Systems Under Liberty at Galerie Charlot in Paris, France
I’m excited to share that opening this Friday, 27 Nov is my solo exhibition Systems Under Liberty at Galerie Charlot in Paris, France. I will exhibit a number of works: net art, installation, video, and more. As part of the show I am also launching a brand new work (stay tuned). You can see the catalog here.
While curator Valentina Peri and I were always framing the exhibition within ongoing debates of increased surveillance by the French government, we had no idea of the climate we’d find ourselves in as the opening nears. France (and the US) are using the latest terrorist attacks to argue for new expansions of state surveillance; I’ll be in Paris midway through the show to talk about my work within this rapidly shifting context.
A bit from Valentina Peri’s curator’s statement:
… Grosser approaches his subject matter through the lens of an artistic practice of «culture jamming», or cultural sabotage. [He] sets out to hijack software platforms that have become part and parcel of our everyday life through a tactic of «poaching». By imagining unintended applications and designing new extensions for Facebook, Gmail, Artificial Intelligence Systems, IP Localisators etc., the artist subverts the mechanics of IT services that are in the same time surveillance systems and data collectors. His ironic approach elicits an effect of detachment, which alerts users to some of their automatisms and to their place in the dominant cultural order. In so doing, Grosser lays the groundwork for an anti-discipline that enables us to assert ourselves as active historical subjects from within the current regime of technological power. A healthy antidote to passive victimhood and an instrument of peaceful resistance, his «digital disobedience» points towards chances of escape.
My thanks to Premio Arte Laguna and the University of Illinois College of Fine and Applied Arts for their partial financial support of this project.
The Music Obfuscator will alter music in order to evade Content ID systems
At this year’s PIKSEL festival in Bergen, Norway, I’m showing a preview of my in-progress work Music Obfuscator. The preview includes an eight track playlist demonstrating the current state of my obfuscation algorithms. Music Obfuscator has grown larger than I originally intended (which is why I’m showing a preview), but I expect to release it this spring (including all the research and code I’ve been doing as part of the project). I’m happy to once again be a part of PIKSEL, which is directed by Gisle Frøysland and curated by Maite Cajaraville. PIKSEL is spread across many venues in Bergen; my work will be up from 19-22 Nov at Ungdomshuset 1880.
Computers Watching Movies at DATA DRIFT in Riga, Latvia
My work Computers Watching Movies is part of the exhibition DATA DRIFT at the kim? Contemporary Art Center in Riga, Latvia. Curated by Lev Manovich, DATA DRIFT is part of the RIXC Art Science Festival. DATA DRIFT “showcases works by some of the most influential data designers of our time, as well as by artists who use data as their artistic medium. How can we use the data medium to represent our complex societies, going beyond “most popular,” and “most liked”? How can we organize the data drifts that structure our lives to reveal meaning and beauty? How to use big data to “make strange,” so we can see past and present as unfamiliar and new?” The exhibition is on view from 10 October to 22 November.
I was selected as a finalist for the Transitio MX Prize in Mexico City
I’m happy to share that I’ve been named a finalist for the Transitio_MX prize. Transitio_MX is an international electronic arts and video festival held at the National Arts Center in Mexico City, and “has become Mexico’s most important platform for expression and contemporary practices in artistic creation that are linked to technology, as well as hybrid productions created by the merge of art, science, technology and humanities.” My work Computers Watching Movies was selected as one of the seven finalists; the winner will be announced during the festival on September 29th. The festival opens on September 25th and runs through October 4th, and my work will be part of the festival exhibition as well.
SECRET at Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
This week I’m in Dublin, Ireland for the opening of SECRET, an exhibition at Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin. SECRET, which is curated by Julian Oliver, Tad Hirsch, Marie Redmond, and Ian Brunswick, is an international exhibition and events program that “explores the social and technological aspects of secrecy, particularly the future of surveillance, espionage, and privacy.” The exhibition opens on Thursday, August 6 at 18:00 with a launch party. On Friday at 1pm I’ll speak about my work in the gallery.
Before SECRET opens, I’ll give an extended artist’s talk for the Dublin Art and Technology Association (D.A.T.A). This talk is on Wednesday, August 5 from 7-9p at Dunlop Oriel House at the corner of Fenian St. & Westland Row. Thanks to Rachel O’Dwyer for hosting this.
Computers Watching Movies at Incubarte 7 in Valencia, Spain
Running from 18-21 June, Computers Watching Movies will be part of the video art program at Incubarte 7, an International Art Festival in Valencia, Spain. The program will exhibit at MuVIM, the Museu Valencià de la Il·lustració i la Modernitat. After the festival finishes, the works will stay on view throughout the month of July. Incubarte 7 is curated by Jorge Montalvo, Lourdes Casany, Emanuela Loprieno, Cristina Ghetti, Toni Cosin, Kasia Nagorska, and Javier Marisco.
Screenshot of interview with South Korea’s EBS program G News
In the last couple weeks, I’ve done interviews with two media outlets in South Korea. The first was a television interview on EBS’ nightly program G News (roughly the equivalent of the USA’s News Hour on PBS). You can watch the four minute segment on EBS’ website. The second was a radio interview on BEFM, an English language station in Busan (90.5 FM), for a program called Inside Out.
Both interviews were about Facebook Demetricator, how metrics drive behavior, and other questions around Facebook.
Thinking Through Digital Media by Dale Hudson and Patricia R. Zimmerman
My work ScareMail was written about in the recent book Thinking Through Digital Media: Transnational Environments and Locative Places. The book, by Dale Hudson and Patricia R. Zimmerman and published by Palgrave MacMillan, “…offers a means of conceptualizing digital media by looking at projects that think through digital media, migrating between documentary, experimental, narrative, animation, video game, and live performance.” ScareMail is featured in the chapter on micropublics:
ScareMail asks us to question the normalization of compromised privacy as a part of everyday life in the context of a country whose international clout has been historically anchored to its democratic principles. It also reflects upon racial profiling within automated national-security protocols. The user’s comfort with having NSA keywords in private e-mails is contingent upon knowledge of their place within racial-profiling schemes.
