Rob La Frenais
Since 2002
Works in London United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Rob La Frenais

Born 1951, lives London

After working in various art, video and community projects during the mid to late 70s Rob La Frenais became the founding editor of Performance Magazine in 1979., a significant cultural voice of the 80's and early 90s. In 1987 he became an independent curator, working on touring exhibitions in the UK including Confrontations, Last Sweat of Youth and At the Edge.. He was the director of the EDGE Biennale in London, Newcastle, Glasgow and Madrid in 1988, 1990 and 1992 and continued working as an independent curator throughout the early 90's, directing seasons and festivals, in Switzerland (where he first worked with Marko Peljhan, instigator of the Makrolab), he South Bank and the ICA, London , the CCA in Glasgow, and working with James Turrell on the first stage of his Skyspace for Northern England.. In 1997 he joined forces with Nicola Triscott in The Arts Catalyst to become Curator of the science-art agency. (see Nicola Triscott's biography). In 1999 he became the first curator to go on a zero-gravity flight, paving the way for a number of artists flights and space activities organised by the Arts Catalyst.
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Mon Feb 07, 2005 00:00 - Tue Jan 11, 2005

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 (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

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


Artists Airshow Farnborough UK

Sun Sep 12, 2004 00:00 - Tue Aug 24, 2004

Artists Airshow - an Arts Catalyst event

Former Royal Engineering Workshops, Farnborough, Hants, UK
Sunday September 12 1PM-6PM
Free entry by reservation, places are limited so book as soon as possible.

A day of art and flying in and around Europe's largest wind tunnel

Join us in discovering one of Britain's 'secret places', the now deserted research facility where supersonic flight was developed and the ghosts of sixties rocket projects linger.

Right next to the runway used for the official Farnborough Airshow are the abandoned wind tunnels, test tanks and life-size helicopter flight simulators where secret projects were developed during the second world war and the cold war. Saved from demolition, they will now be developed into a heritage centre and business park.

Selected artists, working with ideas of flight, will present a day of
process-based works and experiments for a limited audience, with guided tours of the wind tunnels.

Simon Faithfull will present 'Escape Vehicle no.6', a live version of his acclaimed video work '30km', launching a meteorological balloon with live TV transmission to the edge of space.

Anne Bean will perform, in a fleeting moment, pyrotechnic sky drawings.

Stefan Gec, with Neal White, will show part of his work 'The Celestial Vault' recorded in the giant centrifuge at Moscow's Star City, in Europe's largest wind tunnel.

Louise K Wilson will present a work based on flight simulation, stunt-flying and Britain's lost technological heritage

Tim Knowles will use the wind to make randomised balloon drawings.

Australian artist Zina Kaye will show documentation and talk about her 74cc 3 metre wingspan surveillance airplane 'Observatine'.

Flow Motion's Dissolve will be screened in the Transonic Wind tunnel, where supersonic flight was first tested.

Marko Peljhan will give a talk about the S-77CCR ( project, which has ties to the Vienna anti-government demonstrations of 2000.

Luke Jerram will show his new work 'Ghost Plane' in the darkness of one of the wind tunnel chambers.

Miles Chalcraft presents Tear-rain, in which a two-stage rocket showers the site with tears.

Guided tours, organised by the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust, will be given by the engineers who once worked in the facility.

Please email us names of those attending. You must be on the list of people attending to get on to the site to:

Further instructions will be mailed to you if we still have places


CAE Benefit, London, UK, July 9

Come and give your support, Friday July 9.

Urgent benefit to raise funds for the LEGAL DEFENCE of artist and academic Steve Kurtz and members of the CRITICAL ART ENSEMBLE, currently appearing before a grand jury and liable to be indicted on June 29 2004 on trumped-up charges of bioterrorism.

Barry Schwabsky (art critic, co-editor international reviews, Artforum),Warren Neidich (NY artist, visiting artist Goldsmiths College) and Anjalika Sagar (UK artist), with the Arts Catalyst and ArtsAdmin invite you to join us in an unmissable gathering of artists, academics and concerned individuals to help raise the legal costs of Steve Kurtz of Critical Art

When: Friday July 9th, 2004, from 19.00 onwards

Where: The Courtroom, Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6LS, England. Near Brick Lane and the Whitechapel Art Gallery (Aldgate East tube)

How much? Free, but bring your chequebook. We are suggesting a donation of at least 24 pounds sterling.

What's happening?: Drinks, food donated by Story organic deli, celebrity speakers to be announced, music, performance, exclusive footage of Steve Kurtz speaking at London's Natural History Museum and many other entertainments. If you are interested in art and the freedom of knowledge this is the time to lend your support.

For numbers, please let us know if you are planning to come:
020 7375 3690 or

We can accept cash or cheques only, no cards (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 - - or by sending a cheque
to Arts Catalyst. The Arts Catalyst is a charitable arts organisation
(charity number: 1042433). Money donated will be transferred directly to the CAE Defense fund.

Why is money urgently needed?

Everyone deserves a fair trial and proper legal counsel. American legal fees are exorbitant and are already mounting up during the grand jury. Being indicted on or by June 29 could financially ruin Steve Kurtz for life. This is part of an international campaign to raise funds for his defence costs.

What happened to Steve Kurtz?

For further background read Clare Pentecost's excellent essay on

See you at the Benefit
Benefit Committee: Kathy Battista, Julien Dobbs-Higginson, Kodwo Eshun, Charlie Gere, Jan Hietala, Janis Jefferies, Susan and Ben Keisler, Karen Knorr, Kathy Kubicki, Sandra Percival, Marq Smith, John Slyce, Mark Tribe, Paul Wombell, Karen Wright, and Robert Zimmer.

Sponsor's note - Light fare donated by Story deli, purveyors of simple, honest, qualityorganically grown food, made in their own kitchen with heart and soul. 3 Dray Walk Old Truman Brewery 91 Brick Lane London.

Organisational help from:


FW: Extremophiles - conference at the Royal Institution


To accompany the details of the conference that we sent a few days ago,
here's an image of the performance artist Antunez Roca who will be
performing at the conference. The artwork is called Project Daedalus and
it was performed as part of the 2003 MIR zero gravity campaign that took
place at Star City in Moscow in April of this year It is credited it to Antunez Roca. If you need any further info please get in touch.


Miranda Pope
The Arts Catalyst
T: 0207 375 3690

------ End of Forwarded Message


Extremophiles Conference

Dear Rachel,

Would it be possible to put this on the Rhizome art events section and
We have a nice image to go with it of Marcel-li Antunez-Roca which I will
send separately.


Rob La Frenais (Rhizome member)
Curator, The Arts Catalyst

Extremophiles - surviving in space

As well as recently being the closest to us for 6000 years, the planet
Mars, glowing red in the night sky, will be invaded by numerous robotic
probes in the next few years. Is it now time for humans to go there, and if
so how will they survive the long journey in zero gravity? Should we OEtake
gravity with us