University at Buffalo
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Art History

Visual Studies

SEIZED exhibit presents CAE art confiscated in FBI raid

June 2, 2008  by: Admin

SEIZED
Critical Art Ensemble
Institute for Applied Autonomy

June 7 to July 19, 2008
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 7, 8–11pm
Admission is FREE

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center
341 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14202

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center is pleased to announce the exhibition SEIZED by Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) and the Institute for Applied Autonomy (IAA). The exhibition premieres Saturday, June 7, 2008 from 8–11pm and the opening reception is free and open to the public. The exhibition will remain on view through July 18, 2008. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11am to 6pm and Saturday, 1–4pm.

Following the four year long ordeal of CAE founding member and University at Buffalo Art Professor Steve Kurtz—accused by the Justice Department of “bio-terrorism” and later indicted on charges of mail fraud for procuring harmless bacterial cultures for use in an educational art project—SEIZED presents the artworks behind this case which has attracted worldwide attention and propelled an international arts community to rally to Kurtz’s support and on behalf of freedom of speech.

SEIZED will center itself upon the works and materials seized by federal authorities, in particular the multi-media project Marching Plague, which was commissioned by the UK-based art-science initiative, The Arts Catalyst, and produced in consultation with scientists from the Harvard-Sussex Program on Chemical and Biological Weapons Armament and Arms Limitation. The project is comprised of an installation, performance, film, and book dedicated to demystifying issues surrounding germ warfare programs and the cost of their development to global public health.

Additionally, project documentation and ephemera from the three other CAE projects confiscated by authorities will be on display. These works—Free Range Grain, Molecular Invasion, and GenTerra—utilize the framework of science and research to inspire informed dialogue about questions and concerns surrounding the new biotechnologies.

SEIZED will also exhibit the physical artifacts of the 2004 FBI investigation of Steve Kurtz. Items seized from Kurtz’s home will be documented in photographs depicting the negative spaces remaining following their seizure: missing computers, books, notes, props from art performances, lab equipment, and an unfinished manuscript. In a curious—and unintentionally performative—gesture, the gaps left by seized items are filled in by the volumes of trash left behind in Kurtz’s home by federal investigators: hundreds of empty drink bottles, pizza boxes, Hazmat suits, and other assorted refuse, all of which will be on exhibit alongside CAE artworks.

The resulting exhibition will offer a strange amalgam—part survey of CAE’s recent body of artwork, and part exploration of an attempted “bioterrorism” investigation.

http://hallwalls.org/visual_shows/2008/show_seized.html
http://www.critical-art.net
http://www.caedefensefund.org
http://www.appliedautonomy.com

CRITICAL ART ENSEMBLE
Critical Art Ensemble (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. Formed in 1987, 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. 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, and 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; Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; der Volksbuhne, Berlin; ZKM, Karlsruhe; El Matadero, Madrid; Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Museo de Arte Carrilo Gil, Mexico City and many more. The collective’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.

INSTITUTE FOR APPLIED AUTONOMY
The Institute for Applied Autonomy (IAA) was founded in 1998 as an anonymous collective of engineers, designers, artists and activists united by the cause of individual and collective self-determination. Toward this end, the IAA has produced numerous projects under its flagship initiative, Contestational Robotics. These include several tele-operated robotic graffiti writers; I-See, which gained worldwide media attention as a web-based navigation service to help users avoid surveillance; TXTmob, a cellular phone broadcast service widely used by demonstrators during the DNC and RNC protests in the US, and during the election protests in the Ukraine and Washington, DC; and Terminal Air, an installation and website that visualizes the movements of airplanes believed to have been used in the CIA’s “Extraordinary Rendition” program. The collective has won numerous awards and grants for its work, including the 2000 Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction and several Prix Ars Electronica Honorable Mentions; a Rhizome New Media Fellowship; and artist grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. The IAA’s work has been exhibited in museums, galleries, and public spaces internationally, including ZKM, Karlsruhe; the World Information Organization, Amsterdam; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona; the Australian Centre for the Moving Image; Princeton University; Brown University; the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art; the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; Mass MoCA, and Eyebeam Atelier.

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center
341 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14202
716.854.1694 www.hallwalls.org