||Thursday June 5 + (optional June 6 overnite):
A journey through the history and currents of free education, counter-institutional movements and the economy of information in Silicon Valley + beyond.
As part of the 2nd Biennial 01SJ Global Festival of Art on the Edge, Free Soil will organize a bus tour that will travel between San Jose and Palo Alto, into the western hills and possibly to the sea.
Following up on our previous tour’s focus on the techno-utopian beginnings and environmental currents of Silicon Valley, this tour will focus on information and knowledge. We will look at the history and currents of this region through the lens of free/radical education and forms of creative resistance. This departure point will lead us on a journey through time and space relative to intertwining thematic threads including: the history of counter-institutional movements, free schools, and the ways and means of information distribution. The tour will facilitate a collective learning experience through small tours, site-specific lectures, workshops, drive-bys, and leisure activities.
The ethos of the tour is inspired by the development of groups that emerged in the 1960's and 70's in Palo Alto out of the burgeoning counterculture scene, such as the Midpeninsula Free University, the Experiment, and the Homebrew Computer Club. These prototypical models of alternative education formed in reaction to the growing influence of the military-industrial complex on American universities. Courses were taught on topics ranging from intentional communities and sand-casting candles, to Maoist political theory , “To Be Gentle,” and "The Art of Giving Away Bread."
Content for the tour draws upon the rich cultural history and complex currents of Silicon Valley, its extensions, its global influence and its many contradictions.