Steve Kurtz is one of the founders of the internationally acclaimed Critical Art Ensemble, a collaborative art project that uses video and performance to educate the public about biotechnology. In their own words, they are dedicated to “exploring the intersections between art, technology, radical politics and critical theory”.
Last May, Steve called 911 for his wife who was in medical crisis. She later died. When paramedics arrived, they noticed some of the lab equipment in Steve’s home that the Critical Art Ensemble was using for an upcoming art exhibition. The paramedics reported this to the police, and the FBI arrived and sealed off the house. Steve wasn’t allowed back into his home for two days while the FBI confiscated his equipment, books, papers and personal computer.
Filmmakers Jim Fetterley and Angie Waller made a portrait of Steve while he was awaiting trial, now available on youtube. Strange Culture, a feature length documentary by filmmaker Lynn Hershman-Leeson, about Steve’s arrest and harassment screened at Sundance in January. For a review of the film go here.
It appears that the state is proceeding with charges against Steve and his long time collaborator, research scientist Dr. Robert Farrell. They are facing up to 20 years in jail. For more info check out their defense fund .