# Protest Declaration
Vienna, June 3, 2004. Free Bitflows conference adopts protest declaration against imminent condemnation of artist based on US-terrorism law.
US security paranoia unable to distinguish art from bioterrorism
Founding member of Critical Art Ensemble faces terrorism charges
Steve Kurtz, a renowned artist and professor whose work addresses the
implications of information and bio technologies, was arrested by FBI and special forces on 12 May, 2004. In a tragic antecedent, Kurtz's wife had
died totally unexpectedly in the early morning of the same day due to a
cardiac arrest. Following the seizure of Kurtz' complete working
materials, the authorities declared his house a danger zone. However,
the seized objects represent devices and substances that are
commercially available and can be legally obtained by anyone. The pose
no danger and Steve Kurtz has successfully used them in international
art shows for years.
A founding member of the internationally acclaimed Critical Art
Ensemble, Steve Kurtz now faces an indictment based on laws that
severely curtail fundamental rights using the fight against terrorism as
a pretext. The 'Patriot Act' serves as justification for a campaign not
only against immigrants, but also against critical journalists,
scientists, and recently also artists. Steve Kurtz has publicly
denounced the patenting of the biosphere and the role played by
corporations, and recently examined the transgenetic contamination of
food products. His attempt to use artistic means to make the genetic
manipulation of the food chain and the practices of the bio industry
visible have made him a terrorist from the perspective of a generalized
security paranoia. In fact, Steve Kurtz is now facing indictment for
possession of biological substances for so-called 'non-peaceful
purposes'. Apart from possible imprisonment, Steve Kurtz is severely
harmed by the enormous financial demands of his legal defense.
The Free Bitflows conference and its international audience of artists,
academics and cultural workers condemns the actions taken by the US
justice authorities against Steve Kurtz in the strongest possible terms.
We demand an immediate stop of the actions taken against Steve Kurtz as
well as his full vindication and restoration as an artist.
Sign the Letter of Support! Join the Demonstration!