May 25, 2008 by: Dom
Dr. 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, 7PM
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 Steven Kurtz alongside science writer Carl Zimmer, bioethicist George Annas and author Eugene Thacker at 7PM on May 29 at Eyebeam. The panel discussion–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.
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 Anna 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 association of lawyers and physicians working together to promote human rights and health. He has degrees from Harvard College (A.B. economics, ’67), Harvard LawSchool (J.D. ’70) and Harvard School of Public Health (M.P.H. ’72). Professor Annas is the author or editor of seventeen books on health law and bioethics, including Public Health Law (2007), American Bioethics: Crossing Human Rights and Health Law Boundaries (2005). He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Institute of Medicine, and co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Health Rights and Bioethics (Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section). He has also held a variety of government regulatory posts, including Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, Chair of the Massachusetts Health Facilities Appeals Board, and Chair of the Massachusetts Organ Transplant Task Force.
Carl Zimmer reports from the frontiers of biology, where scientists are expanding our understanding of life. He is a frequent guest on radio programs, such as Fresh Air and This American Life. He also lectures regularly at universities, medical schools, and museums. Zimmer’s books include Soul Made Flesh (2004) a history of the brain, which was named one of the top 100 books of 2004 by The New York Times Book Review. Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life, Zimmer’s sixth book, will be published by Pantheon in May. In addition to writing books, Zimmer contributes articles to the New York Times, as well as magazines including National Geographic, Discover, Scientific American, Science, and Popular Science. Zimmer has won f
Eugene Thacker is the author of a number of books and articles that bring together philosophy, science and technology, including: Biomedia (2004), The Global Genome (2005) and most recently, The Exploit: A Theory of Networks (2007) (co-authored with Alexander Galloway). Thacker teaches in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and he has also collaborated with art collectives Biotech Hobbyist and the Radical Software Group.
The World Science Festival debuts May 28 and runs through June 1, 2008 with a program of world-class events aimed at engaging the public with the wonders of science and its pivotal role in addressing issues of local and global importance.
This multi-disciplinary program of more than forty programs takes place at fifteen venues across New York City. These panel discussions, artistic performances, town hall meetings, screenings, exhibits and more, draw upon New York’s scientific, cultural, resources to throwing a brilliant spotlight on the power of discovery, creativity, and innovation to understand the world and shape our future.
The World Science Festival exists to cultivate and sustain a general public informed by the content of science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future. The annual World Science Festival is a production of the Science Festival Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in New York City.
The Visual Art and Science Advisory Board, World Science Festival members are:
Ken Goldberg, Co-Chair, UC Berkeley
William Haseltine, Co-Chair, Human Genome Sciences
Amanda McDonald Crowley, Eyebeam
Zhang Ga, Parsons
Peter Galison, Harvard
John G. Hanhardt, Smithsonian
Caroline Jones, MIT
Roger Malina, Berkeley
Leonard Shlain, Author
Tiffany Shlain, Moxie Institute
Upgrade! is an international, emerging network of autonomous nodes united by art, technology, and a commitment to bridging cultural divides. Its decentralized, non-hierarchical structure ensures that Upgrade! (i) operates according to local interests and their available resources; and (ii) reflects current creative engagement with cutting edge technologies. While individual nodes present new media projects, engage in informal critique, and foster dialogue and collaboration between individual artists, Upgrade! International functions as an online, global network that gathers annually in different cities to meet one another, showcase local art, and work on the agenda for the following year.
Upgrade! New York: Since April 1999, a group of new media artists and curators have gathered in New York City. The first meeting took place at a bar in the east village with Tim Whidden & Mark River [MTAA], Mark Napier and founder Yael Kanarek. Upgrade! New York partnered with Eyebeam in March 2000.
Founded in 1997, Eyebeam is an art and technology center that provides a fertile context and state-of-the-art tools for digital experimentation. It is a lively incubator of creativity and thought, where artists and technologists actively engage with the larger culture, addressing the issues and concerns of our time. Eyebeam challenges convention, celebrates the hack, educates the next generation, encourages collaboration, freely offers its output to the community, and invites the public to share in a spirit of openness: open source, open content and open distribution.
Eyebeam’s current programs are made possible through the generous support of The Atlantic Foundation, The Pacific Foundation, the Johnson Art and Education Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, Dewar’s, Deep Green Living, ConEdison, Datagram, Electric Artists Inc.; public funds from New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; and many generous individuals. For a complete list of Eyebeam supporters, please visit http://www.eyebeam.org.
Location: 540 W. 21st Street between 10th & 11th Avenues
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12:00 – 6:00pm
Bookstore: Tuesday – Saturday, 12:00 – 6:00pm
Admission: All events are free to the public with a suggested donation unless otherwise noted.