Maggie Orth is a technology artist, former entrepreneur, and writer whose creative work explores our human and subjective relationship with technology. Her artistic relationship with technology began at MIT’s Media Lab, where she was an early practitioner in e-textiles and wearables.
After earning a PhD at MIT’s Media Lab in 2001, Orth spent ten years creating electronic-textile art and wearable technology at her company International Fashion Machines, (IFM). Her art includes textiles that change color under computer control, fabric sensor and light pieces, and robotic public art. At IFM, Orth also wrote patents, conducted research, and developed her own technology and design products, including the Pom-Pom Dimmer.
Driven to more deeply explore our human relationship with technology, in 2012 Orth returned solely to her art practice, seeking to create new work about technology’s impact on both the environment and our humanity. To more fully explore these themes, Orth also began to write both fiction and creative non-fiction.
In 2007, Orth was named a USA Target Fellow by United States Artists and received an unrestricted grant of $50,000. Recent exhibitions include Textile Messages at University of Washington Bellingham. Her work has been exhibited at Bumbershoot, the Museum of Science, Boston MA; NTT ICC, InterCommuncication Center, Japan; The National Textile Museum, Washington DC; The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; The DeCordova Museum MA; SIGGRAPH, and Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria; Zero 1, San Jose, CA; and MUDAC, The Museum de Design D’Arts Contemporains, Lausanne, Switzerland; The City of San Jose Public Art Program, San Jose Airport, CA.
Orth’s op-ed Forget Big Brother, Fear Little Brother appeared in the Washington Post in 2017. The Final Frontier: Other Minds, a chapter in “Embodied Minds,” edited by Andrew Illias, MIT Press, will be published later in 2018. Her academic essays are published in The Digital Turn, Design in the Era of Interactive Technologies, by Zane Bernina; and Textile Message, Dispatches from the World of E-Textiles and Education, by Leah Buechley.
Publications featuring Orth’s visual artwork include: Time Magazine; Wired; ID Magazine; Craft; The Seattle Times; Boston Globe; Art and Science Now by Steven Wilson; Warp and Weft by Jessica Hemmings; and International Design Yearbook, 2007.
Orth holds a PhD in Media Arts and Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Media Lab. She also earned a Masters of Science from MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She has also holds three certificates in creative non-fiction and literature from the University of Washington.