Dr Gianni Corino

Gianni Corino is i-DAT’s Creative Producer.

Gianni Corino is Associate Professor in Interactive Media, i-DAT’s Creative Producer at Plymouth University. Before that he was a research at ISMB (Turin Polytechnic) and lecturer at Ingegneria del Cinema e dei Mezzi di Comunicazione (Turin Polytechnic).

His research consolidates many years of interdisciplinary practice around the idea of Embodied networks. His practice based PhD investigated the relevance of the ‘thing’ and the ‘object’ in the Internet of Things context and proposes an alternative performative design approach to the field. As part of the design framework called Internet of Props, he established the “Smarter Planet Lab”, an interdisciplinary facility co-designed with IBM – Hursley Innovation Centre.

Previous interactive art projects include Remote Risonanze, a virtual double theatre project, Quixote a locative media or Dn[t]cube, semantic ontology interactive project. In 2007 with visual artist Chiara Boeri he worked on ‘Metrobosco’ a participatory and ecological interactive installation for urban redesign. The installation was selected for Siggraph Art Galley 2007.

Research interests are in Interactive arts, emergent media, social media, embodied networks, participatory and network dynamics, performativity, Interaction design, Internet of things.

For more info contact me at g dot corino at plymouth dot ac dot uk or on skype as johnny_gc.


PhD Title:

Internet of props. A performative ontology and design framework for the Internet of Things

Set In the relatively new and fast developing field of investigation known as Internet of Things (IoT), this research starts by looking at the lack of critical and conceptual reflection on the area.

In doing so it questions aspects of the rhetoric surrounding IoT in order to identify new definitions and a possible model, which avoids the faux problem of agency (Ingold, 2011) and a re-definition of a principle of symmetry between human and nonhuman (Latour, 1994).

This research consists of:

1: Speculative inquiry into the ontological challenge of ‘objects’ and ‘things’ and the emerging social dimension

2: the identification of a ontological performative model based on the idea of Props.

3: The entanglement of theory and practice to construct a design framework, called the Internet of Props .

4: The co-desing and implantation of enabling platform (Smarter Planet Lab) and the development of set of design workshops (Transactional Props) to demonstrate and evaluate this model and framework.

The initial speculative concern is with the ontological challenge presented by the term ‘things’, as opposed to ‘objects’. Conceptually this moves away from traditional western polarities of things/objects, and dualism of subject/object, and requires a redefinition of an emerging new sociality ecosystem. This marks a foundational shift that engages cultural anthropological (Ingold, Hodder), philosophical (Pickering, Heidegger) and sociological (Latour) discussions.

As a consequence the research looks at providing a ontological performative model to broaden, and assist in the development of a poorly articulated field.

In doing so it proposes, a design framework that includes the  practice-based design activities, like the development of platform instrumental to enable a series of design workshop. All together a design toolkit of the IoT.

The ontological model is firstly theoretically explored, and then enacted in practice through a set of projects that intertwine that theory and practice to construct a design methodology. The entanglement of humans and non-humans, the mangling of the Internet of People and the Internet of Things thereby becomes the Internet of Props.

The props are used to enquire into the critical aspects of IoT and also help to imagine and “perform” the future of IoT. Props act as an open framework to include participation in the creative act, to engage users in the definition of the design process. These are instruments for thinking about performing with and through the ‘things’ of IoT.

The theoretical model and the overall design framework, framed as the ‘Internet of Props, is conceptually inspired by the ontological theatre (Pickering, 2010), by the dramaturgical approach (Goffman, 1959), practically inspired by the works of artists like Ascott and designers (Dunne, Gaver, Bleecker, Sterling). In its definition, design practices, HCI process and procedure such as participatory design, critical and speculative design (Dunne) and cultural probe (Gaver) have been essential. Further more, it is informed by performance art, in particular happenings (Kaprow).

My practice is therefore comprised of an enabling platform and intervention to perform and experiment with the Internet of Props.

The IBM Smarter Planet Lab, co-designed by the author as part of this investigation, provides the platform for this performance.

The intervention is a homage to and re-interpretation of Roy Ascott’s Transaction Set (1971).

The intervention  comprises a group of props, a set ultimately defined as the Internet of Props where the things of IoT are given the ability to “perform” value and meanings as part of this new ecosystem.