Across societies and countries, dress has always played a pivotal role in cultural and political expression. Attire, especially when it comes to women's attire, figures in many parts of the world as a means of representing and expressing oneself (undressing religion, Linda Arthur).
Arabiia--by Ayah Bdeir--is a convertible outfit that looks at two opposing images of the Arab woman: the sexualized belly dancer and the veiled opressed woman. The costume is equipped with two servo motors and a switch. It enables the woman to flip modes between two extreme stereotypical representations typically attributed to arab women.
Ayah Bdeir is a second year masters student in the MIT Media Lab. She is a member of the Computing Culture Group, which creates unique technologies for cultural, political and media applications. She recently graduated from the American University of Beirut (AUB) with a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer and Communications Engineering and a minor in sociology.
Ayah's research in the Computing Culture Group looks at the role technologys plays in cross cultural communication; being both a vehicle for the representation of identities and a tool to create engaging dialogue amongst cultures.