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Beyond Media

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Beyond Media
The poster for Beyond Media 2009: Visions
GenreInternational architecture video festival
Location(s)Florence and surroundings
Years active1997–2009
FounderMarco Brizzi
Organised byImage

Beyond Media was an architecture film festival held in Florence from 1997 to 2009. The festival aimed at observing the use of audiovisual tools for architecture and more generally at discussing relationships between architecture and the media.[1] Beyond Media was organized by Image, a group of architects, historians and researchers based in Florence and active in the field of communication in architecture. In the course of its nine editions, the festival became one of the main events worldwide devoted to architecture videos.[2] The latest edition, "Beyond Media 2009: Visions", presented 80 videos selected from over 600 submissions from 35 countries.[3]


The festival began in the context of the deep changes occurred in the mediasphere during the 1990s. With the large diffusion of new media and computer driven design tools, videos quickly became an accessible and powerful instrument for architects. They were used by designers not only as a more lively form of representation but also as a storytelling device for projects. In other words, they made it possible for architects to express their projects in a narrative form and created a brand new and autonomous form of expression for architecture. This is the context in which Beyond Media was born and had its mission, that was to provide an account of all shifts produced by the introduction of new media in architectural design and to promote a venue for discussion about this topic. As Pedro Gadanho, today curator for Contemporary Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, wrote:[2] “When I say that this Festival is “haunted by its very initial premises” I do not mean that showing the audiovisual media which are today quintessential to architecture representation should bear any special problem. On the contrary, it is only natural and logical that someone should be doing it. At its 9th edition, the Florence festival also has in its curriculum to be one of the firsts to do so”. Since its very first edition in 1997, the core of the event was the screening of architecture videos. Besides presenting the early videos produced by famous architects like Zaha Hadid Architects, UNStudio, MDRDV, Rem Koolhaas the festival also paid attention to emerging firms.[4]

Beyond Media was interested in promoting the debate around the emerging phenomena occurring in the architecture world. The festival adopted an holistic approach bringing on stage experts in many disciplines such as Derrick De Kerckhove, Beatriz Colomina, Peter Wilson, Tony Fretton, John Frazer and many scholars, journalists and writers.[5]

The festival also included a series of exhibitions. Starting from "Beyond Media 2003: Intimacy" the exhibition “Spot on schools” curated by Paola Giaconia put on display the most advanced researches produced by worldwide architecture teaching departments. Among the schools selected for the 2009 edition of the “Spot on Schools” exhibition were: Asia University, Ball State University, Clemson University, California Polytechnic State University, Southern California Institute of Technology, Rhode Island School of Design, Southern Illinois University, University of Calgary, University of Florida, University of Hong Kong, Asia University, RMIT Architecture, Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa, NABA, Politecnico di Torino.[6] Other exhibitions were “Urban Visions” (curated by Michele Bonino) in 2009, “The Storytellers” (curated by Marco Brizzi) in 2005, “About cities” (curated by Elisa Strano) in 2003, “Architecture, media, industrial design for Prada. Prada, OMA/AMO” (curated by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram) in 2002.

Beyond Media also hosted workshops and other activities aimed at promoting an experience of architecture for a non-professional or younger audience. In 2009 Beyond Media brought to Italy ¿Que es arquitectura?, a workshop created by Jorge Raedó and Eva Serrat to let the children investigate visual perception and vision.

Beyond Media was supported by many academic and public institutions. Among them: the Italian Ministry of Culture, through PARC (today PaBAAC), the Region of Tuscany, the Municipality of Florence, the University of Florence.

Starting in 2002 Beyond Media took place in two main venues in Florence, the Ospedale degli Innocenti and Stazione Leopolda.

The videos selected for the various editions of Beyond Media are part of the media archive curated by Image in Florence, Italy. The archive counts today more than 3500 architecture videos which are presented to the public during screenings hosted at museums and other cultural institutions.[7]

Since 2015, Image has become the publisher the English-language online platform The Architecture Player.[8] The aim of this project is to make the festival's archive progressively accessible to the public. In addition, The Architecture Player continues the curatorial work initiated by Beyond Media, selecting and presenting new videos and authors.


  1. ^ "Festival". Beyond Media official website. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b Gadanho, Pedro (21 July 2009). "Beyond the digital turn". Volume. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014. When Beyond Media was initiated by multitasking Marco Brizzi in 1997, it was only too obvious to a given few that digital tools were there to change the way we worked, the way we designed reality, the way we represented it and also thought about it. By then, it was also acceptable to let yourself immerge in the fascination that is due to the enormous possibilities granted by these new tools
  3. ^ "Program". Beyond Media official website. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Beyond Media". MIMOA. Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014. In the tradition of the festival, a program of 80 architecture videos (selected from over 600 international submissions) will be presented and on public view in order to construct an understanding of the issues that represent the world's architectural thought and production, that interpret the potential of the audio-visual medium and qualify the architectural discourse. Special recognition will be given to three noted practitioners of contemporary architecture, "THE VIEW MASTERS", who in different ways demonstrated peculiar and fertile employment of video: UNStudio, Zaha Hadid Architects, and MVRDV
  5. ^ "Beyond Media 2009 Visions". arqchile.cl. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2014. The symposium on the theme VISIONS, curated by Pietro Valle, brought on the stage such personalities as Peter Wilson from BOLLES+WILSON, Pier Vittorio Aureli from the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, John Frazer from Queensland University of Technology, Lars Krueckeberg from GRAFT, Tony Fretton, Derrick De Kerckhove, Beatriz Colomina, Marcos Novak and many more protagonists from the world of architecture, journalism, communication and arts
  6. ^ "Spot on Schools". Design Republic (in Italian). Archived from the original on 15 October 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Interview with Marco Brizzi". Design Context. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  8. ^ "The Architecture Player". The Architecture Player. Retrieved 3 June 2019.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Festival catalogues[edit]

  • Marco Brizzi and Paola Giaconia (eds.), Beyond Media 02, Bologna, Compositori, 2002, ISBN 88-7794-345-9.
  • Paola Giaconia (ed.), Intimacy. Spot on schools, Firenze, Mandragora, 2003, ISBN 88-7461-021-1.
  • Marco Brizzi and Paola Giaconia (eds.), Intimacy: Beyond Media 03, Firenze, Mandragora, 2004, ISBN 88-7461-022-X.
  • Paola Giaconia (ed.), Script. Spot on Schools, Bologna, Compositori, 2005, ISBN 88-7794-528-1.
  • Marco Brizzi and Paola Giaconia (eds.), Script: Beyond Media 05, Bologna, Compositori, 2009, ISBN 978-88-7794-664-5.
  • Marco Brizzi and Paola Giaconia (eds.), Visions: Beyond Media 09, Firenze, Image, 2009, ISBN 978-88-96531-00-6.

Press review[edit]

  • Marco Brizzi, 2009, September, "Beyond Media", Domus, 920, p. 8.
  • Elena Franzoia, 2009, October, "Playing with architecture", Ottagono, 224, p. 160-163.
  • Karin Templin, 2009, September, "Beyond Media", Architectural review, 1351, p. 104.