Grosser Benjamin


Benjamin Grosser creates interactive experiences, machines, and systems that explore the cultural, social, and political implications of software. Benjamin Grosser explores the meaning for human creativity when a computational system can paint its own artworks, the way an interface which foregrounds our friend count can change our conceptions of friendship or the reason why we become emotionally attached to software systems and what does this attachment enable for those who made them. His works have been featured in Wired, The Atlantic, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, Al Jazeera, Der Spiegel and The New Aesthetic. The Huffington Post said of his Interactive Robotic Painting Machine that "Grosser may have unknowingly birthed the apocalypse.


2015Web Art
ScareMail is a web browser extension that makes email "scary" in order to disrupt NSA surveillance. Extending Google's Gmail, the work adds to every new email's signature an algorithmically generated narrative containing a collection of probable NSA search terms. This "story" acts as a trap for NSA programs like PRISM and XKeyscore, forcing them to look at nonsense. One of the strategies used by the NSA's email surveillance programs is the detection of predetermined keywords. Large collections of words have thus become codified as something to fear, as an indicator of intent. The result is a governmental surveillance machine run amok, algorithmically collecting and searching our digital communications in a futile effort to predict behaviours based on words in emails. By filling all email with "scary" words, ScareMail proposes to disrupt NSA search algorithms by overwhelming them with too many results. After all, a search that returns everything is a search that returns nothing of use.

You like my like of your like of my status

201600:00:00Installation Art
Installation for generative text and synthesized speech. 'You like my like of your like of my status' is a sound and video installation work. Each screen follows a progressive generative text pattern of increasingly 'liking' each others' 'likes'. The text is spoken using a real-time speech synthesis engine, creating an immersive sound and video experience that constantly changes, shifting in time, pitch, and rhythm. Those temporal and syntactic shifts are influenced by the historic 'like' activity on my own Facebook account; thus the work also acts as a sonification and visualization of that data.

Go Rando

201700:00:00Web Art
Facebook's 'reactions' let you express how you feel about a link, photo, or status. While such data might be helpful for your friends, these recorded feelings also enable increased surveillance, government profiling, more targeted advertising, and emotional manipulation. Go Rando is a web browser extension that obfuscates your feelings on Facebook. Every time you click 'Like', Go Rando randomly chooses one of the six 'reactions' for you. Over time, you appear to Facebook's algorithms as someone whose feelings are emotionally 'balanced'—as someone who feels Angry as much as Haha or Sad as much as Love. You can still choose a specific reaction if you want to, but even that choice will be obscured by an emotion profile increasingly filled with noise. In other words, Facebook won't know if your reaction was genuine or not. Want to see what Facebook feels like when your emotions are obscured? Then Go Rando!

The Athens Digital Arts Festival archive has been developed by Antonis Lianos