Kurtz 911


A follow-up to its anti-terror line, which accumulates reports on civil liberty infringements, The Bureau of Inverse Technology has just launched the Kurtz shout out line in response to the persistent injustices served to artist Steve Kurtz and his collaborator Robert Ferrell. The Bureau writes the line was set up 'to capture the public outcry at the persecution of this man, the criminalization of dissent and the intimidation of academic inquiry.' By turning any phone (cell/home/booth) into a networked microphone, the Bureau encourages individuals, who might otherwise not feel authorized, to publicly state their opinions, digressions and raw sentiments on this incendiary case. All calls are immediately uploaded to an online database and available for listening, annotation and syndication. To date, the messages are alternately shy and rambling, representing individuals (like myself) trying to synthesize a response when suddenly faced with an anonymous and infinite audience. For the purposes of the current or historical listener, this developing audio archive will make the vast public reaction to the Kurtz case more visceral. Both of the BIT lines are part satire, and part experimental democratic interface: At the same time as they conceptually riff the 'participatory' structures of federally sanctioned lines like Ashcroft's 'TIPS', they galvanize a plurality of dissenting voices to speak out, and then instantaneously mic them. Call now! - Lauren Cornell