ow is a research project focused on the transformation of the internet user in relation to labour. It draws from Benjamin Bratton's The Stack definition of user—anything able to interface with another user; whether human, animal, plant, mineral, machinic, algorithmic, etc.—to understand the idea of work in a different way.

To do so, the project sets a scenario where a Universal Basic Income is a prerequisite for a post-work society, undermining the classic idea of work and worker—a process began in the 70s with the rising of the post-fordist figure.

The internet user is, indeed, the latest iteration of a process of full identification between the post-fordist worker and his her job, where intellectual and affective labour are the main means of production and of subject-formation.


In no particular order:


Working on:

  • The Stack, Interface Layer—Benjamin H. Bratton

    Relevant passages highlighted while reading the Interface Layer chapter of The Stack. Ultimately it is the arbitrary precision of interfacial diagrams of specific interactions that allows them to delimit in advance what the User can and can- not do with The Stack as a whole. Beyond just the framing of possible actions, the active responsiveness of the interfacial diagram allows its unique mapping of reality to seem not only valid but also functionally real to the User. This accumulation of incommensurable recursive projections back into direct perceptual reality (however inaccurate, false, stupefying, and illegible they may be) is the first ... more
  • The Stack, User Layer—Benjamin H. Bratton

    Relevant passages highlighted while reading the User Layer chapter of The Stack. The Stack—User Layer By contrast, the platform sovereignty of the User in The Stack as identified for the Interface and City layers is derived not from some essential dignity of the particular human who “uses,” but from the agency of the User position in relation to the envelopes against which he or she or it is situated. Any sovereignty of the User draws less probably from established legal rights than from the contradictions and slippages between how formal citizens are provided access under control regimes versus how platfo... more
  • The Politics Of Platform Technologies—Benjamin Bratton

    At minute 5:41: [the state providing energy, infrastructure, legal identity, etc.] and bit by bit, each of these and more, are now also provided by cloud platforms. Not necessarily as formal replacement for State-version, but, like google-id, simply more useful and affective for daily life. So for these platforms, the terms of participation are not mandatory, and because of this, the social contracts are more extractive and constitutional. At minute 8:47: It’s important as well to recognise that platforms are not only a technical infrastructure, they are an institutional form as well. They centralise like States, scaffolding the terms of participation to... more
  • The Black Stack

    A lot of great passages, italics mine: From here we see that contemporary Cloud platforms are displacing, if not also replacing, traditional core functions of states, and demonstrating, for both good and ill, new spatial and temporal models of politics and publics. Archaic states drew their authority from the regular provision of food. Over the course of modernization, more was added to the intricate bargains of Leviathan: energy, infrastructure, legal identity and standing, objective and comprehensive maps, credible currencies, and flag-brand loyalties. Bit by bit, each of these and more are now provided by Cloud platforms, not necessarily as formal ... more
  • The Cloud, the State, and the Stack: Metahaven in Conversation with Benjamin Bratton

    BB (...) The geographic-topological distinction between fixed node or fluid edge, central or de-central, could locate States on either side of the distinction and that amphibiousness is only increasing. I take “State” to mean a kind of formal jurisdictional structure that absorbs a geographic domain into its purview, that can assign identity and address, which can control mobility within a certain field, and which can claim final authority over the legitimacy of violence within a specific domain. But “networks” do all those things too. (...) MH How exactly are Clouds de facto States? They can bring together a rather large polity (like the Face... more