Benjamin H. Bratton is a theorist whose work spans Philosophy, Art and Design. He is Associate Professor of Visual Arts and Director of The Center for Design and Geopolitics at the University of California, San Diego. He is also Professor of Digital Design at The European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. His research is situated at the intersections of political & social theory, emerging computational media & infrastructure, and interdisciplinary design methodologies.
His book, The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty, was published by MIT Press. In this book, Bratton develops a comprehensive political and design theory of planetary-scale computation. He proposes that The Stack –an accidental information technology megastructure– is both a computational apparatus and a model for a new geopolitical architecture. Dispute Plan to Prevent Future Luxury Constitution, a collection of architectural fictions, was published by e-flux/ Sternberg Press. Bratton’s current book project develops a critical design philosophy for robotics and synthetic intelligence.
His recent writings and public talks have dealt with a wide range of issues, including the political geography of cloud computing, algorithmic reason in contemporary art, architecture and design, contested sovereignty in network societies, highly-granular universal addressing systems, augmented reality and ubiquitous computing interface design, alternate models of ecological governance, and the geophilosophical challenges of machine intelligences.
Most recent selected texts include: “Outing A.I.: Beyond the Turing Test”, “The Black Stack”, “The Image in the Age of Machine Vision,” “On Extinction, Emergence and Biochemical Design,” “Some Trace Effects of the Post-Anthropocene”, “On Apps and Elementary Forms of Interfacial Life”, “What We Do is Secrete: On Virilio, Planetarity and Data Visualization” , “Geoscapes & the Google Caliphate: On Mumbai Attacks”, “Root the Earth: On Peak Oil Apohenia” and “Suspicious Images/ Latent Interfaces” (with Natalie Jeremijenko). More texts here.
Most recent selected lectures online include “We Need to Talk About TED” at TEDx San Diego; “The Black Stack” at Transmediale, Berlin; “The Stack: Design and Geopolitics in the Age of Planetary-Scale Computation” at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver; and a different version as “The Stack We Have and The Stack To Come: Designing Sovereignty and the Geopolitics of Computation” at Fall Semester, Miami, “Accidental Geopolitics” at The Guardian Summit; Recent Interviews with Bratton include: in The Guardian, with Metahaven in Print, with Calit2, DIS, and Kerb. View videos of the many lectures and discussions from the first two D:GP conferences, in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Before coming to U.C. San Diego in 2009, Bratton taught theory and design for a decade at SCI_Arc (The Southern California Institute of Architecture) where is now Visiting Faculty, and from 2003-08 in the UCLA Department of Design|Media Arts. Bratton has lectured widely, and is the author of dozens of essays, articles, book chapters, in both academic and popular publications. He has been an visiting lecturer and critic at Columbia, Princeton, UCLA, Parsons/ The New School, The Strelka Institute (Moscow), Art Center College of Design, Michigan, Die Angewandte (Vienna), Bauhaus-University, Moscow State, among many others. He was also co-chair of ambient:interface, the 54th (and final) International Design Conference in Aspen.
Bratton is a frequent adviser and consultant to public and private organizations. In a previous life, he was Director of the Advanced Strategies Group at Yahoo! He lives in La Jolla with Bruna Mori and their son, Lucien.