I appreciate the authors’ highlighting of “comfort” as a component of the choice to use or not use ScareMail. Unquestionably this choice has different consequences for different people depending on their race.
Previously I worked with Dale Hudson when he and Claudia Pederson curated Viral Dissonance at Ithaca College last year.
Public Space_s, this year’s theme at the Athens Digital Arts Festival
My work ScareMail will be on exhibit at the Athens Digital Arts Festival from May 21-24. Held in the center of Athens, Greece at the Diplareios School, the Festival’s theme is Public Space_s, highlighting …
the various aspects of “public” both in the digital and physical space. In our times, the notion of public space appears to be one of the most contradictory concepts while the rise of network and communication technologies has changed our experience of public space. Public space is not only characterised by physical space and architecture but also by networks and knowledge distribution. In this framework, we seek to redefine the multiple interconnected spaces within which we act and raise new questions in relation to the information age.
In addition to the exhibition I’ll be giving an invited artist talk on the evening of May 22. The festival program is directed by Katerina Gkoutziouli and the Webart section is curated by Foteini Vergidou.
ScareMail at 2015 WRO Media Art Biennale
Opening on 13 May, ScareMail will be part of the 2015 WRO Media Art Biennale in Wroclaw, Poland. Running through 17 May at venues throughout Wroclaw, the Biennale…
…is the major forum for new media art in Poland, and one of the leading international art events in Central Europe. Since its inception in 1989, WRO has been presenting art forms created using new media for artistic expression and communication, exploring current creative territories and building a critical perspective toward emerging issues in art, technology and society.
I’m happy to be a part of this major event directed by Piotr Krajewski.
Computers Watching Movies Reviewed in Neural
Been meaning to mention that in Neural #48, my work Computers Watching Movies is reviewed by Aurelio Cianciotta. In the review, titled Computers Watching Movies, films seen from digital entities, Cianciotta writes:
Questioning differences with us as humans driven by narrative, personal history and different pattern recognition abilities, the work also describes an uneasy scene: a movie purposely constructed to capture the imagination of a human audience being viewed by a silent other. Emotion, symbolism, metaphors and random associations are alien to the machine, which analyses on its own terms.
You can read the entire review online, or pickup a paper copy of issue #48. Neural is a magazine/journal from Italy that has focused on new media art, electronic music, and hacktivism since the ’90s. It is published in English and Italian and edited by Alessandro Ludovico.
I’ll be giving an artist talk at NCSA on 29 Apr at 12pm
On Wednesday, April 29, I’m giving an artist talk at NCSA on the UIUC campus. NCSA, also known as the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, is a hub on campus for visualization, big data, interdisciplinary research, and supercomputing resources. My talk, titled “What Does Software Want? Recent Artistic Projects and Research,” will be in room 1040 from 12-1pm. NCSA is located at 1205 W. Clark St in Urbana.
I’ll be presenting about ScareMail at Theorizing the Web 2015 in NYC
This week I’m off to NYC for Theorizing the Web 2015. I’ll be talking about ScareMail in a presentation titled “Privacy Through Visibility: Disrupting NSA Surveillance With Algorithmically Generated ‘Scary’ Stories.” Theorizing the Web is an interdisciplinary annual conference that “brings together scholars, journalists, activists, and commentators to ask big questions about the interrelationships between the Web and society.” It’s a great group of people, and I’m looking forward to attending for the second year in a row. The panel I’m on is titled “Watched Out” and is being held at 2pm in Studio A on 17 April.
Computers Watching Movies at Media Art Future Festival in Murcia, Spain
Computers Watching Movies will be part of this year’s Media Art Futures Festival in Murcia, Spain. The invitation comes from curator Pau Waelder, who has placed the work within the Data Cinema program. This program will be on view five different nights during the two week festival running from 15-30 April (see the Program for precise dates). The viewings will take place at the Filmoteca Regional.
Posters for Upcoming Invited Talks at Beloit College and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Next week I’ll head north to give a couple invited artist talks and workshops. First is Beloit College, where I’m speaking as part of the Liability Labs Incorporated (LLI) experimental residency program run by Nicki Werner. The second is a talk and workshop at Digital Humanities Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. This invitation comes from Marc Tasman and is sponsored by the Digital Arts and Culture Program. Here’s the abstract for my talk/workshop at UWM:
Hide the Metrics and Scare the NSA! Net Art as Artistic Research
When using Facebook, why do we want more “likes” and not less, and how does this “desire for more” change what we post for our friends? How does ubiquitous NSA surveillance affect what we write in an email and to whom we send it? Artist Ben Grosser will present two recent net art works that investigate these questions. The first, Facebook Demetricator, is a web browser extension that removes all quantifications from the Facebook interface, inviting the site’s users to try the system without the numbers and to see how that removal changes their experience. The second is ScareMail, a modification of Gmail that makes all email “scary” in order to disrupt NSA surveillance. Grosser will discuss how these works function as artistic research in order to investigate the social, cultural, and political effects of software. This talk will be followed by a workshop focused on the ways net art practices can reveal new information about the user/site relationship, and how a website’s design constructs user (inter)action. Participants will be guided to brainstorm specific website manipulations, and Grosser will prototype participant ideas in order to visualize and theorize their effects.
The talk at Beloit College is at 7pm on 1 Apr, and the talk/workshop at UWM is at 4pm on 2 Apr.