Open Prototyping: A Framework for Combining Art and Innovation in the IoT and Smart Cities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Cities have become vast repositories of data, and through access to mobile, wearable and ubiquitous technologies, people now have an unprecedented capacity to be connected to the internet while on the move. Recent developments in mobile media, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) profoundly shape human potential today, often in ways that are neither transparent, nor accountable. A tradition of art practice has developed over recent decades in which artists experiment with these technologies and explore the social context and consequences in their work. An important aspect of this practice is the way it speaks to and participates in wider debates and developments surrounding emerging technology. Such practice crosses disciplinary boundaries, and, as a consequence, has an uncertain relationship to both the wider arts sector and the technology industry. The chapter presents a guide to understanding this practice, and a framework for devising and evaluating such boundary-spanning works. Case studies considered include an art installation asking provocative questions about our life online, the first art commission in the United Kingdom’s national IoT demonstrator, and the only cultural programme in the Singapore Smart Nation initiative. The case studies are assessed using the framework to understand how they operate as boundary objects across domains. The chapter concludes with reflections on the potential of such practice to shape the direction of future technology development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Mobile Media Art
EditorsLarissa Hjorth, Adriana de Souza e Silva, Klare Lanson
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780429242816
ISBN (Print)9780367197162
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • media art
  • art
  • co-design
  • design
  • IoT
  • smart cities
  • prototyping


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