The 2009 theme of the annual Beyond Media festival for contemporary architecture and media is “VISIONS“. This theme will be played out in various forms (videos, round table discussions, a light installation, and non-moving visuals) at the Stazione Leopolda in Florence from July 9-17 2009.  The theme refers to “the conceptual visions produced by architects, the forms and the limits of various media, and the effectiveness of their expression in interpreting the needs of the architectural project to detach itself from the present and look beyond.”


If this sounds way too weird for you, don’t run away yet. The festival’s creator, Marco Brizzi, assures me that despite the conceptual and specialist verneer, this is an event for everybody. He and his staff intend to personally beckon in visitors and help those who look lost find something interesting to see and interact with. Apparently there’s going to be a gigantic table in the middle of the space to which he intends to usher YOU and ply you with drinks. And, it’s free. Tempted? read on…

The show opens on Thursday July 9th at 3pm. That’s when I think i’ll try to go. It looks like a full schedule with a symposium on the topic of “architecture, vision, and power”, the opening of the exhibition “spotlight on schools” at 5pm, and videos being projected starting at 7pm. If you’re wondering how they’re combining all these different aspects into one space and one event, I think you probably just have to attend to “get it”. From what I can understand – after lengthy conversation with the curator and perusing the press release and website – there are essentially three elements to the show:

  • (1) dialogue on a topic in the form of symposium and round table.
  • (2) 80 videos chosen from over 600 submissions, that are part of the Image Archive of videos [Image is a media company run by the curator], projected at various moments.
  • (3) the Spot on Schools exhibition curated by Paola Giaconia showcases recent developments of the use of digital technologies for design research by 20 architecture programs worldwide.

There are symposia going on July 9-12 from 3pm onwards, but the exhibition space is open during that time to wander around – you won’t be in the way.

On Sunday July 12 at 6:15pm (after a 6pm piano concert) there will be a special “forum for Florence” at which people will be asked to respond to the international works presented in the festival in relation to visions for a new city of Florence.

There are also special events for children aged 6-10:

  • workshop #1 “SER PIPPO AND THE MAGIC SQUARE”, will take place on July 1 and 2, 11 am to 12:30 pm. Conceived and curated by Stefania Cottiglia, the workshop introduces children, 6 to 10 years of age, to architecture and to geometry through an exploration of the Renaissance building of the Ospedale degli Innocenti. Children will learn the story of “Ser Pippo” (i.e. Filippo Brunelleschi) as a child in Renaissance Florence, they will explore and survey the building, they will discover the geometric forms used by Brunelleschi.
  • workshop #2: “¿Què és Arquitectura?”, will be open July 6 to 8, 10 am to 1 pm. It brings to Italy, for the first time the amusing educational activities of Jorge Raedó and Eva Serrats, who have a long experience in communicating architectural ideas to a young audience. In collaboration with the Istituto degli Innocenti, Jorge and Eva propose a workshop whose main character is Filippo Brunelleschi. Children will investigate the mistery of vision and the visual perception of architecture by building their own little “theater of visions”.
  • Both workshops take place at the Ospedale degli Innocenti and require reservation through LA BOTTEGA DEI RAGAZZI, tel. +39 055 24 78 386,, email:

In case you’re wondering:

  • the whole program will take place in ENGLISH
  • it’s FREE and open every day from 3pm till late at night.
  • you CAN get there by BUS (Bus number 1, 9, 12, 16, 17, 26, 27, 80. Get off at Porta al Prato stop.)
  • there’s a LOT of information on the official website.
  • If you’re confused but piqued, just come. It’ll be fun.

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