FWD: Wafaa Bilal's Virtual Jihadi Exhibit censored at RPI and now more

Posted by ryan griffis | Tue Mar 11th 2008 8:29 p.m.

Sorry if others on this list have already received this. I didn't see it posted here, so thought it would be of interest. Below is an email from a friend in Troy...
ryan

The saga continues!
(for those getting this for the first time, here is the back story and all links: http://rpi.freeculture.org/wiki/Wafaa_Bilal%27s_%22Virtual_Jihadi%22_exhibit_at_RPI)

So now the city has gotten in on this and closed down the independent space that re-opened Wafaa's show after RPI shut it down.

It's one insane thing for a private corporation (RPI) to make decisions based on pressure from funders and then another when the city government shuts down an independent venue it doesn't like (in the name of "code violations" - a classic tactic)

anyway I will keep you posted on the actions we will be taking as this continues....at this point we are encouraging people to email President Jackson at RPI (president@rpi.edu) with your concerns (thats how this all started - her getting pressure from college republicans...) and still figuring out how to deal with the Sanctuary closing as it just happened this morning and most students are away for spring break (including myself)

The Sanctuary http://www.mediasanctuary.org/ is a really important venue for this area, many of you have presented there or been to something there.

thanks for your interest and concern
best, d

Begin forwarded message:

http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=671084&category=&BCCode=&newsdate=3/11/2008

"Art, Freedom, Democracy" Series Closed By City of Troy

An art installation closed by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute last Thursday (March 5) was shut down by the City of Troy this morning (March 10), a day after it re-opened at The Sanctuary for Independent Media.
Wafaa Bilal's "Virtual Jihadi" piece is the centerpiece of a month-long celebration of art, freedom and democracy at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, which features by Iraqi-born digital media artist Wafaa Bilal, culture jammers The Yes Men, film maker Pam Yates and the Critical Art Ensemble's Professor Steve Kurtz. The City of Troy's order to close The Sanctuary for Independent Media jeopardizes the entire "Art, Freedom, Democracy" series, which focuses on government intimidation and censorship under the guise of counter-terrorism.
The City of Troy cited code violations as the reason for their action, less than 24 hours after an inspection by code enforcement and fire officials cleared the building for use.
More information will be posted here as it develops. Here is the schedule for the "Art, Freedom, Democracy" series:
7 PM Mon 3/10: Wafaa Bilal presented his "Virtual Jihadi" installation, followed by a 6 PM reception. The iece was shut by the City of Troy hours before it was to open to the public the next day.
7 PM Tue 3/18: The Yes Men live, with a sneak preview of scenes from the forthcoming film featuring their exploits in New Orleans as fictitious employees of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, in Canada posing as ExxonMobil and National Petroleum Council representatives, and in other "identity-correction" hijinks around the world.
7 PM Tue 3/25: Director Pam Yates, and a screening of her documentary "State of Fear" about how fear of terrorism was used to undermine democracy in Peru, creating a virtual dictatorship where official corruption replaced the rule of law.
7 PM Fri 4/4: SUNY Buffalo Prof. Steve Kurtz, screening the new movie "Strange Culture" about his arrest and prosecution on "mail fraud" charges after a failed attempt by the Justice Department to frame him as a "bio-terrorist."
Admission to each event is by donation ($10 suggested, $5 student/low income).
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