Benjamin H. Bratton is sociological, media, and design theorist. He is Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego, and Director of the Center for Design & Geopolitics at the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology, one of the premier applied research institutes in the application of supercomputing and very-large scale data visualization across the sciences, humanities and social sciences.
His work sits at the intersections of contemporary social and political theory, computational media & infrastructure, and architectural & urban design problems and methodologies. Current research interests include: the philosophical problematics of the interfaciality, digital urbanism & media architecture, contemporary continental philosophy & aesthetic theory, institutional technology transfer protocols and platforms, design research management & methodologies, classical and contemporary sociological theory, history of the social sciences, organizational theory, and interaction and interface design.
Bratton has lectured widely, and is the author of many articles, book chapters, in both academic and popular publications. Bratton has published widely, from AD:Architectural Design and Volume to BlackBook and Theory, Culture & Society, and has been an visiting lecturer and critic at Columbia, Pratt, Yale, Architectural Association of London, Penn, USC, UCLA, Art Center College of Design, Michigan, Brown, the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, among others. He was also co-chair of ambient:interface, the 54th (and final) International Aspen Design Conference.
He is a frequent advisor and consultant to public and private organizations. He is the former Director of the Advanced Strategies Group at Yahoo! in Sunnyvale and Burbank, CA, and former Director of Information Architecture at Razorfish in Los Angeles and New York. As principal of The Culture Industry, a strategic research and planning consultancy he has developed projects with Motorola, Microsoft, Imaginary Forces, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, among others.
A two-part question about which I am conflicted: how do digital media affect the short and long circuits of education, both inside the classroom, where the responsibilities of one generation totrain the attention of another is or is not performed, and outside, where shifts in the geography of political infrastructure perhaps de-link formal educational institutions from sponsoring States, both as recipients of funding and as replicators of State citizens? While we recognize that whatever format civil society is to take next will be organized through media of planetary-scale social computation, we also note that the capitalization of cognition --and as well our own stupification-- is built into the language of our Cloud tools: from advertising to “gamification”. Evading that superficiality, how might we re-imagine the global distribution of educational centers, research, curricula, methods such that our always imperiled responsibility to the future is fulfilled through a viably cosmopolitan, sovereign economy of learning? Against short circuits, how can an ethics of deep time architect the Cloud (and curriculum) we require?