Ben Grossi is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Cleveland, Ohio. He received a BFA from the Drawing Department at The Cleveland Institute of Art in 2017. His video, installation, image & object-based work has been exhibited across the Greater Cleveland area and featured in several online exhibitions.
The screen is at once a site and a non-place; a single frame and an eon; a luxurious textile and post-industrial recycled content; an instrument of growth and a weapon of mass destruction. Time & distance collapse as we experience the world as an image. Every picture weighs the same because every picture is weightless: sliding past our fingers with the flick of a wrist. Every image is as smooth as mirrored glass: texture flattened, buffed and polished to a frictionless, seductive surface. Every image is volatile: disappearing as quickly as they’re shown to us, as readily available as they are easily dismissed. Images are anything but themselves: recycled, duplicated, overwritten, disguised, hollowed-out and rendered meaningless (or at the very least, obliterated beyond recognition). The screen is at once a canvas and a veil: a fabric twisting, billowing, and shape-shifting to take on the form of one thing while obfuscating another.
This world-as-a-picture is by our own design. By utilizing the internet as a tool to inform, craft and express our identities, we submit to the terms and conditions set forth by social media corporations that have quasi-statehood. Data sets, algorithms and neural networks record, dictate, and shape our engagement with the digital landscape. The lines between private, public and corporate blur into a homogenous mixture of treasured family memories, political campaigns camouflaged as memes, fitness influencers shilling NFTs, and videos documenting acts of violence. The Earth is flat: precision-machined to two-dimensions by this process of blending and equalization. Through our efforts to engage in social discourse to learn, change and grow as an interconnected and progressive society, we are at constant odds with forces that point us downward instead of outward. The screen gives us the power to see, but the screen only shows us what it has determined we will believe. We scroll in search of autonomy, belonging, morality and meaning in a carefully-curated environment where we may find none at all.
This work folds into the intersections between power, capital, and the individual that occur in our flattened world. Reflecting on the conditions of our hyperreality, the videos and objects conflate the seamless, glassy aesthetics of user interfaces and mobile devices with pensive vignettes, non-sequiturs, and vacant declarations. Prints of computer-generated textiles create convincing depth on cold, flat surfaces. Virtual landscapes are layered, abstracted, and scribbled out. Animated banners ripple and sway. A waving flag gives volume to the breeze, fooling us into believing that we can see the wind.