Ben Grosser (US)
Artist Ben Grosser focuses 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? Who benefits when a software system can intuit how we feel? To examine questions like these, he constructs 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.
Given the harms that Facebook has wrought on mental health, privacy, and democracy, what would it take to make Facebook “safe?” Is it possible to defuse Facebook’s amplification of anxiety, division, and disinformation while still allowing users to post a status, leave a comment, or confirm a friend? With Safebook, a browser extension that hides all images, text, video, and audio on the site, the answer is yes!