Art in the Age of Terrorism

Bio-Terrorism or Art?

Bio-Terrorism or Art?

Join Dr. Steven Kurtz, the artist accused by the US Department of Justice of “bioterrorism” stemming from his use of scientific materials in his award-winning art practice, and science writer Carl Zimmer for a panel discussion on the ethics of scientific and creative research and freedom of speech.

Kurtz, a University at Buffalo professor and founding member of the Critical Art Ensemble, uses biological materials in educational exhibits and performances designed to inspire debate about political and social issues, including those surrounding new biotechnologies. In May of 2004, he was detained on suspicion of “bioterrorism” for his possession of a small laboratory and petri dishes containing bacteria cultures used in several of Critical Art Ensemble’s projects. When these accusations proved groundless, he was then charged with mail and wire fraud—charges which carried a possible sentence of 20 years in jail under the USA PATRIOT Act. Earlier this month, a federal judge dismissed those charges; however, the US Department of Justice may still appeal the dismissal.

This month’s Upgrade! New York is a collaboration between Eyebeam and the World Science Festival, with additional support from the Berkeley Center for New Media.

Download press release: The Upgrade! presents Art in the Age of Terrorism