About

I help people play, learn and solve problems through art, technology and storytelling. 

A multimedia innovator and social entrepreneur, I have led a wide range of projects in education, news and entertainment. We created popular games and digital media services at Apple and Macromedia — and developed collaborative software for online communities at Wikipedia.  I also ran a TV production studio, a game development shop and a social news network. Our products and services have touched the lives of hundreds of millions around the world. I am now ‘semi-retired’, devoting my time to causes that can contribute to social change.

As a teacher, I give Maker Art classes for local school children — and at Tam Makers, our makerspace in Mill Valley. We help makers create their own miniature worlds, such as a city of the future, a haunted house or a robot world. We show them how to build animated characters and bring them to life with motion, lights, sounds and stories. In the process, they get deeply engaged and develop their creative, technical and social skills in playful ways.

As an artist, I lead community art projects like the Art Float for Social Change and the Bamboodu Theatre, to inspire more people to express themselves through art. I enjoy creating odd animated characters like the ones we made for the Balinese Cuckoo Clock, a magical wonderbox — and Ubu’s Dreams, our surreal puppet show. I am a founder and active member of art collective Pataphysical Studios, where surrealism meets the maker movement. Over the years, we created a variety of interactive art pieces, such as the Pataphysical Slot Machine, our poetic oracle. We are now building a Time Machine, coming soon to a time zone near you!

As an activist, I host Democracy Cafe, a series of free art, music and civic events for people of all ages and backgrounds. We invite participants to make art, sing songs, and discuss social issues such as gun violence or climate change. Through events like Earth Day, this program builds community and drives social change through creative expression and collective action.

As a multimedia creator, I produced a wide range of TV shows at Videowest, our independent TV studio — including Hackers, my  acclaimed TV documentary about the heroes of the computer revolution. I have a more relaxed schedule these days, but still enjoy capturing the beauty in the world around me.  Check out my photos on Flickr, where I have featured over 45,000 images over the years. You can also watch my videos on Vimeo, which tell a wide range of stories about our community projects.

Previously, I worked at the Wikimedia Foundation, from 2011 to 2015. In my first three years as product manager, I led the development of many new tools for Wikipedia: our Notifications help users stay informed; our Thanks feature lets them share positive feedback and grow a culture of kindness; and our Media Viewer provides a more immersive learning experience. In my last year, I served as movement communications manager and lead editor of the Wikimedia Blog, a global hub that connects our diverse communities and helps us communicate better as a movement (see my final report).

From 2005 to 2011, I ran NewsTrust, a nonprofit social news network which I founded to help people tell apart fact from fiction. We invited people to rate the news with our online tools, based on quality, rather than popularity. As a community, we helped each other find good journalism, develop our news literacy skills and get more engaged in civic life.

My previous ventures include:
Handtap / GoComics, a multimedia content provider for mobile devices
Shockwave.com, a web entertainment site we started at Macromedia
Zenda Studio, award-winning multiplayer game developer
Apple Computer’s Multimedia Lab, a research and development group
Videowest, a producer of rock journalism and entertainment for young adults

Here are some of the strengths I bring to all my projects:
• Innovator with entrepreneurial spirit and passion for community media
• Experienced team leader, focused on agile collaborations
• Good communicator, building trust between stakeholders
• Extensive background in multimedia production and journalism
• Strong software development experience, with a focus on quality

I am grateful for the recognition that our work has received over the years: for example, I was elected an Ashoka Fellow for my contributions as social entrepreneur; and I have earned several patents for my interactive TV work at Apple. Our projects have been covered by a wide range of publications such as the BBC, the Guardian, Le Monde, Newsweek, the New York Times, Scientific American, Time, the Washington Post, Wired and many more.

For more info, check my LinkedIn profile — and follow me on Facebook or on Twitter. You can contact me by email at ‘fabriceflorin-at-gmail-dot-com’.

I am married to Phyllis Florin, my sweetheart and guardian angel — and we’re the proud parents of our son Adam Florin, a creative coder who never ceases to amaze us.

4 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: Make Your Own Art Wonderbox | Pataphysical Studios

  2. Anne-Cécile Genre

    Hello Fabrice,
    I’m a French filmmaker based in NYC, currently working on a documentary for Science et Vie TV about the science of hackers and makers. It will be one hour long and will be aired in May in France.
    I’m at the end of the production process and will start the editing soon in Paris.
    I saw your documentary on youtube while looking for video archives of the first “hackers” in the 60s-80s. (I’m so happy to have seen it, it puts a lot of faces on the book I just read by Fred Turner “from counterculture to cyber culture).
    I have just a short segment in my documentary that will talk about the origins of open source. The rest of the documentary is focused on the technologies hackers created, such as microcontrollers, synthetic biology, 3D printing… I interviewed someone from Hackaday.com and author Eric Raymond, and to illustrate their interviews I would really like to be able to use some archives. Is the footage of the hacker conference yours ? If yes would you let me use it ? of course I could mention you on it.
    I’m also going to contact the MIT (I also interviewed people there) and Stanford for their help as well.
    Thank you in advance for your help.
    Best,
    Anne-Cécile

    Anne-Cecile Genre
    annececilegenre@gmail.com
    +1 917 442 0499 / +33 (0)6 67 45 87 82
    http://annececilegenre.com/

    Reply
  3. Sam Keller

    Hi Fabrice – I would like to sign up my son Kaz Keller for the Makers Art class that you are leading at the Lycee Francais Sausalito campus. He is a 1st grader there. But when I try to sign him up online, it won’t let me because it says that students must be in at least the 3rd grade. Our son is 6 years old and would LOVE to be part of your course. is there anything you can do to help us to get him enrolled?

    Thanks,
    Sam Keller

    Reply
  4. Ethan Browning Jr.

    Mr. Florin:
    I’m very interested in your current course Arduino 101#80020 beginning in Mar. at Tam HS; however, I didn’t attend the first couple of sessions.

    I would like to attend the March session; but, will I be able to pick it up not having attended the Jan.?sessions?

    Reply

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