A day in the life: James Bridle

I’ve chosen to focus this post on the writer, artist, and technologist James Bridle. New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future is the title of Bridle’s 2018 book which presents a largely pessimistic account of the technology and data that structure our society. Bridle’s work is interesting to me because of its critical lens on issues such as surveillance, drone warfare, and the refugee crisis. A large section of his writing is published on his personal website and blog, but Bridle has also written for publications such as The GuardianWired Magazine, and The Atlantic. Bridle also publishes on the online platform Medium, which is where I first encountered his writing through a fascinating post uncovering the YouTube algorithms that necessitate exploitation.

Bridle’s perspective and research seems to stem from critical and media theory. He also draws from his practice and occupancy in the art world where he focuses on new/emerging media formats. His book, New Dark Age, regularly cites scholarly pieces as well news articles and blog posts. This book was published by Verso Books which is known for its publication of works that comprise of critical theory / leftist / marxist perspectives. I suspect Bridle’s completion of his first book and entry into this larger publishing house in 2018 represented a significant step forward in his writing career. To get to this point, Bridle likely spent years developing his reputation as a writer with a focus on establishing expertise on socio-technical concepts. Bridle may have leveraged his blog and personal site to develop his abilities and generate a portfolio of pieces which would then allow him entry into smaller and then larger publications. I suspect that today, Bridle is regularly contacted for submissions based on the ideas he has become known for in his more recent writing. Bridle also might be proposing pieces of writing for the smaller publications he writes for on a more regular basis. To my knowledge, Bridle is not a staff writer for any publication. 

As an artist and writer, Bridle may have a diversified set of revenue sources. I suspect he is commissioned for most if not all of his art and writing pieces. Bridle is also likely gathering income from book sales and speaking engagements. 

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