Benjamin H. Bratton

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Benjamin H. Bratton
Benjamin H. Bratton.jpg
BornNovember 3, 1968 (1968-11-03) (age 50)
Los Angeles, California
Notable worksThe Stack: On Software and Sovereignty (2015)

Benjamin H. Bratton (born 1968) is an American sociologist, architectural and design theorist, known for a mix of philosophical and aesthetic research, organizational planning and strategy, and for his writing on the cultural implications of computing and globalization.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] He is currently Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego and Director of The Center for Design and Geopolitics think-tank at Calit2, The California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology.


Bratton was born in Los Angeles, California in 1968,[9] and holds a PhD. in the Sociology of Technology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before moving to University of California, San Diego, Bratton taught at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles from 2001–2010, and is now Visiting Faculty. He taught in the Department of Design | Media Arts at UCLA from 2003-2008. He was previously Director of the Advanced Strategies Group at Yahoo!. He founded University of California, San Diego's Speculative Design undergraduate major.[10] Since 2014, he is Professor of Philosophy of Design at European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. In 2016 he succeeded Rem Koolhaas, as programme director of Strelka Institute a Moscow-based think-tank and post-graduate program in architecture, media and design.[11]


Among his most recent work, his article "On Geoscapes & Google Caliphate: Except #Mumbai"[12] examines the correspondence of political theology and planetary computation as modes of political geography. His lecture, "Surviving the Interface: the Envelopes, Membranes and Borders of Deep Cosmopolitics"[13] considers the emergence of new forms of sovereignty derived from shared digital and urban infrastructures, and the challenges they pose to conventional understandings of architectural partitions and national borders. In his article, "iPhone City (v.2005)"[14] Bratton was early to demonstrate the impact that cinematic user interfaces for mobile social media would have on urban design. His current work develops a political theory of planetary-scale computation and draws from disparate sources, from Paul Virilio, Michel Serres, and Carl Schmitt, to Alan Turing, Google Earth, and IPv6.

in 2017 Bratton completed The New Normal an ebook for Strelka Press which outlines the radical effects that technology is having on our world and describes the emerging forms of city that we should now be designing for.[15]

His 2015 book Dispute Plan to Prevent Future Luxury Constitution was published by e-flux Journal and Sternberg Press in 2015.[16] It launched publicly at the 2016 edition of the Transmediale festival in Berlin.[17] In the description by Sternberg Press the book is " kaleidoscopic theory-fiction" which "links the utopian fantasies of political violence with the equally utopian programs of security and control."[18]

Later in 2015, The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty was published by MIT Press. The book challenges traditional ideas of sovereignty centered around the nation-state, and develops a theory of geopolitics that accounts for sovereignty in terms of planetary-scale computation at various scales.[19] Its two core arguments are (1) that planetary-scale computation “distorts and deforms traditional Westphalian logics of political geography” and creates new territories in its own image, and (2) that different scales of computing technology can be understood as forming an “accidental megastructure” that resembles a multi-layer network architecture stack, what Bratton calls “The Stack.”[20][21] The Stack is described as a platform. Bratton argues that platforms represent a technical and institutional model equivalent to states or markets but reducible to neither. Bratton refers to the book as “a design brief” suggesting that the layers of this structure are modular available to innovation and replacement.[22]


Bratton lives in La Jolla, California and has a son, Lucien, with writer Bruna Mori. He is the half-brother of Jamie Stewart of the band Xiu Xiu.


  1. ^ Hill, Dan. "Postopolis! LA". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27.
  2. ^ "Mobility Shifts Summit".
  3. ^ "Thresholds Studio Lecture Speaker Bio". Tabuman College at University of Michigan. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28.
  4. ^ "Benjamin Bratton". bracket-.
  5. ^ "Urban Technology on the Dark Side". SXSW. Archived from the original on 2011-09-03.
  6. ^ "Future City". Little Tokyo Design Week. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.
  7. ^ "Design and Existential Risk". Parsons The New School for Design.
  8. ^ "Benjamin Bratton, The Visual Arts Department UCSD". Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  9. ^ Bratton, Benjamin. "BRATTON.INFO". Official Website.
  10. ^ Ghanbari, Sheena. "New UC San Diego Visual Arts Major Emphasizes Designing for the Future". Archived from the original on 1 May 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  11. ^ "The New Normal. Presentation Of The Education Year At Strelka". Strelka. 10 November 2016. Archived from the original on 10 November 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  12. ^ Theory, Culture and Society, 26, no. 7-8 (2009): 329-342
  13. ^ Bratton, Benjamin. "Surviving the Interface: the Envelopes, Membranes and Borders of Deep Cosmopolitics". Official Website. Archived from the original on 21 December 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  14. ^ Architectural Design, v79 n4 (200907): 90-97
  15. ^ "The New Normal". Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  16. ^ "Benjamin H. Bratton's Dispute Plan to Prevent Future Luxury Constitution | e-flux". Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  17. ^ "Book Launch: Dispute Plan to Prevent Future Luxury Constitution by Benjamin H. Bratton | transmediale 2016". Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  18. ^ "Benjamin H. Bratton's Dispute Plan to Prevent Future Luxury Constitution | e-flux". Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  19. ^ Bratton, Benjamin H. (2016-02-26). The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty. MIT Press Limited. ISBN 9780262029575.
  20. ^ "transmediale 2014 afterglow keynote -- The Black Stack". YouTube. transmediale. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  21. ^ "Bartlett International Lecture Series: 2012-13 // Benjamin Bratton". YouTube. The Bartlett. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  22. ^ Jeff Kipnis, “A (P)review: Review of The Stack” LOG 35. October 22, 2015, p. 121

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