Learning by Doing at the Farm – with editors Robert Kett and Anna Kryczka

February 6, 2014 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

learningBeginning in 1968, the University of California, Irvine, was host to an experiment in intercultural exchange and artistic and social scientific learning through practice. Located on the edges of William Pereira’s California Brutalist campus, the Farm was a space for craftspeople from Guatemala, Mexico, and Samoa to demonstrate their skills; a laboratory for new methods in education and research; and an unexpected countercultural gathering site.

Learning by Doing at the Farm reflects upon this unusual experiment, which brought together Cold War politics, modern development, and indigenous peoples drawn into the strange intellectual and cultural circumstances of 1960s California. Through a critical introduction and previously unpublished archival documentation, this book offers a glimpse of various actors’ dreams of what the Farm could become and the collaborations that actually unfolded there.

Robert Kett is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of California, Irvine whose research centers on artistic and scientific knowledge-making in Mexico and the United States. His dissertation connects histories of archaeology, oil geology, the biological sciences, and Pan-American art in twentieth century southern Mexico to consider their collective role in the constitution of natural/cultural resources and the region itself. His work has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States, Dumbarton Oaks, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Anna Kryczka is doctoral candidate in the University of California, Irvine’s program in Visual Studies and holds a Master’s degree in Art History, Theory and Criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Anna’s research focuses on the criticism and display of mid-century American art, design, media, material culture, and architecture. Her dissertation examines how Cold War taste cultures shaped and were shaped by sixties discourse around domesticity, expertise, and national belonging. Anna’s work has appeared in the Journal of Visual Culture. She has presented her work at the University of Notre Dame, as an invited speaker at the Museum of Modern Art, and most recently at the Cultural Studies Association annual meeting.