Benjamin Bartton

Professor of Digital Design at The European Graduate School/EGS

Benjamin Bratton

Biography

Benjamin H. Bratton (b. 1968) is an American theorist, sociologist, and professor of visual arts, contemporary social and political theory, philosophy, and design. His research deals with computational media and infrastructure, design research management and methodologies, classical and contemporary sociological theory, architecture and urban design issues, and the politics of synthetic ecologies and biologies.

Bratton completed his doctoral studies in the sociology of technology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was the Director of the Advanced Strategies Group at Yahoo! before expanding his cross-disciplinary research and practice in academia. He taught in the Department of Design/Media Art at UCLA from 2003-2008, and at the SCI Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) for a decade, where he continues to teach as a member of the visiting faculty. While at SCI Arc, Benjamin Bratton and Hernan Diaz-Alonso co-founded the XLAB courses, which placed students in laboratory settings where they could work directly and comprehensively in robotics, scripting, biogenetics, genetic codification, and cellular systems. Currently, in addition to his professorship at the The European Graduate School / EGS, Bratton is an associate professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego, where he also directs the Center for Design and Geopolitics, partnering with the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology.

In addition to his formal positions, Benjamin H. Bratton is a regular visiting lecturer at numerous universities and institutions including: Columbia University, Yale University, Pratt Institute, Bartlett School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of California, Art Center College of Design, Parsons The New School for Design, University of Michigan, Brown University, The University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Bauhaus-University, Moscow State University, Moscow Institute for Higher Economics, and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.

Bratton’s current projects focus on the political geography of cloud computing, massively-granular universal addressing systems, and alternate models of ecological governance. In his most recent book, The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty (MIT Press, 2015), Bratton asks the question, “What has planetary-scale computation done to our geopolitical realities?” and, in response, offers the proposition “that smart grids, cloud computing, mobile software and smart cities, universal addressing systems, ubiquitous computing, and other types of apparently unrelated planetary-scale computation can be viewed as forming a coherent whole—an accidental megastructure called The Stack that is both a computational apparatus and a new geopolitical architecture.”

Other more recent texts include the following: Some Trace Effects of the Post-Anthropocene: On Accelerationist Geopolitical Aesthetics, On Apps and Elementary Forms of Interfacial Life: Object, Image, Superimposition, Deep Address, 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), iPhone City, and Logistics of Habitable Circulation (introduction to the 2006 edition of Paul Virilio’s Speed and Politics). As well, recent online lectures include: 2 or 3 Things I Know About The Stack, at Bartlett School of Architecture, University of London, and University of Southampton; Cloud Feudalism at Proto/E/Co/Logics 002, Rovinj, Croatia; Nanoskin at Parsons School of Design; On the Nomos of the Cloud at Berlage Institute, Rotterdam, École Normale- Superiore, Paris, and MOCA, Los Angeles; Accidental Geopolitics at The Guardian Summit, New York; Ambivalence and/or Utopia at University of Michigan and UC Irvine; and Surviving the Interface at Parsons School of Design.

Works

Books

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty, Bratton, Benjamin. The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty. MIT Press. 2015.
Software After States, Bratton, Benjamin. Software After States. Google, Jihad and Geoscapes. 2010. Suspicious Images / Latent Interfaces: Situated Technologies, Bratton, Benjamin, and Natalie Jeremijenko. Suspicious Images / Latent Interfaces: Situated Technologies. The Architectural League of New York, 2006 ISBN: 0980099420

Edited Works

A Time and Place: Christian Moeller: Media Architecture, 1991-2003
Bratton, Benjamin, ed. A Time and Place: Christian Moeller: Media Architecture, 1991-2003. Lars Müller Publishers, 2004. ISBN: 3907078918

Chapters

On Apps and Elementary Forms of Interfacial Life: Object, Image, Superimposition
Bratton, Benjamin. “On Apps and Elementary Forms of Interfacial Life: Object, Image, Superimposition.” In The Imaginary App, edited by Paul D. Miller and Svitlana Matviyenko. The MIT Press, 2014. ISBN: 0262027488

Ambivalence and/or Utopia
Bratton, Benjamin. “Ambivalence and/or Utopia.” In Bracket 2: Goes Soft, edited by Neeraj Bhatia and Lola Sheppard. Actar, 2013. ISBN: 8415391021

