From the Posthuman Consumer to the Ontobranding Dimension: Geolocalization, Augmented Reality and Emotional Ontology as a Radical Redefinition of What Is Real

Nello Barile, IULM University of Milan

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This paper seeks to underline how ontobranding (Barile, 2009a, 2009b) is the final stage of an evolution from an old ideal of interaction between human and machines to a new kind of interaction where the machines become softer and immaterial, emotions become contents, and places become media. In this endeavor, this paper first offers an overview of how branding and consumer culture evolved. It then highlights the close link between technologies and emotions by introducing how the main metaphor (from monster, robot, to cyborg) has shifted with the development of society. With the metaphors and societal/technological transformation in mind, the next section explicates the notion of ontobranding. Finally, the paper provides some case analyses applying the ontobranding perspective, suggesting that the analyses of contemporary technological innovations require a new perspective that is able to understand and unify the dynamic interaction between what were once separated as the ontological distinction between reality and virtuality.