11 December, 2006

Brancusi All Over Again? Film, Strange Culture, Takes a Stand

Recent interview in Per Contra sheds light on film in-progress dealing with art and suspected bio-terror. The government has been misunderstanding art since the days when Brancusi's sculpture was taxed.

MK: Last August you were a part of the 13th International Symposium of Electronic Arts (ISEA2006), “Zero One Jose, International Art On the Edge.” That was your film in-progress, “Strange Culture.” Would you tell our readers a bit about the film and what it’s based on? What was it about Steve Kurz’s and Robert Ferrell’s story that compelled you to do this film?

LHL: The film is about the case of Steve Kurtz and Robert Ferrell. On May 11, 2004 Kurtz’s wife of 27 years died of heart failure. He called 911. The medic saw his art work and called the police, who then called the fbi, who called the hazmat unit and confiscated his wife’s body. Hours later, Kurtz was charged with bio-terrorism, as was his collaborator, a geneticist, Dr. Robert Ferrell. The story is about freedom of speech, first amendment rights and the growing erosion of autonomy in our culture. Tilda Swinton, Thomas Jay Ryan, Steve and Peter Coyote are in it.

MK: Is this the major project you’re working on now? How did you get to this? How would you describe its connection to your other work?

LHL: Although I’ve been in exhibitions with Critical Art Ensemble, what really linked me to it was the injustice, intolerance, ignorance, and consequently the growing and pervasive culture of fear that was moving into our lives, all of our lives. To not speak up about it is, to me to be part of the system.

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