Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design and SPACE10 invite you to a lecture and Q&A with Benjamin Bratton “Designing The New Normal: A.I. at Urban Scale” and presentation of Strelka’s new 5-months tuition-free postgraduate program in English – The New Normal.
Benjamin Bratton is famous sociological, media, design theorist and author based in California. Bratton is a Professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design at the University of California, San Diego. He founded the school's new Speculative Design undergraduate major. In his recently published book “The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty” (MIT Press, 2016) Bratton outlines a new theory for the age of global computation and algorithmic governance.
Designing The New Normal: A.I. at Urban Scale
Something has shifted, it seems. We are making new worlds faster than we can keep track of them, and the pace is unlikely to slow. Have our technologies advanced beyond our ability to conceptualize their implications? If so, such gaps can be perilous. In response, one impulse is to pull the emergency brake and to try put all the genies back in the bottle. This is ill-advised (and hopeless). Better instead to invest in emergence, in contingency: to map The New Normal for what it is, and to design it toward what it should be.
Perhaps what is most normal is also most strange. At every moment, seemingly distant and unlike things are linked into one another. Ecological flows become sites of intensive sensing, quantification and governance. Global computing infrastructure spurs platform economics and creates virtual geographies in its own image. Cities form vast discontiguous networks as they weave their borders into enclaves or escape routes. Virtual addressing systems locate billions of entities and events into unfamiliar maps. Interfaces present vibrant augmentations of reality, standing in for extended cognition. Users, both human and non-human, populate this tangled apparatus, an accidental megastructure we can call The Stack.
But The New Normal describes more than just technologies. At stake are our economies, ecologies, and cultures. Among the most high-stakes areas for design research are the cultural challenges posed by artificial intelligence (A.I.). But where is A.I.? Perhaps anywhere or everywhere. A.I. are never virtual: they are embodied as machine sensing (vision, sound, touch, motion, heat, etc.) networked at the scale of the city. The cities we build are not just the place about which A.I. applies knowledge, they are also the senses with which A.I. takes form. The design problem is less A.I. and Cities than Cities as A.I., or better: A.I. as City. If so, what places are there for us?
In this lecture, Strelka Institute Programme Director, Benjamin H. Bratton, will survey what makes The New Normal so contested, and will introduce the Strelka postgraduate program in which students will investigate these themes and develop speculative interventions with its global and Russian faculty.
Strelka’s new programme focuses on research and design for the city and explores the opportunities posed by emerging technologies for interdisciplinary design practices. It employs tools and approaches from a wide variety of disciplines and is developed in collaboration with a group of excellent Faculty: Benjamin Bratton, Lev Manovich, Liam Young, Keller Easterling, Metahaven and others. The New Normal programme is designed for young talented professionals from around the world with backgrounds in architecture, urban studies, digital media, interaction design, software studies, socials sciences, and other fields!
Strelka’s postgraduate programme is free and includes a monthly scholarship.
Applications are accepted until November 6 at applytostrelka.com.