clap clap blog: we have moved

Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Well gee, if this is true (and it seems to be--see AP article), it's kind of worrisome.

Subject: Critical Art Ensemble and the FBI
Date: June 1, 2004

Hola folks,

Many of you have probably heard that the artist Steve Kurtz was
detained by the FBI and is now being investigated under the Homeland
Security Act. He and the collective he is in, Critical Art
Ensemble, were preparing a really cool installation for a show on
interventionist art at MASS MOCA. The piece had lab equipment that
allowed a visitor to bring any kind of food and have it tested for
genetically modified organisms. Here is a description of the piece:

Free Range Grain is a live, performative action. CAE/da Costa/Shyu
has constructed a portable, public lab to test foods for the more
common genetic modifications. People bring us foods that they find
suspect for whatever reason, and we test them over a 72-hour period
to see if their suspicions are justified. While we will not be able
to say conclusively that a given food is genetically modified
(although we can offer strong probability as whether it is), we can
test for conclusive negatives, and we can bring issues of food
purity into the realm of public discourse.

You can get more info about this piece at website:

and more info about their work generally at

While we were at MASS MOCA at the opening of the intervenionist show
(minus the seized installation), two other members of Critical Art
Ensemble were served with subpoenas for a grand jury. The subpoenas
indicated that the FBI is moving forward with charging Steve of
creating biological weapons for this art piece! There is more info
about the case, at

These are very serious charges that will be hard to fight and could
lead to a drawn out trial. Steve is going to need our help to stay
out of jail! Since we were all there at MASS MOCA, we talked about
a couple of things we can do immediately to help. The first is to
bring as much publicity as possible to the case while
contextualizing the work that Critical Art Ensemble has been doing
in the field of biotechnology. A second it to work together to
fundraise for legal fees - unfortunately, criminal attorneys do not
do pro bono work. ...
You can also just make a donation online at:

critical art ensemble:
rtmark site about the case:

This might be a little unclear, so be sure to go to the RTMark site to get a better explanation, especially of the events preceding the show, which are just incredible. Go donate.