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Benedict Singleton is a strategist with a background in design and philosophy. He is based in London, where he divides his time between commercial consultancy and self-directed or pro bono projects, which will be featured on this site.

He is the author of the forthcoming book The Long Con (Urbanomic, 2015), an alternative history of design, and regularly writes on the politics and philosophy of technology for publications like Architectural Design and E-Flux. He has been a visiting critic and/or lecturer at the Architectural Association, the Royal College of Art, the Bartlett School of Architecture and further afield, including invited presentations across the UK and US, and in Italy, Germany, Korea, Japan, Sweden, and beyond.

Contact: email, LinkedIn, Twitter, Academia.edu


New and upcoming

Strategies of Exit, Logics of Escape. Discussion about the art, design, and politics of escape, with Keith Tilford and Suhail Malik as part of the Fixing the Future online series. 29th July 2014, 2pm EST. More information here.

As-yet-untitled talk at the Time, Intelligence, Acceleration conference at the Performing Arts Forum (PAF), St Erme Outre et Ramecourt, France, August 15th-17th 2014. Event details.

Versions of the Maximum Jailbreak piece on space travel are due to republished in Leesmagazijn (in Dutch) and in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. Publication dates to be announced soon.

Forthcoming later in 2014: an invited editorial for the Journal of Space Policy.

Invited speaker at the Centre for Design and Geopolitics, La Jolla, CA, early 2015. More details as they become available. cryptocurrency broker









2014

Emancipating the Concept of Freedom. Public discussion with Armen Avanessian, Pete Wolfendale, Ray Brassier and Anke Hennig. Hans der Kulteren der Welt, Berlin, July 11th 2014. Info.

Berlin Summer School. Teaching at a two-week symposium alongside Reza Negarestani and Ray Brassier, amongst others. My sessions included The Long Con, on design, film, and forensics, and The Straw Astronaut, on space travel and settlement. Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, July 1st-12th 2014. More information here.

The Straw Astronaut. Talk at the Extraterrestrial Liberty II symposium convened by the British Interplanetary Society and the UK Centre for Astrobiology, Arthur C Clarke House, London, 12th June 2014.

The Platform. Talk at Occupy the Future: Is a Promethean Politics Possible?, Westminster University, London, May 23rd 2014.

Dead White Ferrari Envy. Panel discussion with Robin Mackay, Alex Williams and Pete Wolfendale at the launch of #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader, Enclave, Deptford, London, May 14th 2014.

Visiting critic, ADS09, School of Architecture, Royal College of Art, April 3rd 2014.

Platform Dynamics. Talk at the Incredible Machines conference, Access Gallery, Vancouver, March 7th-8th 2014. Abstract.

Transmediale. On the Geopolitical Accelerationism panel with Benjamin Bratton, Julieta Aranda and others, Berlin, January 29th 2014.

The Republic of the Moon. Public panel discussion on the future of the moon with astrophysicist Ian Crawford, theologian Jeremy Law, and Arts Catalyst founder and director Nicola Trescott, organised by We Colonised the Moon to accompany their residency at the The Arts Catalyst. London, Jan 11th 2014. More details here.


2013

Jurist, end-of-year reviews, at Liam Young and Kate Davies's Unknown Fields Division (Diploma 6). Architectural Association, London, December 20th 2013.

Visiting critic, alongside exhibition designer Bob Baxter, with Jon Goodbun's graduate students at the School of Architecture, Royal College of Art, December 6th 2013.

The Long Con. Presentation and discussion with Giuseppe Longo and Robin Mackay. Miguel Abreu Gallery, NYC, September 26th 2013. Video

Maximum Jailbreak (Part 2). Parsons The New School for Design, NYC, September 25th 2013. Video

Manipulative Fictions. Stacktivism conference, Limewharf Annex, London, July 13th 2013.

The Art of the Plot. Goldsmiths School of Art, London, May 7th 2013.

Speculative Design. Speculative Aesthetics conference, London, March 4th 2013. Associated reading material

Maximum Jailbreak. The Matter of Contradiction 3: The War Against The Sun conference, London. March 3rd 2013. Video

The Long Con. Lecture and 5-day workshop, with Ilona Gaynor. Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå, Sweden. January 22-27th 2013.


2012

On Craft and Being Crafty. Alterfutures 14, Sense Worldwide, London. November 22nd 2012.

Designing Services. Royal College of Art, London. The inaugural lecture on the new MA Service Design course, November 6th 2012.

Does the Angle Between Two Walls Have a Happy Ending? Lecture at the Millennium annual conference on geopolitics, London School of Economics, October 22nd 2012.

