About

‘The Shadow of the Future’ is a research blog by the artist and writer Sumugan Sivanesan, begun in January 2016 at the commencement of a six-month research residency at the University of Potsdam, Department of Cultural Studies supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

The title of this blog is lifted from Benjamin H. Bratton’s essay ‘The Black Stack’ (2014), in which the design theorist outlines his re-visioning of the current political subdivision of Earth to encompass a global system of computation and communication; a vertical layering he calls ‘The Stack.’ This ordering of the world gives rise to an inevitable ‘computational-totality-to-come’ in which humankind is no longer central and people are potentially best understood as molecular assemblages subject to re-purposing. According to Bratton, The Black Stack is ‘what the shadow of the future is to the form of the present’…‘defined at this moment by what it is not.’ He challenges his readers to consider that what may appear to be the worst options now, may prove in time to be where our best options are found. ‘It is less a ‘possible future’ than an escape from the present.’