Talk by Ben Grosser

Free entry
Language: English

Less Metrics, More Rando: Resistance and Reimagination in the Age of Social Media

How is an interface that foregrounds our friend count changing conceptions of friendship? Who benefits when a social app intuits how we feel? What do we lose — in democracy and society — when platforms engineered to keep us engaged become our primary window to the wider world?
From custom apps that confuse TikTok’s algorithms to new platforms that radically invert the rules we’ve internalized from big tech social media, net artist Ben Grosser examines, intervenes in, and reimagines anew what it means and how it feels to be social online. This talk will present a series of the artist’s projects that resist how capitalist social platforms shape who we are and what we do, enabling a renewed user agency over the software we find ourselves stuck within each and every day.

After the talk a discussion will unfold between Ben Grosser, Professor Søren Bro Pold, and Kunsthal Aarhus's chief curator, Seolhui Lee.

It's free to attend, but we recommend securing a seat on Billetto


Ben Grosser creates interactive experiences, machines, and systems that examine the cultural, social, and political effects of software. Recent exhibitions include Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Barbican Centre in London, Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin, SXSW in Austin, and the Japan Media Arts Festival in Tokyo. His projects have been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Wired, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, El País, and Folha. The Guardian proclaimed Grosser’s film ORDER OF MAGNITUDE to be a definitive artwork of the 21st century, “a mesmerising monologue, the story of our times.” RTÉ dubbed him an “antipreneur,” and Slate commended his work as “creative civil disobedience in the digital age.” His artworks are regularly cited in books investigating the cultural effects of technology, including The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, The Metainterface, and Investigative Aesthetics, as well as volumes centered on computational art practices such as Electronic Literature, The New Aesthetic and Art, and Digital Art. Grosser is Professor of New Media at the University of Illinois (USA), a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and a Guest Professor in the Institute for Communication and Culture at Aarhus University in Denmark.
Find more information about Ben Grosser here

Søren Bro Pold is PhD and Associate Professor of digital aesthetics. He has published on digital and media aesthetics – from the 19th-century panorama to the interface in its various forms, e.g. on electronic literature, net art, software art, creative software, urban interfaces and digital culture. He took part in establishing the Digital Aesthetics Research Centre in 2002, in 2004 he co-organised the Read_me festival on software art, and he was in charge of the research project "The Aesthetics of Interface Culture" from 2004 to 2007. Later he was research manager in the Center for Digital Urban Living (2008-2012) and part of the research project Literature Between Media and Translating Electronic Literature: A Transatlantic Program in Collaborative Digital Humanities. Currently he is leader of the research programme “Humans and Information Technology”, the research project Covid-19 and Electronic Literature and part of the interdisciplinary research centre Participatory Information Technology. Furthermore, he was chair of Electronic Literature Organisation's conference Platform (Post?) Pandemic (2021).
In relation to these research fields and groups, he has been active in establishing interface criticism as a research perspective, which discusses the role and the development of the interface for art, aesthetics, culture and IT.
Søren Pold’s interests cover digital aesthetics broadly, including electronic literature, net art, software art, urban art and activism, and he has participated in founding several of these fields since the mid-1990s. Simultaneously, he is interested in establishing digital aesthetics as a perspective in other IT research fields such as design, HCI, informatics and Internet research.
Besides his research interests, he has taken part in university administration and -politics, e.g. as a member of study boards, research committees, academic council (2004-12) and member of the board of Aarhus University representing the scientific staff (2015-20).

Seolhui Lee is the chief curator at Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark (2023-). She is also the co-artistic director, with Jacob Fabricius, for Korean Pavilion 2024, Venice Biennale (2023-). Previously, she served as the head of the exhibition team for Busan Biennale 2020, and was a curator at the Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea (2018-2019). Alongside pursuing curatorial practice, Lee has been an adjunct professor at Korea National University of Arts (2019-2022), and Kaywon University of Art (2022-2023). In addition, Lee was the chief editor for Contemporary Art Forum (2020-2022), also a contributor for Art in Culture magazine (2021-). Lee earned a master’s degree in Art History from Ewha Womans University, South Korea, and was selected for both the ‘Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course’ (2016) and the ‘Tate Modern Intensive Course’ (2019). She was also an appointed expert for the first selection of media artists organized by Han Nafkens Foundation – LOOP Barcelona Video Art Production Grant (2022) and has received an ‘Artist Research Study Critique’ grant from Arts Council Korea (2020).

Image: Ben Grosser, Go Rando, 2017/2021, browser extension. Courtesy of the artist.
Image: Ben Grosser, Go Rando, 2017/2021, browser extension. Courtesy of the artist.
Image: Ben Grosser, Safebook, 2018, browser extension. Courtesy of the artist.
Image: Ben Grosser, Safebook, 2018, browser extension. Courtesy of the artist.