What We Do is Secrete: On Paul Virilio, Planetarity and Data Visualization
Bratton, Benjamin. “What We Do is Secrete: On Paul Virilio, Planetarity and Data Visualization.” In Virilio and Visual Culture, edited by Ryan Bishop and John Armitage. Edinburgh University Press, 2013. ISBN: 0748654445

Root the Earth: On Peak Oil Apophenia
Bratton, Benjamin. “Root the Earth: On Peak Oil Apophenia.” In Leper Creativity: Cyclonopedia Symposium, edited by Eugene Thacker, Ed Keller, and Nicola Masciandaro. Punctum Books, 2012. ISBN: 0615600468

Actually, We Found More Than One Pulse Sir…
Bratton, Benjamin, and Ed Keller. “Actually, We Found More Than One Pulse Sir…” In Pulsation in Architecture, edited by Eric Goldemberg. J. Ross Publishing, 2011. ISBN: 1604270233

The Aesthetics of Logistics, Architecture, Subjectivity and the Ambient Database
Bratton, Benjamin. “The Aesthetics of Logistics, Architecture, Subjectivity and the Ambient Database.” In Language Systems. After Prague Structuralism, edited by Pavel Cernovsky and Louis Arman. Litteraria Pragensia, 2007. ISBN: 8073081717

The Logistics of Habitable Circulation: Introduction to Paul Virilio
Bratton, Benjamin. “The Logistics of Habitable Circulation: Introduction to Paul Virilio.” In Speed and Politics.Semiotext(e)/MIT Press, 2006. ISBN: 1584350407

Technology, Program
Bratton, Benjamin. “Technology, Program.” In Crib Sheets. Notes on the Contemporary Architectural Conversation, edited by Sylvia Lavin, Helene Mary Furján, and Penelope Dean. Monacelli Press, 2005. ISBN: 1580931588

Screening the Fictitious Phenotype: Fashion and Biotechnology
Bratton, Benjamin. “Screening the Fictitious Phenotype: Fashion and Biotechnology.” In Sessions, edited by Eric Owen Moss and Julianna Morais. Southern California Institute of Architecture Press, 2004. ISBN: 0976007908

The Premise of Recombinant Architecture, One
Bratton, Benjamin. “The Premise of Recombinant Architecture, One.” In Sessions, edited by Eric Owen Moss and Julianna Morais. Southern California Institute of Architecture Press, 2004. ISBN: 0976007908

Articles

Outing A.I.: Beyond the Turing Test
Bratton, Benjamin. “Outing A.I.: Beyond the Turing Test.” New York Times, The Stone, Febuary 23, 2015.

The Black Stack
Bratton, Benjamin. “The Black Stack.” e-flux journal 53, March (2014).

Some Trace Effects of the Post-Anthropocene: On Accelerationist Geopolitical Aesthetics
Bratton, Benjamin. “Some Trace Effects of the Post-Anthropocene: On Accelerationist Geopolitical Aesthetics.” e-flux journal 46, June (2013).

Cloud Feudalism
Bratton, Benjamin. “Cloud Feudalism.” Proto/E/Co/Logics 002, September (2012).

The Arc of Networked-Self Dissolution
Bratton, Benjamin. “The Arc of Networked-Self Dissolution.” bratton.info, October 2011.

Swarm What? Notes on the Imaging of Aggregation
Bratton, Benjamin. “Swarm What? Notes on the Imaging of Aggregation.” bratton.info, May 2010.

On Geoscapes and the Google Caliphate: Reflections on the Mumbai Attacks
Bratton, Benjamin. “On Geoscapes and the Google Caliphate: Reflections on the Mumbai Attacks.” Theory, Culture and Society Vol. 26, No. 7-8 (2009): 329-342.

Mind the Pollocks: (Notes on) Art & Software
Bratton, Benjamin. “Mind the Pollocks: (Notes on) Art & Software.” Purple Magazine, Spring 2009.

“What Do We Mean by “Program?” The Convergence of Architecture and Interface Design
Bratton, Benjamin. “What Do We Mean by “Program?” The Convergence of Architecture and Interface Design.” Interactions Vol. 15, No. 3 (2008): 20.

Metropolis: Monster Movie
Bratton, Benjamin, and Hernan Diaz-Alonso. “Metropolis: Monster Movie.” Large Scale Metropoles international symposium at the Centre Georges Pompidou, October 2009.

