The heart of digital technologies is software, a human-designed structure for computation that gives these technologies agency and enables them to interact with others. I focus on the cultural, social, and political effects of software. What does it mean for human creativity when a computational system can paint its own artworks? How is an interface that foregrounds our friend count changing our conceptions of friendship? Why do we become emotionally attached to software systems and what does this attachment enable for those who made them? To examine questions like these, I construct 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.
Artist Ben Grosser creates interactive experiences, machines, and systems that explore the cultural, social, and political implications of software. Recent exhibition venues and festivals include Eyebeam in New York, The White Building in London, FILE in São Paulo, and Museum Ludwig in Cologne. His works have been featured in Wired, The Atlantic, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, Creative Applications Network, Neural, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, FastCoDesign, Gizmodo, Engadget, Al Jazeera, Corriere della Sera, El País, Der Spiegel, and The New Aesthetic. The Huffington Post said of his Interactive Robotic Painting Machine that “Grosser may have unknowingly birthed the apocalypse.” The Chicago Tribune called him the “unrivaled king of ominous gibberish.” Slate referred to his work as “creative civil disobedience in the digital age.” Grosser’s recognitions include First Prize in VIDA 16, a Net Art Grant and Commission from Rhizome, the Expanded Media Award for Network Culture from the Stuttgarter Filmwinter, and awards from Terminal and Creative Divergents.