Re: [-empyre-] February 2006 on -empyre- soft-skinned space
Thanks for bringing up this critical issue relating to our recent
sedition act. By now I guess everyone is aware of the case of the
artist Michael Agzarian at the Wagga Wagga Gallery. A complaint was
made by visiting member of the public against his artworks to the
Prime Minister’s Office on the grounds that the images were
‘treasonous’, prompting the Government’s Arts Department to contact
the gallery to find out whether it was a government funded
exhibition. It was not, as it turned out. WHY treasonous? It implies
there's an irrationality in reactions such as those by the federal
government- it also is a test for these new laws - the implication is
there is no expressed immunity for film theatre and visual art.
Central to this case and I believe many others is:
1. the new law's vagueness allows for broad interpretations.
2. The there will be a tendency for self censorship by arts
practitioners and arts bodies.
Laws such as these have been used to successfully inhibit "other"
views in totalitarian regimes - really how far have we gone down that
path? Look at Singapore where recently - 2 students were jailed for
doing postings construed as being of "ill will" - we have similar
laws available to us under the new Anti-Terrorism Laws.
3. The other question needing to be asked in these uncertain times,
by concerned artists is what would have happened if there was funding
– would the Government have taken the pieces down? How will this
reflect on possible individual decisions made by arts funding bodies?
Again consensual paranoia imprisons us....
On 03/02/2006, at 8:02 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
February 2006 on -empyre- soft-skinned space
Australia's rcently enacted Sedition Act undermines the right of
which has "ever been justly
deemed the only effectual guardian of any other right" --James
President of the United States and an author of the US Constitution)
This month on -empyre- , the discussion will focus on the legal
and its political impact on global media and culture.
Our guests this month: Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) members Lucia
Claire Pentecost (US), Nicholas Ruiz (US), and Ben Saul (AU)
Please join our guests for conversation on 'sedition' at
On an international scale, the prosecution of Steve Kurtz from
Ensemble is a case in point. The ongoing court case with the US
Department has demonstrated the effect that the "war on terror "has
limiting free speech, particularly in the arts.
In December 2005, the Anti-Terrorism Bill was pushed through the
Parliament. This legislation has met with much concern from the
and human rights and freedom of speech advocates. On 27 October
Connolly from the University of New South Wales, in a Submission to
Legal and Constitutional Committee, outlined many issues that were
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
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
on the state of our society?
The discussion will also look at how sedition laws could affect
networks like Indymedia and Znet. As such network operate as open
systems, will there be limitations in the capacity to publish and
----------------------->Lucia Sommer is an artist, writer, and
work is concerned with pleasure in everyday life and the creation
ephemeral publics. Since 1994 she has taught art in various
public school to museum, and her work has been shown individually
and as part
of the cyberfeminist collective subRosa in Europe and North
she is pursuing a PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies at the
----------------------->Claire Pentecost is an artist and writer,
variety of media to interrogate the imaginative and institutional
that organize divisions of knowledge. Having spent years tinkering
conceptual laboratory for ideas about the natural and the
artificial, her most
recent projects concentrate on industrial and bioengineered
alternatives and the trade regimes that force one over the other.
She has been
an active member of the Critical Art Ensemble defense fund
------------------------>Nicholas Ruiz III was born in New York
City. His work
has appeared in Noema Tecnologie e Society, Rhizomes.net, Media/
The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Reconstruction,
Resistance and elsewhere. He is also the editor of Kritikos:
------------------------->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
join us at <http://www.subtle.net/empyre
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