The Deep: A Lecture & Discussion with Benjamin H. Bratton

The Deep: Learning, Time, Fake, State, Ecology
Benjamin H. Bratton — Chaired by Suhail Malik

6.30-8.00pm, Thursday 3 May, 2018 — Professor Stuart Hall Building, LG02

In this lecture and discussion, Benjamin H. Bratton will consider the role/limits of aesthetics in modelling complex systems operating at scales that confound normal human intuition. Such models may include limited and conditional feats of abstractive (cognitive, technical, formal, figurative, gestural). He will draw together deep time, deep learning, deep ecology and deep states of various kinds: the emergence of intelligence from material complexity, post-Turing Test models of human-AI interaction, synthetic sensing at urban scale, inorganic semiotics, the inscrutability of artificial neural networks, multipolar hemispherical stacks, designing planetary governance and gradient citizenships, and the coupling / decoupling of past, present and future as foundations and alibis.

A Copernican turn in design (and media theory) might be based on how intelligence is imbued in accumulating layers of material technologies (grammer, the grave, the GPU, etc.) that allow successive generations to build on / against them and to automate processes for escaping intuitive biases, not reinforcing chauvinisms. If Anthropogeny is the study of how ancient species became human, then Anthropolysis may be the study of how the human becomes something else. In between is a sort of “humanities” that is based less on celebrating the expressive experience of interiority than on getting outside our own skins to know what we are (and indeed where and when we are) and what to do next.

The world is a model open to design and designation, not by self-reflective human mastery over its sovereign domain, but because our planet uses humans to know itself and remake itself. We are the medium, not the message.

Benjamin H. Bratton is a writer whose work spans Philosophy, Design and Computer Science. He is Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. He is also Program Director of the Streika Institute of Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow, a Professor of Digital Design at The European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and Distinguished Visiting Faculty at SCI_Arc (The Southern California Institute of Architecture) in Los Angeles.

This event is free. No booking is required. All are welcome!

Part of VisCult’s summer term public lecture programme:

Alien Time

An Invitation to Time Travel

Series organised by Bridget Crone and Henriette Gunkel

Alien Time extends from the question of futurity to that of time travel. How should we understand time in an age of planetary complexity, outside of experience and in other than human scale? How should we consider time as “alien”, in what dimensions and for what purpose? What circuits, which routes take us to the future or the past? How are we to conceive of a form of time that enables a jump or jump-cut or splice, fast forward or rewind from this moment that we inhabit? Or, alternatively, how do we figure a time that is never itself complete but always underscored by another time and another space?

Ranging from the flicker to the fractal to the stack, as well as precedents from financial to AI and to physics we invite theorists, curators, artists and musicians to discuss the potentials for time outside time as we know it – alien time. Please join us.

You can follow further announcements of events as part of this series over on the series’ event page here.

Two Upcoming Events with Zach Blas

VisCult’s Zach Blas has two events upcoming in London over the next few weeks.

Tomorrow, on April 28th, Zach’s film Facial Weaponization Communiqué: Fag Face has been selected as part of the XENOMETRICS film programme on “The Scrutiny of the Mechanical Gave over Queer Bodies”, curated by Pedro Marum. The programme will be showing at Mimosa House. Blas will be in conversation with Marum following the programme. For more information, visit the Facebook event here.

Later, on May 8th, Blas will be in conversation with Ben Eastman as part of a series of “Conversations from the Future” held alongside the Hayward Gallery’s current exhibition, Adapt to Survive: Notes from the FutureFor more information on this, you can visit the Hayward Gallery’s events page here as well as its Facebook event here.

///SLASH/// — Degree Show Fundraiser for BA FA/HA

Degree show season is nearly upon us and VisCult’s joint honours BA Fine Art & History of Art course are holding a fundraiser on 12th May 2018 from 10pm to 3am at Deptford’s Bunker Club. The night will see performances from staff, students and alumni xin, Louis Digital, Gitana and Btech. Tickets are £5 and available here.

For more information, you can visit the Facebook events page here.

/////All the spectacle and sonic pleasures you could wish for on a friday night in South East ////


//// Performances from 10PM ///// sexy junk mail, old french costume, hostile dancing, octopus tentacles, maybe a flip, definitely some singing, and more ////

Louis Digital:

When he is not scrutinising the urban forms of financial capitalism in Goldsmiths’s Visual Cultures dept, Louis makes tracks. He has previously released records with the Glasgow label Numbers as part of the duo Unspecified Enemies, and as Louis Digital for Warp’s Arcola sub-label. He has also put on the Statdtklang nights with the UCL urban lab, exploring acoustic cities and sonic utopias. His vinyl-only set on the night will take us through some electro, high-tech funk, Chicago acid house and Detroit techno.



Currently based in Berlin, the artist and musician xin has contributed to compilations on Genome 6.66mpb, Intruder Alert and AN BA. The recent BA FA/HA graduate will be releasing their debut EP this spring, and is set to play at Berghain’s Säule later this month. Their explosive and shape shifting sounds are a drift through distant futures and ancient pasts, packed with intense otherworldly landscapes.



The South London based Gitana has previously been a guest for the womxn & non-binary collective UNITI, as well as on NTS radio with Akito. They are currently finishing their BA in Visual Cultures. Their diverse mesh of dance tunes, from bailefunk to dancehall, all induced with that dark undertone, are set to get you hot on the dance floor.



Yet another Goldsmiths graduate and visual artist, Btech organises the Superfluid nights in South London’s White Hart with Eman Resu.

***Poster Background Bethan Mckinnie

Forensic Architecture nominated for the Turner Prize

VisCult are immensely proud to share the news that Forensic Architecture — the Goldsmiths-based independent research project involving various VisCult staff and students — has been shortlisted for this year’s Turner Prize.

The Tate writes: “In recent years, Forensic Architecture has distinguished itself by developing pioneering methods for spatial investigations of state and corporate violations worldwide.”

The winner of the Prize will be announced in a ceremony in December 2018. In the meantime, you can still see the exhibition “Counter Investigations: Forensic Architecture“, on show at the ICA until 13 May 2018.

Professor Eyal Weizman, VisCult lecturer and director of the Centre for Research Architecture, has responded to the nomination on Twitter, asking a pertinent question of the group’s future: “Very surprised and a little overwhelmed by the Turner nomination. Will it help promote FA’s cause and investigations (what matters) or get us subsumed within the arts-financial-complex?”

Janna Graham at IMMER #1

VisCult’s Janna Graham will be taking part in IMMER #1, the first International Meeting on Museum Education & Research on ‘Rethinking Museum Theory and Practice’, at the Museu do Douro in Peso de Régua, Portugal, on 23rd – 24th May 2018.

The i2ADS – Research Institute in Art, Design and Society and the Faculdade de Belas Artes, Universidade do Porto (FBAUP), in partnership with the Fundação Museu do Douro, are organising the IMMER#1 First International Meeting on Museum Education & Research – Rethinking Museum Theory and Practices, to be held on 23rd and 24th May 2018 at the Museu do Douro in Peso da Régua, Portugal.

IMMER#1 aims to present, reflect on, and discuss current educational and research practices in the context of museums, seeking to address relational processes and real audience involvement, as well as to explore dissident and transformative pedagogical possibilities in tune with more democratic and socially engaged values.

The language of the meeting will be English.

Further information about IMMER#1, the programme and registration conditions, can be found at

To register for this event, click here before the 20th May 2018.