US new media artist Ben Grosser and I met at the 2013 Unlike Us #3 Institute of Network Cultures event in Amsterdam where he presented his Demetricator, a free web browser extension that hides all the metrics on Facebook. I have followed his work ever since. We got in contact again in 2019 when he premiered his video art clip Order of Magnitude. The cut-up piece features Mark Zuckerberg’s obsession with growth. Instead of taking the traditional critical approach, Ben Grosser magnifies particular words that return in each and every one of his sentences: more, millions, billions, trillions. Covering the earliest days of Facebook in 2004 up through Zuckerberg’s compelled appearances before the US Congress in 2018, Grosser viewed every one of these recordings and used them to build a supercut drawn from three of Mark’s most favoured words: more, grow, and his every utterance of a metric such as two million or one billion. Inside the exploding galaxy of Facebook there are no limits of growth. After a few minutes the viewer gets exhausted and is ready to swipe the video away, stand up and walk out: the exact opposite response to what we experience when we’re on Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp. The emptiness of the guy suffocates. Well done, Ben.
|Publication status||Published - 23 Apr 2020|