On Craft and Being Crafty. Northumbria University School of Design, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, March 28th 2012.


2011

Visiting critic on Shaun Murray and Stuart Munro's units, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, London, throughout year.

Subtle Empires. Architectural Association, London. 4th Feb 2011.


2010


Visiting critic on Shaun Murray and Stuart Munro's units, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, London, throughout year.

Tearing off the Peacock’s Tail: The World After Service Design. Alterfutures 7, Sense Worldwide, London. May 12th 2010.

On Services. TU Berlin, Berlin, 22nd February 2010.


2009

[Untitled.] Artist's talk, part of the Design Act 3: Design at Stake symposium, IASPIS, Stockholm, October 24th 2009.

Design as Politics. Part of the Design Activism series at Leeds Metropolitan University, October 2nd 2009.

Designing Human Behaviour. Seminar as part of the Forms of Sustainability programme, Konstfack University, Stockholm, October 23rd 2009.

[Image: Talk at Miguel Abreu Gallery, NYC, September 26th 2013. Courtesy Sequence Press.]


The second of two sessions at the summer school hosted by Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, from July 1st to July 12th, 2014. The session will be held on the afternoon of Wednesday 9th July, beginning at 2pm. A full programme of events and details about how to apply can be found here.


The Straw Astronaut

Space exploration and settlement recast perennial philosophical and political questions as engineering problems. In the early years of this century, the provenance of life, the nature of intelligence, the relationship of humans to the future and the structure of functional societies, amongst other familiar themes, find themselves addressed most directly not by work in the arts and humanities but by programmes of space research - where the artificial production and maintenance of social dynamics, collaborations with increasingly autonomous machines, and the synthetic creation of entire living ecosystems are all under active investigation.

This session, which continues the project begun in Maximum Jailbreak, will outline some of the features and implications of this actually-existing accelerationism. Articulated as a twisted retelling of the Kubrick-Clarke production 2001 in which the monolith is a fugitive and distributed structure glimpsed in the contours it lends to a certain kinds of thought, talk and action, we'll contextualise present developments into a history of links between technical ingenuity, frontier exploration and the cultivation of intelligence. The iconic 20th century figure of the astronaut served as a way to present the results of enormously abstract political, economic and technological systems as a celebration of 'the human', but in the 21st century the problem is abruptly posed: if we are what we do, and this is what we're doing, then what the hell are we?



[Image: Paperweight by Paul J. Stankard. Via.]



The Long Con is the first of two sessions I've been invited to run at the summer school hosted by Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, July 1st-12th 2014. The session will be held on the morning of Wednesday 9th July, kicking off at 10am. More details about the summer school and info about the application procedure can be found here.


The Long Con

This session will explore the plot as a mode of creativity, a formulation of design. Even the most cursory consideration shows 'plot' to be a strange term, unusually rich. It can refer to an architectural site, as in the ground-plot of a building, as well as a workshop drawing or analytic chart; it also indexes a sequence of fictional events strung into a narrative, and, simultaneously, the subversive scheme of an unseen director, orchestrating events from somewhere in the shadowy wings of the world, from whence the plot twist arrives…

We will begin with a tour of the secret passageways that connect and integrate these differing senses of 'plot'. From this departure point, we’ll draw on film, forensics and finance to elaborate the concept, and sketch out the peculiar dynamics that animate it: the fascination a plot exerts when we stumble onto it; the form ambition takes when it plots rather than plans; the odd and unnerving fellowship of the detective who reconstructs the plot with the criminal who constructs it, who must learn to think alike; and the tendency of plots to escalate, seemingly of their own accord, from a hustle - casual, improvised, opportune - into the long con of the morning’s title.



[Image: Magneto's Nazi hunting in X-Men: First Class, dir. Matthew Vaughn, 2011]


#Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader is a survey of accelerationism, from its 19th century antecedents (Marx, Fedorov, Butler), through the 20th century from Ballard to the work of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit in the 1990s, and into the present day. From the publishers:

Accelerationism is the name of a contemporary political heresy: the insistence that the only radical political response to capitalism is not to protest, disrupt, critique, or détourne it, but to accelerate and exacerbate its uprooting, alienating, decoding, abstractive tendencies […] Since the 2013 publication of Williams's and Srnicek's #Accelerate: Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics, the term has been adopted to name a set of new theoretical enterprises that aim to conceptualise non-capitalist futures outside of traditional marxist critiques and regressive, decelerative or restorative solutions.

The reader contains a substantially revised and extended version of the Maximum Jailbreak essay on space travel (to read the original, go here).