Notes on Surficial Elegance and the Pursuit of Horror (Pre-publication version)
Bratton, Benjamin, and Hernan Diaz-Alonso. “Notes on Surficial Elegance and the Pursuit of Horror (Pre-publication version).” bratton.info, May 2007.

The Process
Bratton, Benjamin. “The Process.” bratton.info, May, 2007.

Chic is Wholesale, Fashion is Retail
Bratton, Benjamin. “Chic is Wholesale, Fashion is Retail.” 34 Magazine, June 2006.

Stijn&Marie: Edges of the Experiment: Los Angeles as Dutch Landscape
Bratton, Benjamin. “Stijn&Marie: Edges of the Experiment: Los Angeles as Dutch Landscape.” bratton.info, June 2006.

After Chromopolis
Bratton, Benjamin. “After Chromopolis.” 34 Magazine, August 2, 2005.

Beheadings Videos and Snuff Strategy: Video and the Limit
Bratton, Benjamin. “Beheadings Videos and Snuff Strategy: Video and the Limit.” bratton.info, October 2004.

Accounting for Pervasive Computing
Bratton, Benjamin. “Accounting for Pervasive Computing.” bratton.info, July 2002.

Figures of Destructuration: Terrorism Architecture Social Form (2001-02)
Bratton, Benjamin. “Figures of Destructuration: Terrorism Architecture Social Form (2001-02).” bratton.info, 2001-2002.

Sous les Pav?s. Les Halles (Social Narrative ≥ Architectures of May, 1968). The Impact of Information Technology on the Culture of Cityform
Bratton, Benjamin. “Sous les Pav?s. Les Halles (Social Narrative ≥ Architectures of May, 1968). The Impact of Information Technology on the Culture of Cityform.” bratton.info, March 1996.

Futurology of the Device (1994). Screening the Social Geographies of ‘Tomorrow’
Bratton, Benjamin. “Futurology of the Device (1994). Screening the Social Geographies of ‘Tomorrow’.” bratton.info, July 1994.

Exhibitions

The Orchid Mantis of Sanzhi UFO Pod City
Bratton, Benjamin. “The Orchid Mantis of Sanzhi UFO Pod City.” Originally presented at Pecha Kucha Little Tokyo Design Week Los Angeles, Summer 2011.

Plastic Futures Markets
Bratton, Benjamin. “Plastic Futures Markets.” MADE UP: Design Fictions, Art Center College of Design, Media Design Program, Jan. 29, 2011.

Interviews

The Cloud, the State, and the Stack: Metahaven in Conversation with Benjamin Bratton
Bratton, Benjamin, and Metahaven (Daniel van der Velden and Vinca Kruk). “The Cloud, the State, and the Stack: Metahaven in Conversation with Benjamin Bratton.” Metahaven Tumblr, April 2012.

Design and Geopolitics: The Alterglobal, Soft Power, Disaster Capitalism
Bratton, Benjamin, and Metahaven. “Design and Geopolitics: The Alterglobal, Soft Power, Disaster Capitalism.” Print, October 2011.

Conversation Between Vincent Gallo, Benjamin Bratton, Jeffrey Inaba
Bratton, Benjamin, Vincent Gallo, and Jeffrey Inaba. “Conversation Between Vincent Gallo, Benjamin Bratton, Jeffrey Inaba.” bratton.info, June 2007.

Sta god

Conversation Between Vincent Gallo, Benjamin Bratton, Jeffrey Inaba
Bratton, Benjamin, Vincent Gallo, and Jeffrey Inaba. “Conversation Between Vincent Gallo, Benjamin Bratton, Jeffrey Inaba.” bratton.info, June 2007.

Lectures

Benjamin Bratton

“There Never Was a Horizon…”

28.06.2019
Benjamin Bratton

Faculty Interview

20.06.2019
Benjamin Bratton

“The whole age of computer has made it where —“

19.11.2018
Benjamin Bratton

Remarks on the Hole of Representation in Computer ‘Vision’

22.06.2017
Benjamin Bratton

The Question of ‘Sensing’

21.11.2016
Benjamin Bratton

Design, Philosophy and A.I.

26.09.2016
Benjamin Bratton

The Post-Anthropocene

18.08.2015
Benjamin Bratton

User subjectivity and the geopolitics of the stack

11.05.2015