. community —


The Arts Catalyst presents


In person:

STEVE KURTZ of Critical Art Ensemble, artist, activist and researcher,
detained last year by the FBI and still facing charges

with CLAIRE PENTECOST from the Critical Art Ensemble Defence Fund.

Royal Institution of Great Britain
21 Albemarle Street
London W1S 2BS

Monday 7 February 2005 8pm

Book online at www.artwords.co.uk (from 11th Jan)
or buy tickets from Artwords shops in the Whitechapel Art Gallery and
Shoreditch, London, UK

STEVE KURTZ, member of the internationally celebrated Critical Art Ensemble
(CAE), was detained by the FBI last year. He faces a pre-trial hearing in
the US on February 10 and speaks 3 days earlier in the UK about this
fundamental threat to academic freedom of expression.

CAE is known for its critical discourse and activist practice. CAE stands
for the bottom-up appropriation of scientific knowledge and its utilisation
for tactical purposes. In recent projects, CAE has created a mobile DNA
extractor, which tests groceries for possible genetic modification, and a
transgenic bacteria release mechanism. It was this equipment and Kurtz'
home biotech lab that generated a chain of bizarre events after the death of
Kurtz's wife when Kurtz himself was detained by the FBI as a suspected

Although the bioterrorism charges against Kurtz were finally dropped in late
2004 by a Grand Jury, after an international storm of protest, he was
charged with mail fraud (a charge traditionally used by the Department of
Justice when they can't pin another charge on someone they think should be
gagged or neutralised).

Also indicted was Robert Ferrell, head of the Department of Genetics at the
University of Pittsburgh's School of Public Health. The charges concern
technicalities of how Ferrell helped Kurtz to obtain $256 worth of harmless
bacteria for an art project. These new charges still carry a potential jail
sentence of 20 years and threaten many researchers in the sciences who
source material in a similar way.

You can read more about this case at www.caedefensefund.org

The Arts Catalyst

Steve Kurtz will also be speaking at transmediale 05, Berlin, on Sunday 8
February 2005, 3pm, discussing his new project on biowarfare.


Presented in association with transmediale 05, Berlin
Funded by Arts Council of England