June 17: The Black Stack (Bratton)

by robbiefordyce

The Black Stack

Bratton @ Transmediale




Following our reading of Terranova’s Red Stack Attack, and last week’s reading of Maurer et al, we have our third part of our investigation into digital currencies: The Black Stack, by Bratton.

Bratton proposes the Stack as a new category for addressing geopolitical divisions. “In my analysis, there are six layers to this Stack: Earth, Cloud, City, Address, Interface, and User.” These divisions align and arrange a set of different relationships between different concepts of space and different individuals. Bratton proposes that we read these different layers as formal structures under which different forms of politics take place, but that the connection between these layers is assumed, rather than given. By invalidating or contesting different layers of the Stack, changes may be implemented in ways that are unexpectedly effective.

“My interest in the geopolitics of planetary-scale computation focuses less on issues of personal privacy and state surveillance than on how it distorts and deforms traditional Westphalian modes of political geography, jurisdiction, and sovereignty, and produces new territories in its image.

Bratton’s essay combines with Terranova’s work to explore what changes digital currency might have, and connects well with previous readings we have done with the spans of autonomism and platforms studies.

[HTML] B. Bratton “The Black Stack” (2014) e-flux [http://www.e-flux.com/journal/the-black-stack/]

Regular meeting time/place:
5pm on Tuesday 17th of June,
Gorman Room, 1888 Building,


Map image taken from: http://fiatleak.com/