Stack Election

Nov 5, 2017

The state-wide election is probably the most iconic democratic procedure. But as elections are seemingly more and more being manipulated by anonymous agents, we challenge their truthfulness. When outside forces meddle with a foreign democratic process, it is usually understood as infringement.

This text is a response to reading about Benjamin Bratton's concept of the Stack: “planetary-scale computation understood as a megastructure”.

In a conversation with Metahaven, Bratton argues that “common infrastructure provides common citizenship”. In this sense, digital networks could unite people as nations that are not defined, as it is traditionally understood, by territory.

Now, one could go so far as to say that in a recent election the anonymous election-influencers together with the existing citizens collectively, and indeed democratically, elected a president. Not a president for an existing territorial country, but for a nation comprised of many locations and brought together through the infrastructure of the stack. A nation of a majority adhering a common truth (shaped partially by algorithms) based on which voting decisions were made.

I wrote this text in response to one of my classes at Parsons, called Design For This Century. It deals with the underlying questions of being a designer in the unfolding century, especially in relation to social, political, cultural, and material domains.