February 2006 on -empyre- soft-skinned space
Australia’s rcently enacted Sedition Act undermines the right of free speech, which has "ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of any other right" –James Madison (Fourth President of the United States and an author of the US Constitution)
This month on -empyre- , the discussion will focus on the legal term sedition, and its political impact on global media and culture. Our guests this month: Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) members Lucia Sommer and Claire Pentecost (US), Nicholas Ruiz (US), and Ben Saul (AU)
Please join our guests for conversation on ‘sedition’ at http://www.subtle.net/empyre
On an international scale, the prosecution of Steve Kurtz from Critical Art Ensemble is a case in point. The ongoing court case with the US Justice Department has demonstrated the effect that the "war on terror "has had on limiting free speech, particularly in the arts.
In December 2005, the Anti-Terrorism Bill was pushed through the Australian Parliament. This legislation has met with much concern from the cultural sector and human rights and freedom of speech advocates. On 27 October 2005, Chris Connolly from the University of New South Wales, in a Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee, outlined many issues that were raised in regard to Sedition. In his appendix regarding "Sedition in the Arts" he makes the comment that the best known use of sedition laws was during the period of McCarthyism in the USA in the 1950s.
Is this where we are headed? -empyre- in February asks the question. as artists and cultural producers are we losing our right to express ourselves and comment on the state of our society?
The discussion will also look at how sedition laws could affect online activist networks like Indymedia and Znet. As such network operate as open publishing systems, will there be limitations in the capacity to publish and disseminate content?
Lucia Sommer is an artist, writer, and activist whose work is concerned with pleasure in everyday life and the creation of critical ephemeral publics. Since 1994 she has taught art in various settings from public school to museum, and her work has been shown individually and as part of the cyberfeminist collective subRosa in Europe and North America. Currently she is pursuing a PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester, NY.
Claire Pentecost is an artist and writer, engaging a variety of media to interrogate the imaginative and institutional structures that organize divisions of knowledge. Having spent years tinkering in a conceptual laboratory for ideas about the natural and the artificial, her most recent projects concentrate on industrial and bioengineered agriculture, the alternatives and the trade regimes that force one over the other. She has been an active member of the Critical Art Ensemble defense fund (www.caedefensefund.org).
Nicholas Ruiz III was born in New York City. His work has appeared in Noema Tecnologie e Society, Rhizomes.net, Media/ Culture.org.au, The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Reconstruction, Public Resistance and elsewhere. He is also the editor of Kritikos: http://garnet.acns.fsu.edu/~nr03/
Dr Ben Saul is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales, the Director of the Bill of Rights Project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre for Public Law, and an Associate of the Australian Human Rights Centre.
join us at http://www.subtle.net/empyre