Blog

Instagram’s Like Hiding Saga is a PR Stunt — article on the Institute of Network Cultures Blog

Visible like counts on my own posts after enabling Instagram’s option to hide them. On left, the counts as shown in the standard notifications popup that appears every time I load the app and periodically thereafter. In the middle is the count shown when I click “others” from the feed. On the right are the like counts as shown in the notifications tab.

I wrote up some thoughts regarding Instagram’s recent statements/actions regarding their (anemic and incomplete) hiding of like counts.

Read it here:
https://networkcultures.org/blog/2021/06/14/ben-grosser-why-instagrams-like-hiding-saga-is-a-pr-stunt/

Tokenize This in VICE

Screenshot of VICE

My work Tokenize This is the subject of a new article at VICE. In it I speak about the work, it’s stance towards NFTs, and how some artists are adapting themselves in the service of cryptoart platforms:

Until recently, [Grosser] said, the digital art community was “disconnected in a happy way from the more conventional art market with its money motivations,” allowing critical art to flourish. But “with the intro of big speculative finance, it’s shifted a lot of artists towards focusing on, ‘How can I get in on the gold rush?’ Now I see artists erasing their own URLs from Twitter bios and replacing them with links to cryptoart platform pages, and turning their Twitter feeds into very noisy adverts for platforms, talking about bids, drops, sales.”

Read the full piece at VICE.

Interview with German Public Radio about The Endless Doomscroller

I recently spoke with Felix Wessel of Deutschlandfunk Kultur‘s show Breitband about doomscrolling and The Endless Doomscroller. Felix also interviews psychologist Moritz Petzold. The segment is mostly in German so best for those with fluency there, but it also includes a performative reading of translated Doomscroller headlines that is fun to hear.

Update on 24 Feb: there’s now a text-based version of this available (here’s an English translation via Google).

Panel Discussion about The Power of Facebook with The Hmm in the Netherlands

I gave a presentation about several of my Facebook-focused works and then engaged in panel discussion about The Power of Facebook with Nabiha Syed from The Markup, design sociologist Theo Ploeg, and host Margarita Ospian of The Hmm, a group that investigates internet culture out of The Netherlands. From the organizers:

During this event we try to better understand the power of Facebook together with three speakers. Nabiha Syed from the non-profit newsroom The Markup, will tell how they’re keeping an eye on Big Tech companies, and developing tools that reveal when we are being tracked. Artist Ben Grosser will share his Facebook related projects, including ‘Safebook’, a Facebook without content. And design sociologist Theo Ploeg will explain why he thinks our data does not provide any insight into us.

My talk starts at 1:03 in the embed above. I’ve queued it up, but I definitely recommend watching the whole event.

Keynote Presentation at Sankt Interface in Linz

I gave a keynote presentation at Sankt Interface 2020, an annual event from the Interface Cultures Program at the University of Art in Linz, Austria. Interface Cultures is co-directed by Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau, and the event was co-coordinated by Cesar Escudero Andaluz. I’ve queued up the video above, but I also highly recommend the talk before mine by Valentina Tanni on her Meme Aesthetics book, as well as the Q&A with both of us after my talk.

Endless Doomscroller at PIKSEL Festival in Bergen, Norway

The Endless Doomscroller in the front of Studio 207 in Bergen, Norway

The Endless Doomscroller is part of this year’s Piksel Festival in Bergen, Norway. The festival spans several sites; my work is up at Studio 207. An annual event focused on electronic art and technological freedom, this year’s festival, titled “The future narrow, where you don’t want to go,” focuses on the following:

…We appropriate and hack Leandro Pisano’s words: We need to understand rural/online/local areas as complex spaces actively immersed in the dynamism of encounters, flows and fluxes of contemporary geographies, and critically question modern discourses of capitalism and metropolitanism in which rural/online/local territories are marginalized and considered as doomed to oblivion.

The festival is up through 22 November.

Recent Press about The Endless Doomscroller

The Endless Doomscroller in Mic

“Wow, it’s exactly like Twitter, but no one is telling me to kill myself” — Bryan Menegus, Gizmodo

The Endless Doomscroller has been the subject of a few media articles and interviews recently, including:

I also did an interview with ABC News Radio about the project:

ORDER OF MAGNITUDE at B3 Biennial for the Moving Image in Frankfurt

My film ORDER OF MAGNITUDE is part of the B3 Biennial of the Moving Image in Frankfurt, from 9-18 October. As part of my participation in the festival, I spent some time talking with Johannes Grenzfurthner (founder of monochrom, director of Traceroute and many other films). We chat about software, algorithms, neutralism, social credit, self-driving cars, how big tech influences artistic expression, and, unavoidably, more.

ORDER OF MAGNITUDE named a Jury Selection at the Japan Media Arts Festival in Tokyo

The Japan Media Arts Festival logo

My film ORDER OF MAGNITUDE was named a Jury Selection at the Japan Media Arts Festival in Tokyo. The work will be on exhibit at Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, from 19-27 September.

Safebook at Science Gallery Detroit

Future Present: Design in a Time of Urgency at Science Gallery Detroit

My work Safebook is part of exhibition at Science Gallery Detroit titled Future Present: Design in a Time of Urgency. Curated by Antajuan Scott, Mark Sullivan, Cezanne Charles, Olga Stella, and Ralph Borland, the exhibition asks questions such as:

…how does the design of technology impact society? What impact does design have on the built environment, and on the communities that occupy it? How does design feature in food systems and food security, in biology and scientific inquiry? And what is the entwinement of design with social visions, such as Afro or indigenous futurism?

The exhibition is up through December 11th at 1001 Woodward in Detroit.