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, Arebyte in London, Museu das Comunicações in Lisbon, FILE in São Paulo, Digital Arts Festival in Athens, Piksel in Bergen, WRO Media Art Biennale in Wroclaw, Science Gallery in Dublin, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Kunsthaus Langenthal in Switzerland, and Galerie Charlot in Paris. Upcoming exhibition venues include Science Gallery in London, and the Stuttgarter Filmwinter in Germany. His work is currently on view as part of The Wrong — New Digital Art Biennale (here, here, here, and here), and the Accès)s( Festival in France.
His artworks have been featured in Wired, The Atlantic, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Neural, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, FastCoDesign, Al Jazeera, Corriere della Sera, El País, and Der Spiegel. 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, Media-N, and Big Data and Society; he has also presented 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 books and journals, including The New Aesthetic and Art, Thinking Through Digital Media, Technologies of Vision: The War Between Data and Images by Steve F Anderson, How to Be a Geek: Essays on the Culture of Software by Matthew Fuller, 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, and an award and commission from Terminal.
Grosser is an Assistant Professor of New Media in the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, co-founder of the Critical Technology Studies Lab at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and a faculty affiliate at the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and the Illinois Informatics Institute. Prior to Grosser’s current appointments, he 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.