February 2006 on -empyre- : Sedition

Posted by Michael Arnold Mages | Sun Feb 5th 2006 10:06 a.m.

February 2006 on -empyre- soft-skinned space

Australia's rcently enacted Sedition Act undermines the right of free
speech, which has "ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of
any other right" --James Madison (Fourth President of the United States and
an author of the US Constitution)

This month on -empyre- , the discussion will focus on the legal term
sedition, and its political impact on global media and culture.
Our guests this month: Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) memobers Lucia Sommer
and Claire Pentecost (US), Nicholas Ruiz (US), and Ben Saul (AU)

Please join our guests for conversation on 'sedition' at

On an international scale, the prosecution of Steve Kurtz from Critical Art
Ensemble is a case in point. The ongoing court case with the US Justice
Department has demonstrated the effect that the "war on terror "has had on
limiting free speech, particularly in the arts.

In December 2005, the Anti-Terrorism Bill was pushed through the Australian
Parliament. This legislation has met with much concern from the cultural
sector and human rights and freedom of speech advocates. On 27 October 2005,
Chris Connolly from the University of New South Wales, in a Submission to
the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee, outlined many issues that
were raised in regard to Sedition. In his appendix regarding " Sedition in
the Arts" he makes the comment that the best known use of sedition laws was
during the period of McCarthyism in the USA in the 1950s.

Is this where we are headed? -empyre- in February asks the question. as
artists and cultural producers are we losing our right to express ourselves
and comment on the state of our society?

The discussion will also look at how sedition laws could affect online
activist networks like Indymedia and Znet. As such network operate as open
publishing systems, will there be limitations in the capacity to publish and
disseminate content?

guest bios:

----------------------->Lucia Sommer is an artist, writer, and activist
whose work is concerned with pleasure in everyday life and the creation of
critical ephemeral publics. Since 1994 she has taught art in various
settings from public school to museum, and her work has been shown
individually and as part of the cyberfeminist collective subRosa in Europe
and North America. Currently she is pursuing a PhD in Visual and Cultural
Studies at the University of Rochester, NY.

----------------------->Claire Pentecost is an artist and writer, engaging a
variety of media to interrogate the imaginative and institutional structures
that organize divisions of knowledge. Having spent years tinkering in a
conceptual laboratory for ideas about the natural and the artificial, her
most recent projects concentrate on industrial and bioengineered
agriculture, the alternatives and the trade regimes that force one over the
other. She has been an active member of the Critical Art Ensemble defense
fund (www.caedefensefund.org).

------------------------>Nicholas Ruiz III was born in New York City. His
work has appeared in Noema Tecnologie e Society, Rhizomes.net,
Media/Culture.org.au, The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies,
Reconstruction, Public Resistance and elsewhere. He is also the editor of
Kritikos: http://garnet.acns.fsu.edu/~nr03/

------------------------->Dr Ben Saul is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at
the University of New South Wales, the Director of the Bill of Rights
Project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre for Public Law, and an Associate of
the Australian Human
Rights Centre.

join us at:
Your Reply