The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Rachel Egenhoefer: How I Fell in Love with Binary Numbers

Rachel Egenhoefer (UCSD Art) Graduate

Examining the relationship between algorithmic patterns of computer programing, knitting, and movement Rachel Egenhoefer sought to draw similarities between actions that might not seemingly be presented together. A knitting machine was used to explore the relationship between computing and knitting on constructional and theoretical levels. The knitting machine had the capabilities to allow real time programming of knitting patterns. This unique fusion of  mediums is one that had been relatively unexplored, leaving room for exploration and growth of new ideas.

About the Artist: Rachel Beth Egenhoefer considers her Commodore 64 Computer and Fisher Price Loom to be defining objects of her childhood. She is an artist, designer, writer, and professor. Her work explores the intersections between textiles, technology and the body, on historical, constructional and conceptual levels. Her work often incorporates tactile elements such as candy, knitting and machines to represent intangible computer codes and conceptual spaces.

Rachel Beth received her BFA from the Fiber department with a concentration in Digital Video from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She was an MFA fellow at the University of California, San Diego where she also was a graduate researcher at UCSD’s Center for Research and Computing in the Arts (CRCA).

Egenhoefer’s artistic work has been exhibited both locally and internationally in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, London, Beijing, Madrid, and more.  Her work has been included in major exhibitions such as the Options 2002 Biennial in Washington DC, the 2003 Boston Cyber Arts FestivalISEA 2004 in Tallinn Estonia, La Noche en Blanco in Madrid, and at The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, The Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) London, The Banff Centre for the Arts, Lighthouse Brighton in the UK, and many others.

As a designer Egenhoefer’s work can be seen on Regina Spektor’s Begin To Hope Album (Warner Brothers, 2006), as well as in both local and international publications such as Art Forum, The San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Rachel Beth worked for two consecutive seasons as the Web and Program Manager at Yerba Buena Arts & Events/ Yerba Buena Gardens Festival in San Francisco designing programs, banners, and web content for the non-profit organization that provides free arts programming to the city.

Rachel Beth formerly worked on the editorial staff of Artbyte Magazine in New York City, and continues freelance writing on art, modern society and digital culture.  She is a regular blog contributor for, an alternative space in London, on the web, and around the world for artists, programmers, writers, activists, musicians and thinkers who explore beyond traditional remits.  Egenhoefer regularly publishes and presents papers and panels at conferences both locally and internationally.

Egenhoefer is currently an Assistant Professor in Design in the Department of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco.  Before coming to USF, she had taught in Art and Design programs at the University of California San Diego, San Jose State University, San Mateo Community College, San Francisco State University, and others.

Rachel Beth currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Lab – an interdisciplinary arts organization supporting the development and presentation of new visual, performing, media, sonic and literary art in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Rachel Beth was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When not traveling, she lives in Oakland and works in San Francisco, California. She enjoys making waffles, collects snow globes, and likes to swim.

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