Prato città fabbrica

 

On October 8th 2016, I gave a lecture together with Chiara Birattari as representatives of Serpica Naro collective during A symposium on architecture, territory and production organized in Prato by Behemoth Press as parallel project of the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016 – After Belonging.

pratocittafabbrica

Here’s the introduction to the event:

The Life of a District On the 1st December 2013, precisely two years ago, the sweatshop “Ye Life Pronto Moda” in the Chinese textile district of Prato went on fire. Seven workers lost their lives in the accident and five of them without regular work permit. Among the ruins of the collapsed workshop there were not only sewing machines, fabrics and offcuts but also dozens of beds, clothes, personal belongings and cooking equipment all packed in the mezzanine.

Yet, the domestic conditions of production of the Chinese “Macrolotto” were not new in Prato. At least since the XIX century, the city always constituted an exception to the market rules, avoiding large industrial conglomerations or a rigid compartmentalisation of the productive sectors, integrating housing and factories within a unique continuous infrastructure. Especially after WWII, in order to reduce costs and have a rapid reconstruction, textile factories sold their looms to the workers, decentralising their integrated mills to family houses and storage places, transforming the city itself into a horizontal manufacture: a territorial assembly line made of a network of domestic companies.

During the 80’s, in order to tackle the deep crisis of wool market and to adapt to new fashion tendencies, textile industry had to further accelerate its delocalisation and mechanisation, implementing production with highest rhythms and more flexible workforce to ensure a prompt fulfilment of the mass consumption’s demands. At that time Chinese immigration began, transforming the rising sub-contracting garment industry into a true business model: the “pronto moda.” Setting a series of ten-people companies, importing low quality fabric from China, processing it and labelling it as “Made in Italy”, hiring workers without regular labor contracts and forcing them to insane working rhythms, the textile city-factory boosted during the 90s, with more than 200 Chinese-owned business firms in operation and a basin of more than 50.000 inhabitants: the second biggest Chinese community in Italy.

Drawing from Prato as exemplary study-case, and through a comparison with other Italian and European examples, Behemoth Press aims at an architectural investigation of the notion of Industrial District, namely that socio-territorial entity characterised by the presence of an active community of people and business companies intimately connected within a logistic network of cooperating suppliers and producers.

Industrial districts are weird animals. Whereas globalisation and neoliberal production seem to homogenise territories and destroy local realities, within the protected compound of the industrial district companies are able to produce difference, innovative approaches and specialisation, creative experimentation and mutual support.

Firmly rooted in their territories, districts propose a very particular relation between living and working, cooperation and competition, transforming their localised concentration into a competitive asset, attracting international fundings and the support of research institutes and universities. In this sense, the industrial district might be considered not only as a investment opportunities for advanced technologies of production and automation but also as laboratories to explore new forms of employment and income for their inhabitants.

Contributors:

  • Massimo Bressan [Professor, Faculty of Political Science, University of Florence]
  • Marco Brizzi [Professor, School of Architecture of California State University and Kent State University Florence]
  • Matilde Cassani [Architect, Photographer, Politecnico di Milano]
  • Filip Geerts [Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, TU Delft]
  • Claudio Greppi [Professor, History Department, University of Siena]
  • Christina Moon [Assistant Professor, Fashion Studies, Parsons School of Design New York]
  • Serpica Naro [Design Collective, Milan]
  • Giorgio Piccinato [Professor Emeritus, School of Architecture, University of RomaTre]
  • Silvia Pieraccini [Journalist, IlSole24Ore]
  • Paola Viganò [Professor, School of Architecture, IUAV Venice, EPFL Lausanne]
  • Marina Otero-Verzier [Oslo Architecture Triennale – Head of Research, Het Nieuwe Instituut]

 

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Top talks at Chaos Communication Congress 2015 #32c3

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Chaos Communication Congress has been organised by the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) since 1981 mainly on the topics of Computer Security, Cryptography, Freedom of Speech, Hacktivism. CCC is the largest association of hackers in Europe, the type of hackers believing in openness, sharing, decentralization, free access to computers and world improvement.

