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Art in the Age of Terrorism: A panel discussion with Steve Kurtz, Eugene Thacker, George Annas and Carl Zimmer at Eyebeam

Art in the Age of Terrorism: A panel organized by Eyebeam and the 2008 World Science Festival

Steven Kurtz-the artist accused of bioterrorism in federal court-will make his first public appearance following the dismissal of his case

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Eyebeam 540 W. 21st St. (btw 10th and 11th Aves.)

Free and open to the public

New York City, May 23, 2008-In collaboration with the 2008 World Science Festival, Eyebeam announces a very special panel on the ethics of scientific and creative research featuring Critical Art Ensemble's Dr. Steven Kurtz alongside science writer Carl Zimmer, bioethicist George Annas and author Eugene Thacker at 7PM on May 29 at Eyebeam. The panel discussion-Dr. Kurtz's first public appearance since the US government's controversial case against him was dropped on April 21, 2008, four years after he was first detained-is co-organized with the 2008 World Science Festival and the Berkeley Center for New Media.

In May of 2004, Dr. Kurtz was detained by the FBI on suspicion of "bioterrorism" for his possession of scientific materials used in his award-winning art practice. Kurtz, a University at Buffalo professor and founding member of the internationally acclaimed collective Critical Art Ensemble, uses biological materials in educational exhibits and performances designed to inspire debate about political and social issues surrounding the new biotechnologies.

When the "bioterrorism" accusations proved groundless, he was then charged with mail and wire fraud stemming from his acquisition of harmless bacterial cultures for use in one of Critical Art Ensemble's educational projects-charges which carried a possible sentence of 20 years in jail under the USA PATRIOT Act. Last month, a federal judge dismissed those charges.

At Thursday's event, Kurtz will be joined by bioethicist George Annas, author Eugene Thacker and science writer Carl Zimmer moderating, to discuss the use of bio-materials in creative practice. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Steven Kurtz is Professor of Visual Studies at SUNY at Buffalo and co-founder of the award-winning art and theater collective, Critical Art Ensemble. Critical Art Ensemble (which Kurtz co-founded in 1987 with Steven Barnes)(CAE) is a collective of tactical media practitioners of various specializations, including computer graphics and web design, wetware, film/video, photography, text art, book art, and performance, dedicated to exploring the intersections between art, technology, political activism, and critical theory. The collective has produced a wide variety of projects for an international audience at diverse venues ranging from the street, to the museum, to the Internet. For more than twenty years, CAE has performed and exhibited art that examines issues surrounding information, communications, and bio-technologies. CAE is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2007 Andy Warhol Foundation Wynn Kramarsky Freedom of Artistic Expression Grant honoring two decades of distinguished work. CAE has been invited to exhibit and perform in many of the world's cultural institutions-including the Whitney Museum and the New Museum in NYC; the Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington, DC; the London Museum of Natural History; the ICA, London; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; der Volksbüne, Berlin; ZKM, Karlsruhe; El Matadero, Madrid; Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Museo de Arte Carrilo Gil, Mexico City and many more. CAE's work has been covered by most major art journals, including Artforum, Kunstforum, and The Drama Review, which dedicated a special section to CAE in 2000. CAE has written six books, and its writings have been translated into eighteen languages.

George Annas is Chair of the Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights of Boston University School of Public Health, and Professor in the Boston University School of Medicine, and School of Law. He is the cofounder of Global Lawyers and Physicians, a transnational professional...

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