Is Free Speech a Form of Terrorism?


In the dim morning hours of May 11, 2004, American artist Steve Kurtz, a member of the internationally-acclaimed art collective Critical Art Ensemble, called 911 to tell dispatchers that his wife Hope had passed away in her sleep. When police arrived at the couple's Buffalo, New York, home, they discovered that Kurtz posessed a mobile DNA extraction laboratory, part of the Critical Art Ensemble's latest art project, 'Free Range Grain'. The small labortory was being used to test food for possible genetic tampering -- an endeavor quite in keeping with the Critical Art Ensemble's emphasis on revealing and resisting bio-imperialism. Saturated with post-September 11 anti-terror rhetoric, the police called in the FBI to investigate, and, on June 8, seven subpoenas were issued to artists associated with the Critical Art Ensemble, including Kurtz. The artists are to appear before a Federal Grand Jury on June 15. A protest is being planned for the same day at 9 a.m. outside the courthouse in Buffalo, New York, at 138 Delaware Ave. A defense fund has also been established, and suggestions for ways to support Kurtz and the Critical Art Ensemble are available on the CAE Defense Fund website. - Lewis LaCook