Sankalp Bhatnagar, The New School

Sydney 2018: Infrastructure and co-design

If you intervene with respect to a paradoxical situation, or if you intervene with regard to a relation that is not a relation, you will have to propose a new framework of thought, and you will have to affirm that it is possible to think this paradoxical situation, on condition, of course, that a certain number of parameters be abandoned, and a certain number of novelties introduced. – Alain Badiou, Philosophy in the Present (2009)

There is a way of thinking about technological change which encourages individuals to engage in socially problematic behavior, by making decisions which compress time, disregard ethics, neglect care, and abdicate responsibility. It helped give rise to a culture of Silicon Valley, where technology companies can develop systems they don’t understand well enough to design safely. As a consequence, institutions built by society to deal with social, cultural, economic, and political change have been coming undone by a particular mindset, celebrated for building the ideas of some into the lives of many. What would it take to think otherwise, by whom, and from where should that work be done?


Proposing alternatives for how else something can be (lateral thinking), examining a situation in a new way (critical reframing), recognizing local and dispersed implications (scalar thinking), considering structural inter-dependency (systems thinking), identifying methodological deformations in the process (reflecting practice), building to think through constraints (critical making), extrapolating scenarios from signals (speculative thinking), and exploring unexpected results (experimental prototyping).