open thread wien aimed at developing a generative, “open design” fashion collection in Vienna which is based on data obtained in Vienna and using the Wiener Werkstätte as an aesthetic point of departure in the inspiration of the collection. This project was executed as a collaborative between Margarita Benitez (fashion design) and Markus Vogl (graphic design) and took place at Museumsquartier Wien during May and June 2013.

The Wiener Werkstätte was established in 1903 as a production community of progressive artists and designers. The collective was committed to designing art that would be accessible to everyone which is also true for the ideology behind open design.

The research traced the Viennese roots of the art movement within some of the amazing archives located in Vienna, including the incredible collection of the “Universität für angewandte Kunst.” Please see some of the blog entries for images of these wonderful archives.

The theme of this particular collection is open thread and has a similar principal than the Wiener Werkstätte: Better to work 10 days on one product than to manufacture 10 products in one day. The collection’s textile prints have been created from images mined in Vienna and have been manipulated through generative code. open thread stands for the collection being “open” meaning the patterns are available for free under a creative commons license (please check the license section for this.)

The design of the garments and the patterns have been created during the artist residence and directly react to the findings of the research.

Please check the “LOOKS” section for its outcome.

Margarita Benitez and Markus Vogl collaboration is named //benitez_vogl and develops work within a hybrid art praxis. They question contemporary issues concerning technology, such as exploring the mediation of information in our lives. Their works integrate installations, high tech/low tech materials from fiber, sound and art + technology practices. They have been collaborating since 2000 on interactive installations and sound works.


Margarita Benitez’ interdisciplinary background mixes art and technology, interface design, tangible computing, 3D, architecture and fiber/material studies. She received her MFA in Art + Technology Studies thru a Trustee Scholarship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to working with fashion technology and e-textiles, her current research explores the concept of pret-a-faire (ready-to-make) thru generative fashion applications and she is currently developing OSLOOM, an open source thread-controlled loom (funded thru Kickstarter and a Farris Family Fellowship Award.) Her work has been exhibited nationally, internationally and is part of museum and private collections. Most recently she presented her work at COLLIDER 4 :: SPECTACLE, at the BIFT/ITAA Symposium at Beijing, the New Media Art Caucus Artist showcase at the 100th Annual College Art Association Conference and at the 2012 Smart Fabrics Conference. She will be the Fulbright-Quartier21/MuseumsQuartier Artist-in-Residence for 2012-2013 for the project open thread : wien. She received a 2012 NEA Artworks Grant for co-curating the exhibition Shifting Paradigms of Identity: Creative Technology and Fashion and a 2012 NEA Media in Arts Grant for S.A.R.A.: Synesthetic Augmented Reality Application, a wearable synesthetic performance device. She is currently the Fashion Technologist and an Assistant Professor in Fashion Design at The Fashion School at Kent State University.

Markus Vogl is a NE Ohio based multimedia artist experimenting in multiple sensory experiences combining sound, environments and interactive installation. He has exhibited internationally in the U.S. and Europe and has been recognized in Leonardo magazine for his collaboration Circadian Capital. Markus is also a designer servicing clients like mun2 or mtv latino in his former Miami, FL business pixel foundry. He holds a Masters of Fine Art degree in New Media from Donau Universitaet Krems/transart institue.
Most recently his work was featured at COLLIDER 4 :: SPECTACLE and the BIFT/ITAA Symposium at Beijing. He has received the 2012 NEA Media in Arts Grant for S.A.R.A.: Synesthetic Augmented Reality Application, a wearable synesthetic performance device.
He currently is an Assistant Professor at the Myers School of Art at the University of Akron.