[lit-ideas] Critical Arts Ensemble busted by the FBI

  • From: Scribe1865@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 5 Jun 2004 17:40:03 EDT

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In a message dated 6/5/2004 3:00:42 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
torgfje2@xxxxxxxxxx writes:

Seems like the feds had a reasonable basis for suspicion, but went way, way 
overboard on their response. They may now be trying to find justification for 
their hyperbolic response. -Eric
Mission statement from their Web site:

Critical Art Ensemble is a collective of five artists of various 
specializations dedicated to exploring the intersections between art, 
technology, radical 
politics, and critical theory.

Description from Wired: 

Steve Kurtz is an artist operating in an unusual medium. Rather than 
exploring ideas with brushes and paint, he uses bacteria and DNA to create 
works meant 
to spark debate about the safety and morality of genetic research. 

But Kurtz's work and his beliefs are more radical than those of many of his 
peers. He has written proposals for releasing mutant flies into restaurants, 
and demonstrated methods for destroying genetically modified crops. And it is 
Kurtz's views, his supporters say, that have Kurtz on the wrong side of a 
federal investigation sparked by the death of his wife, Hope Kurtz. 

It now appears that a judge and jury will ultimately decide whether and how 
artists will be allowed to work with the materials that scientists are trusted 
with daily inside biotech laboratories. The Department of Justice this week 
took steps toward charging Steven Kurtz with running an illegal biotech 
laboratory in the Kurtzes' home in Buffalo, New York. 

FBI agents are trying to find any connections that may exist between the 
Kurtzes' radical agenda, their DNA lab and Hope's untimely, and unexplained, 

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