Artist and composer 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 artworks have been featured in Wired, The Atlantic, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, Creative Applications Network, Neural, Rhizome, Make, FastCoDesign, Gizmodo, Engadget, 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.” His Facebook Demetricator was part of Public Assembly at The White Building in London and The Public Private at Parsons in New York curated by Christiane Paul. Grosser’s ScareMail was recently part of PRISM Breakup at Eyebeam in New York and the London CryptoFestival at Goldsmiths. Grosser’s current exhibitions include Exuberant Politics at the University of Iowa and the Arte Laguna Prize Finalist Exhibition in Venice, Italy. Later this year his work will be part of Theorizing the Web in Brooklyn, the Electronic Literature Organization in Milwaukee, Print Screen in Tel Aviv, Viral Dissonance at Ithaca College, and the FILE Festival in São Paulo, Brazil. His recognitions include curation into the Rhizome ArtBase and awards from Terminal and Creative Divergents.
Grosser’s sound synthesis research was funded by the Illinois Campus Research Board and received an Arnold O Beckman Award. His scientific visualizations have been screened at SIGGRAPH and honored by the National Science Foundation. His research into imaging, virtual instrumentation, and telepresence received NASA’s Software Award, and was covered by the New York Times and National Public Radio.
Grosser holds an MFA in new media and an MM in music composition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he now teaches in the School of Art & Design.