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Recent Books Discussing or Citing My Projects

Books by Zylinska, Paul, and Myers

Recent books discussing and/or citing my projects include (in no specific order):

Christiane Paul’s Digital Art has been an essential index, contextualization, and history of digital art going back to its first edition 20 years ago; this version is updated to capture the turbulent changes since the 3rd edition in 2015. I haven’t read Joanna Zylinska’s book yet, but plan to do so shortly. Rhea Myers’ anthology is beautifully designed* and captures her work and writings over the last many years.

*I should add that Urbanomic is one of my favorite publishers right now, so nice to see this title getting published there

Interview with Techtonic on WFMU Radio in NYC

I recently spoke with Mark Hurst, the host of Techtonic on WFMU Radio in NYC. We talked about Silicon Valley’s obsessions with growth, their war against sustainability and ethics, and artistic counteractions that invert big tech’s growth-obsessed capitalist logics.

After the roughly 40m discussion, Mark plays a recording of a performative reading he did of my redacted version of Mark Andreessen’s Techno-Optimist Manifesto. This reading was spectacular; when I first heard it in October I reached out and we ended up planning the interview.

You can listen to the show above, on WFMU’s website, or via Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Computers Watching Movies at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona

The Centre de Cultura Contemporània in Barcelona.
Original photograph by StoptheRoc, widened by generative AI.

My work Computers Watching Movies (2013) is part of the exhibition AI: Artificial Intelligence at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània in Barcelona. This ongoing traveling exhibition, which began at The Barbican as AI: More than Human in London in 2019, is “an unprecedented survey of the creative and scientific developments in artificial intelligence, exploring the evolution of the relationship between humans and technology.” The exhibition in Barcelona, which opened on October 18, 2023, is on view through March 17, 2024.

ORDER OF MAGNITUDE at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark

ORDER OF MAGNITUDE at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark

My work ORDER OF MAGNITUDE is part of the exhibition The Irreplaceable Human at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art north of Copenhagen, Denmark. According to the curators:

“…this large-scale, interdisciplinary exhibition seeks to define the phenomenon of creativity from a broad, humanistic perspective. What are the conditions for creativity in society today? And is there reason to fear that artificial intelligence will take over and surpass human creative abilities?”

You’ll find my work in the Work-Life section opposite Rineke Dijkstra and just ahead of Trevor Paglen. The exhibition is up through April 4th, 2024.

Talk about Degrowth Aesthetics at Aarhus University

Slides for From Forever More to Degrowth Aesthetics: Tactics of Bounding in the Digital Infinite at Aarhus University

This Friday I’ll give a lecture at Aarhus University in Denmark, speaking about software, the unified logics of capitalism and computing, and artistic tactics of bounding that employ degrowth aesthetics as a countering practice. The title/abstract:

From Forever More to Degrowth Aesthetics: Tactics of Bounding in the Digital Infinite

Despite their lofty mission statements, today’s leading social media platforms primarily emphasize one singular concept: more . These capitalist software machines are designed to stoke an insatiable cycle of production and consumption in order to maximize corporate growth and profit. To achieve this, they leverage data and scale to produce signals and interface patterns that keep users engaged, promising connection and joy in exchange for growing shares of our time and attention. This talk presents a series of art projects that resist these accumulative logics, works that employ an aesthetics of degrowth that reconfigures and/or reimagines the social apps that aim to trap us in endless loops—until there’s no more time left to give.

Time/Place:
14:15-16:00
17 November
Peter Bøgh Andersen Auditorium (5335-016)

Details:
https://cc.au.dk/aktuelt/arrangementer/vis-arrangement/artikel/friday-lecture-ben-grosser-from-forever-more-to-degrowth-aesthetics-tactics-of-bounding-in-the-digital-infinite

Andreessen’s Techno-Optimist Manifesto as Redaction Poetry

Screenshot of redaction poetry version of Andreessen’s Techno-Optimist Manifesto

Yesterday, the influential Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen published what he titled The Techno-Optimist Manifesto, an anti-regulation anti-ethics hyper-capitalist growth-obsessed screed that, sadly, highlights the thinking that’s led to so much exploitative toxic tech. Instead of writing a point-by-point critique, I instead chose to simplify Andreessen’s arguments using redaction poetry. The result leaves in place the little bits one needs to get a decent sense of Marc’s thinking.

You can read the full redaction poetry version of Andreessen’s Manifesto. If interested, here is a link to the original document.

Screenshot of redaction poetry version of Andreessen’s Techno-Optimist Manifesto

Screenshot of redaction poetry version of Andreessen’s Techno-Optimist Manifesto

Screenshot of redaction poetry version of Andreessen’s Techno-Optimist Manifesto

Article About Radically Finite Social Media

Article about Radically Finite Social Media for the Institute for Rebooting Social Media

As part of my recent fellowship with the Institute for Rebooting Social Media at Harvard University, I wrote about some of my preliminary findings in an article titled Minus: Radically Finite Social Media and Alternative Futures. This text stems from my deep read and analysis of Minus’ early days. I draw several conclusions about the cultural effects of Minus’ finitude, and contrast that with the pseudo-infinite frame of big social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.

You can read it in full at the Institute’s site.

Feature about my work in La Presse (Montreal)

La Presse

La Presse (Montreal) wrote a feature about my work in a piece titled Ben Grosser, l’antinumérique, and also quoted me in another, titled À la recherche du réseau social idéal (In search of the ideal social network). (Note: both are in French)

Minus Featured in The New York Times

The New York Times

My social network Minus was featured in yesterday’s New York Times. In an article titled The Future of Social Media Is a Lot Less Social, journalist Brian X. Chen writes about the increasingly impersonal nature of big social platforms, and the space that shift is creating for smaller online spaces. He quotes Jonathan Zittrain talking about Minus as an experimental alternative that treats our time and attention as the finite resources they are:

One app that emerged from the program, Minus, lets users publish only 100 posts on their timeline for life. The idea is to make people feel connected in an environment where their time together is treated as a precious and finite resource, unlike traditional social networks such as Facebook and Twitter that use infinite scrolling interfaces to keep users engaged for as long as possible. “It’s a performance art experiment,” said Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of law and computer science at Harvard who started the research initiative. “It’s the kind of thing that as soon as you see it, it doesn’t have to be this way.”

If you haven’t tried out Minus yourself, give it a try.

Data and (Dis)obedience Conference in Boston

Data and (Dis)Obedience Conference at Northeastern

On 15 March I’ll be on a panel at the Data and (Dis)Obedience Conference at Northeastern University, talking about artistic approaches to data surveillance. Keynote is by Marek Tuszynski from Tactical Tech. Conference is organized by Jen Gradecki, and is being streamed online if you’re not in Boston. Register here.