Tech & Society
Tech & Society
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Episode 197
Featuring Benjamin Bratton
Demetri Kofinas speaks with Benjamin Bratton about how our response to the pandemic demonstrates an inability on the part of society to govern itself. The two address not only how we came to find ourselves in our current predicament, but also, how we might go about constructing a world that is more suited to the needs of the moment.

In Episode 197 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Benjamin Bratton, professor of visual arts at UC San Diego and the author of “Revenge of the Real: Politics, for a post-pandemic world.”

Bratton’s book explores how our collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates a critical inability on the part of society to govern itself. The pandemic in this sense serves as a sort of non-negotiable reality-check that upends the comfortable illusions of a world that increasingly bears no resemblance to the one we have vacated. 

Benjamin raises important questions about not only how we came to find ourselves in our current predicament of mask wars, urban riots, and institutional decay, but also, how we might go about constructing a world that is more representative of reality and the needs of the present moment.  

In the overtime, Bratton and Demetri explore what a post-pandemic world might look like and what this means for our conceptions of governance and the individual.

You can access the episode overtime, as well as the transcript and rundown to this week’s episode through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application.

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Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces

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Follow Demetri on Twitter at @Kofinas

Episode Recorded on 06/28/2021

Play
Episode 189
Featuring Niall Ferguson
Episode 189
Featuring Niall Ferguson
Play
Episode 163
Featuring Fareed Zakaria
Episode 163
Featuring Fareed Zakaria

Benjamin Bratton's work spans Philosophy, Art, Design and Computer Science. He is Professor of Visual Arts at University of California, San Diego. He is Program Director of The Terraforming program at the Strelka Institute. He is also a Professor of Digital Design at The European Graduate School and Visiting Professor at SCI_Arc (The Southern California Institute of Architecture) and NYU Shanghai.

He is the author of several books, including The Revenge of The Real: Politics for a Post-Pandemic World (Verso Press, 2021. 166 pages), which sees the pandemic as a crisis of governance and argues for a positive biopolitics. It frames the pandemic as a live experiment in comparative governance demonstrating the failures of populism and the need for an epidemiological view of society based on sending, modeling and collective organization. The book examines the complexities of sensing vs. “surveillance”, quarantine urbanism and platform automation, the mask wars and the ethics of the object, and the failures of philosophy to address the biopolitical crisis. It calls for a new politics of rational and equitable infrastructures of knowledge, planning and intervention. See Verso Amazon

In The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty (MIT Press, 2016. 503 pages) Bratton outlines a new geopolitical theory for the age of global computation and algorithmic governance. He proposes that different genres of planetary scale computation --Earth layer, Cloud layer, City layer, Address layer, Interface layer, User layer-- can be seen not as so many species evolving on their own, but as forming a coherent whole: an accidental megastructure that is both a computational infrastructure and a new governing architecture. The book plots an expansive interdisciplinary design brief for The Stack-to-Come.

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