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The Marching Plague project is a critique of UK-US bioweapons research, addressing the paranoia of bioterrorism. The film centers on the recreation of secret sea trials conducted
by the UK government in the 1950s.

May 2004, FBI agents and the Joint Terrorism Task Force raided Critical Art Ensemble founder Steve Kurtz’s home, seizing art works and research materials for the Marching
Plague project. The raid enabled the FBI to accuse Kurtz of bioterrorism, an accusation made possible in the context of the ”war on terror” and the internal security policies implemented by the US government following 9/11. 

Nearly three years since the raid, the case has not reached court, and the allegations against Kurtz are still pending. Despite all this, the research was completed and CAE managed to reconstruct some of the material and produce both the film and a book: Marching Plague: Germ Warfare and Global Public Health. The project is an attempt to challenge the political status quo in times of crises.

The main argument, so difficult to establish in an atmosphere of government-enhanced paranoia (especially since 9/11), is that the government’s funds for germ warfare research are largely based on deception and scare tactics. Such research is a tremendous waste public funds that could have been invested in the study of diseases such as HIV that are killing millions each year. CAE’s argument should be viewed as a broader critique the current ”war on terror” policy and the government’s exploitation of the crisis to redirect precious resources to causes that harm the public good. Kurtz’s case is a good example of this. The government’s inability or unwillingness to acknowledge the fact that Kurtz is an artist and not a terrorist highlights the dimension of panic and paranoia. In addition, the artist’s perception as someone whose role is to criticize cultural and political structures is not prevalent enough to allow for a clear-cut distinction between an artist and a terrorist. Against this backdrop, CAE’s move stands out as courageous. 

Marching Plague is a powerful critique of the Government’s use of scare tactics and exploitation, and may account for the radical response to Kurtz’s practice, his arrest and investigation. A critical artist who dares challenge government policy in times of crisis, which is supposed generate hegemony of thought, can be quite a nuisance.

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 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

The Marching Plague

The Marching Plague project is a critique of UK-US bioweapons research, addressing the paranoia of bioterrorism. The film centers on the recreation of secret sea trials conducted
by the UK government in the 1950s.

May 2004, FBI agents and the Joint Terrorism Task Force raided Critical Art Ensemble founder Steve Kurtz’s home, seizing art works and research materials for the Marching
Plague project. The raid enabled the FBI to accuse Kurtz of bioterrorism, an accusation made possible in the context of the ”war on terror” and the internal security policies implemented by the US government following 9/11. 

Nearly three years since the raid, the case has not reached court, and the allegations against Kurtz are still pending. Despite all this, the research was completed and CAE managed to reconstruct some of the material and produce both the film and a book: Marching Plague: Germ Warfare and Global Public Health. The project is an attempt to challenge the political status quo in times of crises.

The main argument, so difficult to establish in an atmosphere of government-enhanced paranoia (especially since 9/11), is that the government’s funds for germ warfare research are largely based on deception and scare tactics. Such research is a tremendous waste public funds that could have been invested in the study of diseases such as HIV that are killing millions each year. CAE’s argument should be viewed as a broader critique the current ”war on terror” policy and the government’s exploitation of the crisis to redirect precious resources to causes that harm the public good. Kurtz’s case is a good example of this. The government’s inability or unwillingness to acknowledge the fact that Kurtz is an artist and not a terrorist highlights the dimension of panic and paranoia. In addition, the artist’s perception as someone whose role is to criticize cultural and political structures is not prevalent enough to allow for a clear-cut distinction between an artist and a terrorist. Against this backdrop, CAE’s move stands out as courageous. 

Marching Plague is a powerful critique of the Government’s use of scare tactics and exploitation, and may account for the radical response to Kurtz’s practice, his arrest and investigation. A critical artist who dares challenge government policy in times of crisis, which is supposed generate hegemony of thought, can be quite a nuisance.

 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

Presentation: Lennaart van Oldenborgh, The FBI Bug
Free Radicals
Eyal Danon
Concert: Hand Werk - Hand Werk