The Bastard Academy

Unrealized public project for Stanford University and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2007

A think tank about a think tank. The Bastard Academy is a site and situation for research about Stanford University's right-wing think tank The Hoover Institute.

From the proposal:

The Bastard Academy is a research center dedicated to the pan-ideological study of the Hoover Institution (a legendary right-wing public policy think tank located on the Stanford campus). The Bastard Academy will be sited for one year adjacent to the Hoover Institution in a custom-designed temporary structure that will host ongoing meetings, presentations and research distribution. The goal is to contemplate, through broad, unexpected, and even contradictory inquiry the influential and historical role of the Hoover Institution on campus and in the world. The Bastard Academy encourages multi-disciplinary and pan-ideological research and will therefore invite (through open call and direct solicitation) a wide range of individuals and groups throughout the campus community and beyond to act as research fellows and guest speakers.

The Bastard Academy takes its inspiration from:

-Stanford's influential free school movement of the late 60s, particularly a temporary school organized on campus in 1967 whose mission was to explore the relationship between the university and the military industrial complex.

-The current frenetic building boom all over campus where each new building is designed around the area of study housed within;

-The paradoxical identity of the Hoover itself as a private institution (it is technically a renter on campus) within a larger private institution.

-The ironic function of the Hoover as both an open federal public archive with the largest collection of post WWII leftist propaganda in the country and a semi-secretive right-wing public policy production center. (Each fellow will be responsible for publishing their research in the form of a poster which because of the nature of its focus will be entered into the Hoovers own archives.

-Rodin's Thinker, located on Stanford's campus next to his equally famous piece the Gates of Hell, which is the figurative embodiment of the poet/philosopher. But unlike Rodin's sculpture and others artworks on campus, the Bastard Academy is not figurative (or abstract), but literal, designed to function as a dynamic platform for thinking about thinking, the fundamental labor of the philosopher.