Chloe Bensahel

2023-24 Ida Ely Rubin Artist in Residence

Chloe Bensahel's Body Memory, 2021. Performed at the National Archives (INHA) in Paris. Interactive performance, secondhand shirt, embroidery, conductive thread, sound system, mini LED lights. Image courtesy of the artist.
Chloe Bensahel's Words Weave Worlds, 2019. Interactive tapestry installation, conductive thread, linen, sound system, computer, led lights, metallic structure, sounds composed and recorded by Caroline Shaw, engineering led by Jonathan Tanant, supported by Google Jacquard, the Google Arts and Culture Foundation, and Le Mobilier National. Image courtesy of the artist.
Chloe Bensahel's Words Weave Worlds, 2019. Interactive tapestry installation, conductive thread, linen, sound system, computer, led lights, metallic structure, sounds composed and recorded by Caroline Shaw, engineering led by Jonathan Tanant, supported by Google Jacquard, the Google Arts and Culture Foundation, and Le Mobilier National. Image courtesy of the artist.
Chloe Bensahel's Suffocating Beauty. Hand-woven interactive tapestry, conductive thread, sound system, LED sound system, linen, invasive plant species, wool. Image courtesy of the artist.

Exploring smart textiles: weaving memory through innovation

About the Project

Zach Lieberman and the MIT Media Lab Future Sketches group hosts CAST Visiting Artist Chloe Bensahel to conduct new research around textile and memory, building on MIT’s legacy as the first place to weave memory technologies.

Chloe Bensahel considers textiles to be containers of information, carrying language, stories, and belief systems woven in by the human mind. Her recent work uses conductive thread technologies to create textiles that can “speak” their own stories through elements like sound and light. At MIT, Bensahel will dive into historical innovations that harnessed textiles as potent forms of code in order to create new memory technologies using traditional textile techniques.

Bensahel will lead a textile workshop and collaborate with a community of artists and research scientists shaping the future of textiles at the MIT Media Lab and in the Art, Culture, and Technology program at MIT.

Schedule

Upcoming Events

After Dark: Threads
Thursday, March 14, 2024 / 6:00-9:00pm
MIT Museum, Gambrill Center
314 Main Street, Building E-28
Cambridge, MA 02142

After Dark is an adults-only, after-hours event that takes place in the MIT Museum on the second Thursday of every month. Each event is themed, and full of science and surprises. In March 2024, explore traditional textile techniques, emerging technologies, and everything in between. Artist talks by Chloe Bensahel, 2023-24 Ida Ely Rubin Artist in Residence, and Ganit Goldstein, Masters Candidate in the Computation group at MIT Architecture and Research Assistant at the MIT Self Assembly Lab; felt painting activities; smart textile demos; and more. Delicious dumplings from Mei Mei and tasty brews from Aeronaut available for purchase.

Register to attend

Biography

Rooted in textiles, performance, and installation, CAST Visiting Artist Chloe Bensahel’s work addresses the relationship between narrative and material, text, and textile. Inspired by her own intergenerational history of migration (Algeria, Morocco, France, USA), she examines how materials carry stories the way bodies do, sometimes covertly as embodied or coded language.

Website: chloebensahel.com
Social: Instagram 

Collaborators at MIT

Zach Lieberman, Adjunct Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and leader of the Future Sketches Group, is an artist, researcher, and educator who creates opportunities for surprise. His performances and installations amplify human gestures—by making drawings come to life, imagining what the sound of a voice might look like, or transforming people’s silhouettes into music.

Biography: MIT Media Lab
Website: zach.li 
Social: Instagram | YouTube


Artist and architectural historian, Azra Akšamija is the Director of the MIT Future Heritage Lab, an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture, and the Director of the Art, Culture, and Technology program at MIT.

In her multidisciplinary work, Akšamija investigates the politics of identity and memory. Her projects explore creative responses to conflict and crisis, and provide a framework for analyzing and intervening in contested sociopolitical realities.

Biography: Art, Culture & Technology Program at MIT
Website: azraaksamija.net  and futureheritagelab.com


Technical support:
Jesse Jur, Director of Technical Program Development at Advanced Functional Fabrics of America
Frannie Logan, Textile Technologist at Advanced Functional Fabrics of America


Supported by a grant from the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology and co-presented with the Art, Culture, and Technology Program at MIT and the MIT Media Lab.