Benjamin H. Bratton “Surviving the Interface” Lecture at Michigan and Parsons/New School

D:GP Director, Benjamin H. Bratton recently gave a lecture entitled “Surviving the Interface” at the Taubman School of Architecture at the University of Michigan and for Ed Keller’s Design and Existential Risk lecture series at Parsons/ The New School in New York, with McKenzie Wark as respondent.

“My remarks tonight are drawn from a book chapter-in-progress on the interfaciality of the city, how it constitutes forms of sovereignty and political geography, and the interpolation of the user of that city as a political, and potentially cosmopolitical subject. My interest is in the qualification of a non-universalist cosmopolitics that can account for and is accounted for by the activation of computational infrastructure at a planetary scale, both inside and outside the processes we call globalization. How does infrastructure, as much as law or discourse or technique, produce the interfacial fragments from which political subjectivity could be identified across scales, intrapersonal to continental. Put another way, I want to tell a story about an exhibition at the Urbanium pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, to take it a bit more seriously as an ideological model than I perhaps should, and to do so as an application of and response to a particular text, Giorgio Agamben’s short essay on Foucault’s term,dispositif, called What is an Apparatus? Put another way still to include in the assignment for the emergent discipline of “design strategy” the requirement to redesign the user him- herself.”