A  N  N  O  U  N  C  E  M  E  N  T

De Balie - Centre for Culture and Politics, Amsterdam

Wednesday February 9 , 2005 / 20.00 - 22.00 hrs



A live benefit concert and performance event with Snowcrash (.nl), The
Yesmen and Critical Art Ensemble in support of artist Steven Kurtz and
scientist Robert Ferrell, both threatened by an unjustifiable
prosecution for "bioterrorism".

Presented in collaboration with:
Transmediale Festival, Berlin  (http://www.transmediale.de)
& The Arts Catalyst, London. (http://www.artscatalyst.org)

Live On-line at:

In a sinister neo-McCarthyite turn of the cards the prosecution of the
renowned artist Steve Kurtz, a core member of the US-based art
collective Critical Art Ensemble and Professor of Art at the University
of Buffalo, still continues after more than 8 months.

On May 11th 2004 Steven Kurtz awoke to find his wife of 27 years dead.
After emergency workers arrived, they called in the FBI after finding
what they considered to be suspicious items.  These items were
scientific samples and equipment, including harmless bacteria. Invoking
a 1989 bioterrorism law and the Patriot Act, federal agents detained
Kurtz for 22 hours and searched his home and office for two days.  The
FBI confiscated his wife's body, his house, car, equipment, computer,
books, writings, correspondence, art projects and other items, even his
cat.  His house, cat and car were returned after one week, once it was
determined that the death of his wife was unrelated to the bacterial matter.

Kurtz was then arraigned and charged in a Federal District Court, not
for bioterrorsim but of four counts of 'mail and wire fraud', carrying a
sentence of up to 20 years in prison.  Dr. Robert Ferrell, Professor of
Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh is also indicted on the same

Harmless laboratory equipment and materials were at first mistakenly
considered a public health threat. No such threat ever existed.  The
continuation of legal proceedings against Steven Kurtz and Robert
Ferrell, now suggest a political motivation to the case.

These charges are an attempt to stop CAE's open and public research into
the new regimes of biotechnology.  This research shown at major museums
across the USA and Europe includes work on:
    - Genetically modified organisms and food (GMOs)
    - the emerging complex of 'Intellectual Property Rights' related to
the patenting of DNA sequences, the very building blocks of life
    - the science that lies behind the myth and politics of bioweapons

The prosecution of Kurtz and Ferrell, and other scientists creating the
crucial public debate on the implications and risks in the fields of
biotechnology and life sciences, threaten healthy public discussion of
these important scientific and technological developments. Such forms of
legal intimidation have unfortunately increased in recent years.  They
constitute a fundamental threat to the freedom of artistic and academic
research and the wider democratisation of vital areas of scientific

With this event we call for an immediate cessation of all legal
proceedings against Steve Kurtz, Robert Ferrell and the Critical Art
Ensemble, and a resumption of a broad debate on the recent advances in
the fields of biotechnology and life-sciences in the USA and

In the presence of Steve Kurtz and Critical Art Ensemble collaborator
Claire Pentecost, De Balie will stage an extensive benefit concert and
performance event on Wednesday February 9th in collaboration with
SNOWCRASH - "The Biggest Live Internet Dance Act on Earth".

With live connections to:

The Yesmen

Streamminister Berlin

Absurde Video Team Strasburg

Radio Jeleni Prague

Performing artists:
Illegal Sound (General D & Longman)
Jitka Charvatova (Skyline)

and our main guests of the evening: Steve Kurtz and Claire Pentecost.

Admission: 5 euro:
The revenues of the evening will be made entirely available to the
Critical Art Ensemble Defence Fund to support the legal struggle.

De Balie
Kleine Gartmanpantsoen 10

Tickets: +31.20.553 51 00

This event will be streamed live via the internet at:

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