The Stack : On Software and Sovereignty

The Stack : On Software and Sovereignty


A comprehensive political and design theory of planetary-scale computation proposing that The Stack-an accidental megastructure-is both a technological apparatus and a model for a new geopolitical architecture.

What has planetary-scale computation done to our geopolitical realities? It takes different forms at different scales-from energy and mineral sourcing and subterranean cloud infrastructure to urban software and massive universal addressing systems; from interfaces drawn by the augmentation of the hand and eye to users identified by self-quantification and the arrival of legions of sensors, algorithms, and robots. Together, how do these distort and deform modern political geographies and produce new territories in their own image?

In The Stack, Benjamin Bratton proposes that these different genres of computation-smart grids, cloud platforms, mobile apps, smart cities, the Internet of Things, automation-can be seen not as so many species evolving on their own, but as forming a coherent whole: an accidental megastructure called The Stack that is both a computational apparatus and a new governing architecture. We are inside The Stack and it is inside of us.

In an account that is both theoretical and technical, drawing on political philosophy, architectural theory, and software studies, Bratton explores six layers of The Stack: Earth, Cloud, City, Address, Interface, User. Each is mapped on its own terms and understood as a component within the larger whole built from hard and soft systems intermingling-not only computational forms but also social, human, and physical forces. This model, informed by the logic of the multilayered structure of protocol "stacks," in which network technologies operate within a modular and vertical order, offers a comprehensive image of our emerging infrastructure and a platform for its ongoing reinvention.

The Stack is an interdisciplinary design brief for a new geopolitics that works with and for planetary-scale computation. Interweaving the continental, urban, and perceptual scales, it shows how we can better build, dwell within, communicate with, and govern our worlds.

Similar Books

ISBN 10: 1509504877
ISBN 13: 9781509504879

27 Dec 2016
Nick Srnicek

ISBN 10: 178663547X
ISBN 13: 9781786635471

17 Jul 2018
James Bridle

ISBN 10: 0816698910
ISBN 13: 9780816698912

29 Feb 2016
Yuk Hui

ISBN 10: 1784786225
ISBN 13: 9781784786229

25 Oct 2016
Nick Srnicek

ISBN 10: 3956791959
ISBN 13: 9783956791956

09 Jul 2020
Benjamin H. Bratton

ISBN 10: 0745662536
ISBN 13: 9780745662534

16 Oct 2012
Alexander R. Galloway

ISBN 10: 0262039702
ISBN 13: 9780262039703

09 Apr 2019
Warren Sack

ISBN 10: 1517902444
ISBN 13: 9781517902445

01 Nov 2017
Shannon Mattern

ISBN 10: 1509520635
ISBN 13: 9781509520633

29 May 2018
Helen Hester

ISBN 10: 0997567406
ISBN 13: 9780997567403

27 Nov 2018
Reza Negarestani

ISBN 10: 1784783641
ISBN 13: 9781784783648

01 Dec 2016
Keller Easterling

ISBN 10: 1788732162
ISBN 13: 9781788732161

26 Jun 2018
Mike Davis

Warning: fopen(/var/www/ failed to open stream: Permission denied in /var/www/ on line 0

Warning: fwrite() expects parameter 1 to be resource, bool given in /var/www/ on line 0

Warning: fclose() expects parameter 1 to be resource, bool given in /var/www/ on line 0