Two years ago—before Facebook became the fastest company in history to reach a $1 trillion dollar valuation—my film ORDER OF MAGNITUDE extracted a few of Mark Zuckerberg’s most favorite video-recorded words to examine just how growth-obsessed he’d been over the company’s first fifteen years. By assembling a supercut out of every time he spoke about “more” or “grow” or a rising number, the work’s 47-minute final length revealed the astonishing scale of his primary focus. Two years later, I’ve found myself wanting to revisit that same archive, to look back and see if he’d ever spoken about the inverse of more. Had the architect of history’s premiere digital engagement machine ever thought or spoken about less?
So this time I mined those same fifteen years of videos looking for every time he said the word “less.” And while I predicted the clips would never assemble into a video as long as ORDER OF MAGNITUDE, I was still surprised to find that his every public utterance of more’s opposite—from age 19 to age 34—added up to less than 60 seconds of footage. While this finding certainly reinforces the previous film, it also made me wonder: what might the world look like if Mark had thought about less as much as he had about more? So with this new work I set about to reanimate the CEO into an alternate reality, expanding his less to be just as long as his more, taking those few bits of video and slowing them down to nearly fifty times their original length. How might the world be different if Mark had been this inert? Where would we be as a society and a planet if he hadn’t so focused on growth and engagement to “make the world more open and connected?” What if Facebook had been engineered to give its users time rather than taking it? This project considers those questions, and uses Mark’s words to illustrate just how far our current reality must be distorted to equalize big tech’s obsession with more with its DEFICIT OF LESS.
- Software for Less (solo), arebyte Gallery, London, UK
- The Guardian / Observer: How artist Ben Grosser is cutting Mark Zuckerberg down to size.
DEFICIT OF LESS was created by Ben Grosser and commissioned by arebyte Gallery (London, UK) as part of the solo exhibition Software for Less.