In 1926 Carl Brigham developed the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) that has since been administered to millions of students every year in order for them to begin their college educations. The SAT is only the first of a long list of standardized tests that have been designed according to the Jeffersonian principle of providing equal opportunity in education to all citizens of the United States.
Effective implementation of standardized tests required the appropriate technology to print, distribute, and more importantly, score their answer sheets. In 1934 three companies in particular raced to patent a more efficient turnkey solution, accurately correcting more tests more quickly. In doing so IBM, Educational Test Service (ETS), and the Measurement Research Center (originally part of Iowa University) developed technology that, in the 1970s, would facilitate the invention of the ballot machine as well as our contemporary desktop scanners.
Prep Materials, presented as a series of pictures, a video and a drawing, takes its departure from archival research within these three institutions. Moving beyond the common criticism against standardization and its supposed translation into better education, Herrera-Prats focuses on the fallacy of relying on more “efficient” technologies in order to realize the principles of democracy.
Carla Herrera-Prats completed her MFA in photography at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California (CalArts), and her BFA in Mexico City at National School of Painting, Sculpture and Engraving, La Esmeralda. Co-director of the Galeria Acceso A in Mexico City from 1999-2000, Herrera-Prats is an alumnus of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York and is currently on the Photography faculty at CalArts. She has received grants including the Van Lier Foundation Fellowship, the LEF Foundation Fellowship and support from the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes as well as the Jumex Collection.
The New Commissions Program is made possible by The Institute of Museum and Library Services, an independent federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Jerome Foundation; The Greenwall Foundation; and Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro.
Wright, Jeffrey Cyphers. “Carla Herrera-Prats, Art in General,” ArtNexus 8, no. 72 (2009): 124-125.