Creative research at the intersection of media art, design, and technology is my main line of inquiry. My focus is in the areas of fashion technology, digital fabrication, material explorations, interactivity, and open source technologies. My research is collaborative and more information on my longstanding creative research collaboration with Markus Vogl, MFA under the name //benitez_vogl can be found under Interdisciplinary Collaboration. //benitez_vogl creates work that is inherently interdisciplinary in nature and explores many conceptual approaches, resulting in sonifications, visualizations, installations and tools for artists. We currently have several creative projects in our studio being researched simultaneously. Having multiple concurrent projects helps with the ebb and flow that occurs with production milestones. I currently also collaborate with faculty in the Physics, Podiatry and Liquid Crystal Departments and look forward to working with others across Kent State University.

I have been able to fund my creative research through both internal and external grants. The largest creative research collaboration I have been involved with was for S.A.R.A.. S.A.R.A. (Synesthetic Augmented Reality Application) is an interactive software application (App) written for mobile computing devices. The project was initially funded thru a National Endowment of the Arts New Media Artworks grant. S.A.R.A. creates its own sounds and visuals based on the mobile device’s camera video input and onboard sensors. We began collaborating with Kimberly Karpanty and her Travesty Dance Group in July 2012 to showcase the features of the open source app via performances. The choreography is semi-improvised. The dancers wear the device strapped to their wrists in conjunction with a mini projector. The app produces the video and the sound based on the camera input and the movement of the dancers. We were able to further the performance aesthetic via a second round of funding through several interdisciplinary grants to create LED light costumes for the dancers to wear. The app was released in September 2014 to great reviews and has been downloaded over 800 times. S.A.R.A. has won the 2014 Design Exhibition Jury Award for Best Aesthetic Design.

My creative research has been exhibited on five continents – internationally at venues in Germany, Austria, Hong Kong, Singapore, Venezuela, China, and nationally in Miami, Chicago and New York. I have presented research inpeer reviewed papers at conferences such as the Beijing International Textile Apparel research symposium, South by South West in Austin, TX and at the Shapeshifting conference in Auckland, New Zealand. I have presented my work at several artist talks and panels, have raised over $200,000 in grants.

Artist Statement

Self-reflection on technology and its implications on our daily lives are the main themes I prefer to contemplate. A hybrid art praxis allows for questioning contemporary issues such as exploring the mediation of information in our lives. My works integrate high tech/low tech materials from fiber, sound and art + technology practices.

Research Threads of Interest

• DIY + open-source technologies shifting the role of the consumer to one of a producer
• The use of open-source technologies, collaboration and artistic research
• Open-source design and fashion
• Alternative production systems + methods of production
• E-textiles // Soft computing
• Wearable computing // Fashion technology
• CAD/CAM technology and artist appropriation
• Pedagogy + technology
• Material explorations + experimentation
• Techtonic textiles // interactive architecture + interiors
• Interactivity and Interfaces
• Jacquard weaving technologies and artists use
• Surveillance, data-mining and privacy issues
• Sonification + visualization of data

Fall 2010 – Spring 2015

Research Bullet Points

  • Presented and exhibited on 4 continents

  • 25 Art Exhibitions:

    • 1 Solo Exhibition

    • 4 Regional Juried Exhibitions

    • 10 Regional Invited Exhibitions

    • 6 National Juried Exhibitions

    • 4 International Juried Exhibitions

  • 28 S.A.R.A. Performances

  • 8 Conference Presentations:
    • 6 Papers
    • 1 Poster
    • 1 Panel Chair

  • 13 Grants Funded for a total of $87,500 and $20,000 in kind

  • 4 Journal Publications

  • 5 Conference Proceedings

  • 7 Artist Talks

  • 6 Panels

  • 8 Exhibitions Curated

  • International Award for the S.A.R.A. Project​