Interview with Benjamin H Bratton via LAND Reader

This interview is an example of how far “left-field” thinking is needed to go to contemplate an alternative to “Global Capital” to rather an idea of “Global Commonwealth” – is this another type of utopian dream?

BY DAMIAN HOLMES of LAND Reader : ” The Guardian has published an Interview with Benjamin H Bratton, director of the Center for Design and Geopolitics, Calit2 and University of California, San Diego as part of their Activate New York event to be held in late April. Bratton gives interesting insights into design, technology and urbanism including:

“Better design is a way of doing good in and of itself, one would assume. But what is better design? Better for what end?” – Can we design a more harmonious world?

“Tell us who you work for and what you do.

I am a writer. My work is a mix of social and political philosophy, architectural and urban theory, and computing and information infrastructure. I direct the Center for Design and Geopolitics at Calit2 at University of California, San Diego, where I work side-by-side with nanoengineers, biotechnologists, computational physicists, neuro-ontologists, and, of course, crazy artists. A lot of my recent thinking is at bratton.info and @bratton. Right now, I am writing a book on the the fate of cosmopolitanism in the era of planetary computation and post-humanism.

Cities cover 2% of the earth’s crust and account for 50% of the world’s population. Does this statistic fully highlight the importance of architects and designers in facilitating a harmonious world?

Only if we assume that architects and designers are responsible for the architecture and design of cities. They are and they aren’t. Cities are almost living things unto themselves, which we can certainly effect in particular ways, but which evolve according patterns in migratory networks, logistical networks, financial networks, informational networks, and so on. We may soon take for granted the notion that these impersonal processes have more to with the character of cities than any single master plan. This is not to say that we shouldn’t think hard about design, quite to the contrary. But our focus should be on thinking of the world’s cities as a single, massively-distributed urban organism, instead of little isolated fortresses.

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