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Subject:

Fwd: London benefit for Steve Kurtz and the critical art ensemble

From:

Sarah Cook <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Sarah Cook <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 18 Jun 2004 08:57:33 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (176 lines)

hi all,
more chances to contribute to the CAE legal defense fund, by way of a 
benefit in London UK
sarah


Begin forwarded message:
>
> ART IS NOT TERRORISM
>
> Benefit to Raise funds for the LEGAL DEFENCE of Steve Kurtz  and 
> Members
> of the CRITICAL ART ENSEMBLE.
>
> Barry Schwabsky and Warren Neidich with the Arts Catalyst, invite you 
> to a
> Benefit in aid of Steve Kurtz of Critical Art Ensemble
> When:  Monday 5th July 2004, from 18 –21 hours.
> Where:  Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6LS
> Minimum donation: 24 British Sterling
> RSVP to: The Arts Catalyst on 020 7375 3690 or [log in to unmask] *
>
> We can accept cash or cheques only (payable to The Arts Catalyst), 
> either
> on the door or to The Arts Catalyst at the above address. If you are
> unable
> to attend but would like to make a donation, please do so either 
> direct to
> the defence fund - http://www.caedefensefund.org - or by sending a 
> cheque
> to Arts Catalyst.  24 British Sterling is the minimum donation however
> amounts larger then this if your heart desires. The Arts Catalyst is a
> charitable arts organization (charity number: 1042433).
>
> Everyone deserves a fair trial and proper legal council.
>
> American legal fees are exorbitant and mounting his defence could
> financially ruin Steve Kurtz for life.  There is an international 
> campaign
> to raise funds for his defence costs.  See 
> http://www.caedefensefund.org
>
>>
> Background information and what we are trying to defend:
>>
>> Steve Kurtz, a professor of art and member of the group Critical Art
> Ensemble, was indicted yesterday on charges of bioterrorism.  This
> chargehas arisen because of his artistic activities with Critical Art
> Ensemble, whose work operates at the margins where biotechnology its
> methods of production meets its forms of distribution and involves the
> use of
> simple biological equipment and supplies. Critical Art Ensemble have
> created many seminal exhibitions and installations in the past decade
> where this equipment was clearly shown in the public setting without
> problems. Now as a result of the Patriot Act this very same equipment 
> is
> being used as evidence against him and his organization. Art and 
> Artists
> have an important role to play beyond the production of aesthetic 
> objects
> and this work fits into a whole genre of work labeled the Institutional
> Critique in which the institutions themselves and their methods become
> subjects of artistic and critical interventions.
>
> “This case raises issues of freedom of speech.”
>
> Steve is Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the State
> University of New York's University at Buffalo, and a member of the
> internationally-acclaimed Critical Art Ensemble, a group "dedicated to
> exploring the intersections between art, technology, radical politics 
> and
> critical theory".  Critical Art Ensemble's work in recent years has
> focused on a critique of biotechnology.  Most recently, the group was
> preparing a work about bio-terrorism.
>
> Critical Art Ensemble's artists are at a loss to explain the 
> increasingly
> bizarre case. "I have no idea why they're continuing (to investigate),"
> said Beatriz da Costa. "It was shocking that this investigation was 
> ever
> launched. That it is continuing is positively frightening, and shows 
> how
> vulnerable the PATRIOT Act has made freedom of speech in this 
> country." Da
> Costa is an art professor at the University of California at Irvine. 
> The
> FBI is charging Kurtz under Section 175 of the US Biological Weapons
> Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, which has been expanded by the USA PATRIOT
> Act. As expanded, this law prohibits the possession of "any biological
> agent, toxin, or delivery system" without the justification of
> "prophylactic, protective, bona fide research, or other peaceful 
> purpose."
>
> Even under the expanded powers of the USA PATRIOT Act, it is difficult 
> to
> understand how anyone could view CAE's art as anything other than
> a"peaceful purpose."
>>
> American legal fees are exorbitant and mounting his defence could
> financially ruin Steve Kurtz for life.  There is an international 
> campaign
> to raise funds for his defence costs.  See 
> http://www.caedefensefund.org
> Further details:
>
> What happened to Steve Kurtz?
>
> Early morning of May 11, Steve Kurtz awoke to find his wife, Hope, 
> dead of
> a cardiac arrest. Kurtz called 911. The police arrived and, after
> stumbling across test tubes and petri dishes Kurtz was using in a 
> current
> artwork, called in the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
>
> Soon agents from the Task Force and FBI detained Kurtz, cordoned off 
> the
> entire block around his house, and later impounded Kurtz's computers,
> manuscripts, books, equipment, and even his wife's body for further
> analysis. The Buffalo Health Department condemned the house as a health
> risk.
>
> Only after the Commissioner of Public Health for New York State had 
> tested
> samples from the home and announced there was no public safety threat 
> was
> Kurtz able to return home and recover his wife's body. Yet the FBI 
> would
> not release the impounded materials, which included artwork for an
> upcoming exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
>
> While most observers assumed the Task Force would realize that its 
> initial
> investigation of Steve Kurtz was a terrible mistake, the subpoenas
> indicate that the feds have instead chosen to press their "case" 
> against
> Kurtz and possibly others. What is the violation he is suspected of?
> Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 10  Sec. 175. - Prohibitions with respect to
> biological weapons
>
> (a) In General. -
> Whoever knowingly develops, produces, stockpiles, transfers,
> acquires,retains, or possesses any biological agent, toxin, or delivery
> system for
> use as a weapon, or knowingly assists a foreign state or any 
> organization
> to do so, or attempts, threatens, or conspires to do the same, shall be
> fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or
> both. There is extraterritorial Federal jurisdiction over an offense 
> under
> this section committed by or against a national of the United States.
> (b) Additional Offense. -
> Whoever knowingly possesses any biological agent, toxin, or delivery
> system of a type or in a quantity that, under the circumstances, is not
> reasonably justified by a prophylactic, protective, bona fide 
> research, or
> other peaceful purpose, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not
> more than 10 years, or both. In this subsection, the terms ''biological
> agent'' and ''toxin'' do not encompass any biological agent or toxin 
> that
> is in its naturally occurring environment, if the biological agent or
> toxin has not been cultivated, collected, or otherwise extracted from 
> its
> natural source.
>>
> (c) Definition. -
> For purposes of this section, the term ''for use as a weapon'' includes
> the development, production, transfer, acquisition, retention, or
> possession of any biological agent, toxin, or delivery system for other
> than prophylactic, protective [1] bona fide research, or other peaceful
> purposes.
>>
>>
>
>
>

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