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Guido Tattoni

London College of Communication
Person Type
Guido  Tattoni


Guido Tattoni is a PhD student at London College of Communication.

Thesis title: Difference and classification: can Artificial Intelligence contribute to a non-binary critical reflection on agency and identity through a sound art practice?


Please introduce yourself.

I'm an Italian Sound Engineer, Sound Designer and Academic. I earned my BA in Recording Arts and my MA in Creative Media Practice at Middlesex University (London), and, later on, I also graduated in Computer Science from Politecnico di Milano.

My research and practice interests include generative compositional techniques, contemporary music, artificial intelligence, interaction design, sound and audio technology,

From 2003 to 2015, I worked in a variety of academic positions in the field of Sound at SAE Institute. Between 2015 and 2019, I was the Design and Applied Arts Head of Department at NABA in Milan; I've been the Dean of the Academy since 2019.

Give us an overview of your area of research and practice.

Through my Computer Science studies, I have developed a passion for artificial intelligence and its applications in artistic contexts. I'm interested in the way AI sees the world, and in the relationship that human being can develop with it through art.

Sometimes I like AI.s to generate sound. Sometimes I make music simply by relating to them in some way; by including one in my practice.

Tell us about your thesis: title and summary.

My research offers an innovative perspective driven from artistic practice to explore the contribution that Artificial Intelligence (AI.) can give towards the concepts of identity and agency.

The discourse is built around three main axes: a discussion around the notion of difference and identity, a parametric and minimalist approach to sound, and an Object-Oriented vision of a sonic performative space.

The common thread that connects the three theoretical axes is the role that an AI. can have in each of them.

My research aims to investigate how including an AI. in my Sound Art and Sound Design practice can contribute to a non-binary critical reflection on agency and identity, and to the development of a better relationship with AI.s, both as a creative tool and as an instrument to interpret reality.

Such undertaking is theoretically framed in an Object Oriented Ontology (OOO) perspective. OOO is a theory of being on which Ian Bogost develops his Alien Phenomenology, a theoretical tool that encourages us to construct artefacts as a philosophical practice.

My practice involves heavy use of computer sounds, process-based generative techniques, sonification and soundscapes. I mostly develop in performative contexts, and my compositional approach is deeply influenced by minimalism and its consideration of small differences and nuances in sound as a key factor to the perception of the whole.

Photograph of a sound piece showing people standing in a circle within a blue-lit space.

Why did you decide to undertake a PhD? Why in this area?

I like studying and experimenting, and I felt that doing that through a PhD would help give my experimentation a better structure and a sharper focus. In addition to this, I believe it would help my academic career to have a PhD.

The area I've chosen is a natural application of what interests me. I believe that a huge effort, like studying for a PhD, is only possible if it’s driven by passion. Commitment and discipline are obviously vital, but they're not enough to keep you going if you don’t truly love what you do.

What is it like to do a practice-based PhD?

As someone who practices art, I think it’s the best way to research. I'm very glad that practice-based PhDs are becoming increasingly common in the European framework as a way of legitimating artistic languages in academic research.

What advice would you give to someone considering a PhD, or just starting on their PhD journey?

As I mentioned, only do it if you're driven by your passion. Everyone will tell you that it's a huge undertaking, because it is a huge undertaking. Oh, and don’t be afraid to start again with your writing for the tenth time. Personally I hate re-doing things, but one of the things this experience is teaching me is that the process of reviewing what you've done after having received critical advice is the best way to improve it.

Where/how did you first develop your passion for your subject?

I decided sound would be my job when I was in high school, I think I was 15 or so. I was playing the bass guitar in my high school band and I developed a passion for the processing of sound and how one could manipulate and change it. I decided I wanted to be a sound engineer and studied to become one.

I've been doing sound engineering for concerts for more than ten years, whilst also working for my university as a studio technician. This slowly but steadily made me turn towards a more academic career.

An interest in AI. and computers came up later in my late 20s, when I decided I wanted to study Computer Science to better understand machines and their way of thinking.

What inspires your approach to creative research and practice?

I like to find things out and experiment. More than anything, I like to express myself through sound, especially in relation to other people. I like collaborative projects and mixing with other forms of art, particularly performance.

What impact does your research have? Or what impact do you hope it will have?

I hope it will encourage people to think outside of binary terms and help us understand that we own our identity. and that could be something that fits in a label, in more than one, or in none.

Tell us about your PhD journey so far. What has been the most challenging? What have your enjoyed? What’s the most important thing you’ve learned?

The most frustrating aspect is criticism. I don’t like realising that I'm wrong, or that what I've done isn't good, and this happens systematically in every tutoring session.

At the same time, this is the exact reason why I think it’s great to be in a PhD because it's really what makes you and your research better. Even if it’s hard sometimes, I sincerely appreciate the advice of my tutors.

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Instagram: @tattoguidotti