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<nettime> tactical digest [crowe, da costa, vojtechovsky, anna]
nettime's_discursive_digestive_system on Fri, 4 Jun 2004 21:26:37 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> tactical digest [crowe, da costa, vojtechovsky, anna]

Jennifer Crowe <jennifer {AT} thing.net>
     Re: <nettime> International Support Letter for Steven Kurtz / CAE
Beatriz da Costa <beatrizdacosta {AT} earthlink.net>
     Re: <nettime> TACTICAL OUTRAGE
"Milo╣ Vojtýchovskř" <milos.vojtechovsky {AT} fcca.cz>
     tactical outrage
Anna <anna {AT} mail.nadir.org>
     Re: <nettime> TACTICAL OUTRAGE

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Date: Thu,  3 Jun 2004 11:05:34 -0400
From: Jennifer Crowe <jennifer {AT} thing.net>
Subject: Re: <nettime> International Support Letter for Steven Kurtz / CAE

Hi Everyone,

Word around the film and video library/archivist scene points to the fact that 
some of the original email announcements and calls for help came from the 
rtmark site. The situation with Steve was inititally dismissed as a hoax - 
pointing to rtmark's history of spoofing, etc. The library/archivist types who 
are talking about this right now are not at all familiar with CAE, but some 
are familiar with rtmark and are connecting the two.

I wonder if this is happening in other communities? The story is out there and 
people should be running with it, but are not. Perhaps people are confused b/c 
of the source.

Eugene's call for points of clarification in whatever letter of support gets 
written are excellent. But the letter of support might be more effective if it 
was hosted/drafted by someone not directly affiliated with CAE or rtmark.


Eugene Thacker <eugene.thacker {AT} lcc.gatech.edu> wrote: 

> Hi all,
> Great idea Eric. It seems that word has been slow to get around. Perhaps
> Carla Mendes, the CAE spokesperson, already has a letter of support, or 
> is the person to draft one?


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From: Beatriz da Costa <beatrizdacosta {AT} earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: <nettime> TACTICAL OUTRAGE
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2004 23:18:06 -0700


There has been a staggering amount of email exchange
about the Steve Kurtz case on a wide variety of
list-serves in the past two weeks and it is highly
unlikely that anyone in the artistic communities
receiving these messages agrees with the FBI.

Agreed. But it is a starting point for everyone to reach out to their 
contacts outside the arts community, particularly contacts within the 
science and legal community to seek support and letters from there.

> Letters from individuals denouncing the FBI moves
> would best be directed at public officials, law enforcement and the
> media, rather than continuing to preach to the
> converted.

We're currently collecting letters in order to forward them to the 
appropriate institutions if needed.

> It is a bit surprising that so many seem to
> believe that the FBI really thinks CAE broke a law -
> the history of repression of 60s "radicals"
> demonstrates that law enforcement can and does work to
> concoct illegality when a climate of fear and the
> criminalization of dissent is the ultimate goal. The
> demonizing of biotech artists in the present is the
> equivalent of the crackdown on white student radicals
> of the late 60s. The FBI then like now worked with
> other branches of government, from the CIA to the IRS,
> generate wide reaching campaigns against leftists
> it is strategically more effective to look at the big
> picture rather than treating Kurtz like a single
> martyr.

Agreed. One of the reasons why we went to the media, is for that exact 
reason. I certainly believe that there are many more cases out there 
that didn't get any national media attention, which is not only a shame 
but also dangerous.

> Several people have already raised the important point
> that the Kurtz case is only one of many many instances
> of unwarranted and excessive repression by law
> enforcement targetting intellectuals, artists,
> activists and journalists. I join them in expressing
> hope that all the artists who are concerned about
> CAE's current travails demonstrate equal concern for
> the other "cultural interventionists" in the US and
> abroad who have suffered even greater and more
> systematic repression and who do not have the same
> degree of access to the media, famous lawyers or
> supporters with money to contribute to their defense.

It would really help to assemble links to similar cases and include a 
section on the caedefense site for that. The whole goal of being public 
about this case to use it as an example of FBI power abuse. The more 
examples we can add to that the better.


Beatriz da Costa
Assistant Professor of Studio Art Electrical Engineering and Computer 
University of California at Irvine

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From: "Milo╣ Vojtýchovskř" <milos.vojtechovsky {AT} fcca.cz>
Subject: tactical outrage
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2004 11:45:08 +0200


An acticle from 1999 which appeared in artmargins is a reminder on one of
many cases where art events have been criminalized by security, religious or
governmental structures. Especially during the state of war...

this time it was russia, but continuously in belarussia, central asia,
africa.. perhaps countries where artisticaly and socialy engaged actions are
protected are exceptions...

Avdey escaped to Prague, he asked for political asylum, and after 2 years in
refugee camp and relative isolation received his civic status and now lives
in Berlin. International solidarity campagne for his case was, if I remember
well.. minimal.. only Alexej Shulgin made efford to help him.

