City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Since I've been at Fabrica, one simple thing we've done is to increase the frequency of the lectures and workshops we host here. Fabrica had a long tradition of inviting people to come and talk, or run workshops—in the distant past we had everyone from Tomato to Issey Miyake, Ferran Adrià to Michael Nyman (sadly little of this era was captured on film, as far as I can see, though I have found piles of unmarked betamax in the basement. If anyone wants to come and volunteer to go through that please get in touch!) We're centrally placed in Europe—30 minutes from Venice—and so it's relatively easy logistically, and emotionally, to pull people here.

In recent years, Fabrica had been running one lecture per month, roughly, and three or so workshops per year. I wondered if we could do one lecture per week, or every couple of weeks. We've been doing that, and I'm happy to say that this week we've started sharing this recent batch. ("Teaser" above.)

It includes talks by Robert Wong of Google Creative Lab, Patrick Tanguay explaining the creation of The Alpine Review, Jennifer Magnolfi on co-working and new workplaces and urban spaces, Rory Hyde on unsolicited (and not really) architecture, Matt Cottam of Tellart on 21st century industrial design, Martino Gamper on his personal and holistic design practice, Elizabeth Farlie on communication design, Niko Spelbrink on contemporary typography, Beeker Northam on the new communications and new craft, Alessandro Menino of Gummy Industries on social media-powered creativity, Cristiana Favretto & Antonio Girardi of Studiomobile on networking nature, Alistair Parvin & Inderpaul Johar of 00:/Architects on disruptive and democratic architecture, Jack Schulze of BERG on products media and immaterials, and so on. More to follow.

Of course the recent years' lectures were also filmed, and put online, although we had a quick discussion (thanks Ries Straver, Alessandro Favaron and team) about changing the way we present them—sharing more effectively via Vimeo (and then our next website too); shooting with two cameras but with very simple edits, cutting between the presenter and their slides, as per current idioms (as opposed to the previous split-screen); introducing the DOG; ramping the pace up (we make clean, jump cuts, straight into the lecture, where possible); credits are placed on Vimeo rather than in the video itself; fin is simply URL on black. Super stripped-back, super-simple, all about the lecture itself. All of this to make it easier to edit, actually (we had a long backlog of videos waiting to be edited when I arrived. Previous talks are also there, but the quality of the video is a little variable—though there are some great things there too: Sterling, Slavin, Heller, Troika …)

The talks are long enough to let the speaker stretch out a bit, unlike some other popular online lectures which attempt to boil down complex work into 15 minute formats. (In fact, my aspiration for Fabrica Lectures would be: "Like TED but good".)

We usually follow with a Q&A with our researchers, but we cut that from the video as it's usually a little more informal—which is a nice change of pace for us, but difficult to convey for you. Besides, it keeps the talk simple and self-contained. We usually see the speaker mobbed by Fabricanti too, over drinks afterwards, but we don't like to show that.

We have more talks to follow, and will be posting at the rate of one per week. Having used the initial set to pull some necessary focus on interaction, tech, code and urbanism a fair bit (though far from exclusively) it's time to broaden our wings a bit now. They're curated by Fabrica—anyone here can make a suggestion, and we discuss together.

Again, the lectures are primarily for the benefit of our researchers and collaborators—but as we are also interested in the act of documenting, sharing the conversations we have here, and building connections, we are happy to share them with you too. Enjoy.

Fabrica Lectures (Vimeo)


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