Thanks to invitation from Edgeryders and willing to spend some time with them as a warm-up for Opencare project, I attended the Congress for the first time. Costantino and me used to spend the days after Christmas watching the streaming, but it was really worth it to attend it live!

4 Halls with 4 streams of talks from 11.30am to 2.00am in the night made it impossible to follow  them all, plus a lot of self-organized sessions where you could meet working groups and new projects. We also had the chance to meet with Mario Behling, part of the software team of Ayab project, who organized a Knithack meeting during the congress.

Continue reading Top talks at Chaos Communication Congress 2015 #32c3

Agents of alternatives – Re-designing our realities

AoA

In 2014 I gave a contribution to Agents of Alternatives with an interview:

Agents of Alternatives is an independently published open book exploring the visions, actions, tools and impacts of change agents, thinkers and ‘happeners’ (those who make things happen!). It shows the creative processes and tools for designing positive societal transitions. These transitions are revealed by showing the new hybrid relationships being forged between alternative approaches to learning, living, making, socialising, thinking and working. Continue reading Agents of alternatives – Re-designing our realities

Dyndy.net: The Future Of Money. For A New Democratic Economy

dyndy.net

Last fall in Amsterdam took place the second Economies of the Commons Economies of the Commons – Paying the cost of making things free – conference. In the panels they discussed the political economy of open content and its consequences for the cultural sector and analyzed critically the economies taking place in the “digital commons..

In that context Jaromil e Marco Sachy introduced their project Dyndy.net, an online lab providing “Tools, practices and experiences for the conceptualization, development and deployment of currency”, following the ethics of the Free Software Movement and Transition town. Their main aim is to improve the self-organization of wealthy communities avoiding the centralized structures of the bank-debt monopoly and to experimenting alternative banking systems and local currencies.

Continua su Digicult in italiano/ Continue on Digicult in english

 

Passion And Fashion: The Highly Qualified For Work

Passion Work Fashion

It has been almost three years since the publication of Produttori di Stile, the notebook reporting the results of a research financed by Provincia di Milano about working practices and flexibility in a number of fashion houses in Milan. At the time we witnessed the presentation  during which authors and promoters, among the other things, underlined how 8 out of 10 contracts, in all the major business companies of such field/section/area, were atypical (cocopro, interns, fake VAT number recordings etc); this not as a response to production peaks, but as basic structural resource, as a far from being atypical strategy/procedure of human resources management.

Continua su Digicult in italiano/ Continue on Digicult in english

Download PDF   Passionate Work: Labor Condition in italian fashion sector 

Scarica PDF Lavoro che passione: le condizioni di lavoro nella moda in Italia

Read the final paper on the Journal of Cultural Research:

This article analyses labour conditions among creative workers in the Milan fashion industry. Employing both qualitative and quantitative methods, the article shows how workers in the Milan fashion industry are generally underpaid and overworked. Despite such dire conditions, fashion work is generally considered gratifying and workers express high levels of satisfaction. The second part of the article attempts to unravel this paradox, departing from McRobbie’s conception of passionate work. It suggests that the promotion of creativity as a desired form of life in the contemporary metropolis has shaped new forms of identity related to symbolic remuneration for work.

The Activist East: Among Guitars And Gentrification

FZRK - Freeters Union

We’d been staying in Japan for more than 10 days, as we’d been invited to present the project by Serpica Naro at the Cream Festival (http://ifamy.jp/en/ ), even if our main purpose was to meet at last all the artists, militants, agitators and promoters of the Maydays with whom we only have virtual contacts.

Among many other things, one night we ran into the protest of some South Korean workers who came in the little coffee-bar Cafe Lavanderia of the Shinjuku borough where we were having a beer; they came in full of enthusiasm, holding pins and leaflets, and they immediately invaded the room. They grabbed hold the micro of the sound system and invited us to take part in the action day, which would take place on the following Saturday in different points of the city.

Continua su Digicult in italiano/ Continue on Digicult in english