....In the wake of a series of bombings during the year 1999, the uncovering
of Boris Yeltsin's business transactions, the war in Chechnya and Dagestan,
the national propaganda against persons from the Caucasus (all of which
seems to be interrelated), a fresh wind of control is blowing through
Russia. This can also be seen in the art scene where many odd things have
happened over the last fifteen months: the prevention of an action "against
all parties" on Red Square, a break-in at Osmolovsky's apartment, and a
process against another members of the "Non-Governmental Control
Commission", Avdei Ter-Oganyan (see also Kirill Postoutenko's essay in
ARTMargins). In this latter case, the aim of the officials seems to have
been the same, even though the "script" for the case was completely
different from Pimenov's. In December l998, Ter-Oganyan was accused of
"stirring religious tension" because of a performance at the Manege Gallery
in Moscow. (I might point out that the pre-revolutionary law that bans the
"stirring of religious tension" did not exist in Soviet law and was
reactivated especially to prosecute Ter-Oganyan).

What happened? Avdei Ter-Oganyan had bought some icons in Moscow in order to
use them during a performance entitled "Pop-Art" (= "Pop Art" & "Popes'
[priests'] Art" ). He then built a sales stand and made a price list
according to which he offered the following services to visitors: 50 rubles
for having an icon sweared at by a young atheist; 20 rubles for having
oneself sweared at under the supervision of young atheists; 10 rubles for
the "insulting consultation" of domestic icons. Ter-Oganyan explained that
his performance was designed to parody destructive Moscow performance art a
la Brener during the early 1990s. Instead of destroying by brute force,
Ter-Oganyan wanted to enact destruction through words. However, one of the
spectators, faithful to the very Russian notion that the word is the act,
took Ter-Oganyan's "price list" and promptly handed it over to the

The District Attorney's Office is still working on the case. One day after
Ter-Oganyan's arrest his studio was searched. So far, all attempts by his
friends to mobilize the international press and art critics (Aleksei Shulgin
started such a campaign in the spring of 1999) have not been successful.
They did, however, receive "certifications" from well-known Russian art
critics who testify that Ter-Oganyan's performance was indeed an artistic
gesture, which, while it can be seen as foolish, tasteless, naive, or boring
from an artistic point of view, is nevertheless not unlawful. Ter-Oganyan is
still waiting for his trial. (In February of 1999 the same icons inscribed
with Russian four-letter-words decorated the walls of the "VolksbŘhne"
theater in Berlin during the international symposia "Mille plateaux" which
was dedicated to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Nobody even noticed
them, which is not a good sign).

Pimenov went to Prague an ask for political asylum, an act that weakens the
position of those who thought that Pimenov only wanted to attract publicity.
The FSB has confiscated his computer. Pimenov was right to get out.
Especially since everybody in Russia knows that it is best to flee when the
KGB wants to stage a play and picks you for main protagonist.

fragment from:
"KGB, or, the art of performance: action art or actions against art?"

sylvia sasse

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Subject: Re: <nettime> TACTICAL OUTRAGE
From: Anna <anna {AT} mail.nadir.org>
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2004 12:09:34 +0200


i don't know whether nettime has a tradition of new members introducing
i┬┤finally subscribed after being scared of too much stuff that i don't
have the time to read anyways for a while.

i live in berlin, my spheres are indymedia, media activism in general,
women&media, culture and language translation. recently reboot.fm.
being mother in and outside activism and net that expect mobility and
flexibility all the same.


what i want to say is..

Am Fr, den 04.06.2004 schrieb Dan S. Wang um 0:11:

> What do you expect from nettime? It is a boys club, mostly, and an
> overeducated white one, at that. Mostly.

a women's list i'm part of is having the very same debate at the moment.

to me it seems an american debate, or an artist one. whatever. 

hope you'll not consider me hopelessly oldschool for pasting this, but
there is an old poem that i find really suitable here:


First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.


you probably know it. written by pastor martin niemoeller who was
persecuted by the nazis.

>  Should
> there be a media campaign? Professional association resolutions? Street
> demonstrations? Letter writing? What? The answer, I think, is whatever one
> or a group wants to do, whatever one or a group thinks should be done, and
> whatever one or a group can do.

whatever people write - please consider using indymedia for publishing
it as well. i think it could be very useful to have this be a story on
the global indymedia's center column. texts published there get
translated a lot and move around the world fast.

i think putting together a quick overview of what happened and is
happening with links to more information and all possible actions of
solidarity will be fine.
this could also be linked with similar cases, or just *other* cases of
repression by the US authorities.

> That all being said, I will second Coco's earlier point and  put most of my
> attention to making this situation known and comprehensible to people
> outside of nettime...

me too, and so i'm asking those of you who spend time with the case
already to take another ten minutes to make it catch a lot more
publicity through indymedia.


1E8A F932 5C9C 1C13 83FB 1E1D DD8E 94F9 08E9 0385

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