We live in times of increasing inscrutability. Our news feeds are filled with unverified, unverifiable speculation, much of it automatically generated by anonymous software. As a result, we no longer understand what is happening around us. Underlying all of these trends is a single idea: the belief that quantitative data can provide a coherent model of the world, and the efficacy of computable information to provide us with ways of acting within it. Yet the sheer volume of information available to us today reveals less than we hope. Rather, it heralds a new Dark Age: a world of ever-increasing incomprehension.
In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle offers us a warning against the future in which the contemporary promise of a new technologically assisted Enlightenment may just deliver its opposite: an age of complex uncertainty, predictive algorithms, surveillance, and the hollowing out of empathy.
Surveying the history of art, technology and information systems he reveals the dark clouds that gather over discussions of the digital sublime.
"The young British artist is spearheading a conceptual-art movement-'the New Aesthetic'-through Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram, as he tries to capture technology's strange effects on society." -Vanity Fair
James Bridle (b. 1980, London) studied Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence before embarking on a career as literary editor, technologist, writer, journalist, and visual artist. He wrote a column on electronic publishing for the Guardian for three years, and has contributed to the Observer, New Humanist, New Statesman, Wired, Frieze, Cabinet, The Atlantic, Domus, ICON, Vice , and many other publication. His artworks have been exhibited worldwide, including at MOMA New York, and the Hayward Gallery, the Whitechapel Gallery, the Southbank Centre and the Barbican in London. He has been commissioned by Artangel, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Serpentince Galleries, and the Photographers Gallery, shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize 2014 and the COLLIDE CERN Award 2016, and received an Excellence Award from the Japan Media Arts Festival and the Graphic Design of the Year Award from the Design Museum in 2014. He has taught at Goldsmith's, University of London, and the Interactive Telecommunications Programme at NYU, speaks regularly at schools, universities, business and cultural conferences including TED and South By Southwes. His work has been profiled by the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Die Zeit, Libération, Dazed, The Wall Street Journal, and others. He lives and works in Athens, Greece.