Artist Benjamin Grosser focuses on the cultural, social, and political effects of software. What does it mean for human creativity when a computational system can paint its own artworks? How is an interface that foregrounds our friend count changing our conceptions of friendship? Why do we become emotionally attached to software systems and what does this attachment enable for those who made them? To examine questions like these, he constructs interactive experiences, machines, and systems that make the familiar unfamiliar, revealing the ways that software prescribes our behavior and thus, how it changes who we are.
Grosser’s works have been exhibited at major international venues, exhibitions, and festivals, including Eyebeam in New York, The White Building in London, Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice (Italy), FILE in São Paulo (Brazil), Media Art Futures Festival in Murcia (Spain), Athens Digital Arts Festival (Greece), Piksel in Bergen (Norway), WRO Media Art Biennale in Wroclaw (Poland), The Public Private at the New School in New York, and Museum Ludwig in Cologne (Germany). His work is currently on view as part of SECRET at Science Gallery in Dublin, Ireland and DATA DRIFT at the kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga, Lativa. Upcoming exhibitions include WHIT3CU.be (online), Space Sight at the Cultural Center of European Space Technologies in Slovenia, and a solo exhibition titled Systems Under Liberty at Galerie Charlot in Paris.
His artworks have been featured in Wired, The Atlantic, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, Creative Applications Network, Neural, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, FastCoDesign, Gizmodo, Engadget, Al Jazeera, Corriere della Sera, El País, Der Spiegel, and The New Aesthetic. The Huffington Post said of his Interactive Robotic Painting Machine that “Grosser may have unknowingly birthed the apocalypse.” The Chicago Tribune called him the “unrivaled king of ominous gibberish.” Slate referred to his work as “creative civil disobedience in the digital age.”
Grosser’s work is the subject of scholarly publications by himself and others. Recent journals publishing his writing include Computational Culture, Hz, and Media-N; he also presents this work at conferences such as Unlike Us at the Institute of Network Cultures, the Electronic Literature Organization, and Theorizing the Web. His artwork and scholarship is discussed in many academic publications, including Thinking Through Digital Media by Dale Hudson and Patricia R. Zimmerman, Artful Media: Machines Learning Culture in IEEE MultiMedia by Aisling Kelliher, and the third edition of Christiane Paul’s book Digital Art.
His recognitions include First Prize in VIDA 16, an international award that recognizes works investigating art and artificial life, a Net Art Grant and Commission from Rhizome, the Expanded Media Award for Network Culture from the Stuttgarter Filmwinter, an award and commission from Terminal, and an award from Creative Divergents.
Grosser is an Assistant Professor at the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and a Faculty Affiliate at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) working in the area of critical technology studies. His research into artificially-intelligent creative systems is funded by DARPA’s Communicating with Computers program. Prior to his current appointments, Grosser earned an MFA in new media and an MM in music composition (both from Illinois), and was the Director of the Imaging Technology Group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.