Those interested in Fabrica’s program must go through a rigorous application process, including a two-week trial on the premises. If accepted, participants (referred to as fabricanti) receive free accommodation, lunches, and a roundtrip ticket to Italy.
Fabrica’s creative directors help students connect with curators, festival directors, and publishers who can help push their careers forward. Enrico Bossan, an accomplished Italian photographer and leader of the editorial department, often invites young talents who show great promise. (His department currently includes two archivists, two filmmakers, and three photographers, each working on personal projects.) Previously, Bossan had come across the work of St. Louis-born photographer Drew Nikonowicz at the Fotografia Festival in Rome, whereupon Bossan immediately invited him to Fabrica. Nikonowicz’s landscape-heavy, computer-generated photography seeks to represent the sublime frontiers of the 21st century. “There’s no landscape—real or imagined—that isn’t touched in some way by technology,” Nikonowicz says. “I believe the sublime landscape can only be accessed from the boundaries of technology.” Since Fabrica, Nikonowicz has gone on to exhibit his work in Europe and Asia, and last year he won the prestigious Aperture Portfolio Prize.