Art and Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and as an adjunct professor in the Fashion Design program at the Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago.
Benitez received her Master of Fine Arts in Art and Technology Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Florida International University and her Bachelor of Science in Media Arts & Animation from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.
About Kent State’s Scholar of the Month
Kent State’s Scholar of the Month recognizes faculty researchers and scholars whose recent work has had an important impact on their professional fields and has brought exposure to the university. Each month, a different college will have the opportunity to nominate a researcher/scholar for this recognition. There is also a month when a faculty member from the Regional Campuses will be featured.
The selection process is in the hands of the dean and his or her colleagues and faculty. Hence, this is recognition by the person’s college colleagues that is then taken up by the university. The deans communicate the person’s name to the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs for recognition as Scholar of the Month.