Artist Ben Grosser focuses on the cultural, social, and political effects of software. How is an interface that foregrounds our friend count changing conceptions of friendship? Who benefits when a software system can intuit how we feel? What changes in democracy and society when platforms designed for growth and engagement become our primary window to the wider world? 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 exhibition venues include Eyebeam in New York, Somerset House and the Barbican Centre in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, SXSW in Austin, Museu das Comunicações in Lisbon, Museum Kesselhaus in Berlin, Science Gallery in Dublin, Harvard Art Museum in Cambridge, Japan Media Arts Festival in Tokyo, and the Digital Arts Festival in Athens. Recent solo exhibitions have included Software for Less at arebyte Gallery in London and the Aksioma Institute of Contemporary Art in Ljubljana. Upcoming exhibitions include the International Festival of Animated Film in Stuttgart, AI: More than Human at Afundación in A Coruña, Spain, and a solo exhibition at Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede, Netherlands.
His artworks have been featured in The New Yorker, Wired, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, PBS, Fast Company, Hyperallergic, BBC, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, El País, and Folha. The Guardian (UK), writing about his film ORDER OF MAGNITUDE, said that “when the history of the first decades of this century comes to be written, there will be few more telling artworks … a mesmerising monologue, the story of our times.” RTÉ (Ireland) described Grosser as an “antipreneur.” Slate referred to his work as “creative civil disobedience in the digital age.”
Grosser’s scholarly writing appears in journals such as Computational Culture, Media-N, Electronic Book Review, and Big Data and Society. His projects are regularly discussed by others in books investigating the cultural effects of technology, including The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, The Metainterface, and Investigative Aesthetics, as well as volumes centered on computational art practices such as Electronic Literature, The New Aesthetic and Art, and 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 from Rhizome, the Expanded Media Award for Network Culture from the Stuttgarter Filmwinter, the Artist Gallery Prize from Arte Laguna, and a Jury Selection at the Japan Media Arts Festival. Currently he is an Assembly Fellow with the Institute for Rebooting Social Media at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.
Grosser is an Associate Professor of New Media in the School of Art + Design, co-founder of the Critical Technology Studies Lab at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and a faculty affiliate in the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and the School of Information Sciences, all at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.