Critical Art Ensemble – War Crimes

By 2004, CAE couldn’t take it any more. Alone at the top of our list of egregious events, occasions, and actions, we felt compelled to respond to the use of unilateral hard power by the neoconservative government in the US (backed by the UK and Australia). This was their sole device for conducting foreign policy, along with the dogmatic belief that neoliberal nation-building was possible through military force. In order to maintain public acceptance, or at least indifference, to permanent war, public spectacles that encouraged fear were mounted on a regular basis. Two key celebrities driving these spectacles were germs and radiation.

In the collection of projects entitled War Crimes, CAE shows some of the counter-spectacle we created (“Marching Plague,” “Target Deception,” and “Radiation Burn”) in an attempt to re-tether the perceptions of these “weapons” to history, science, and materiality. We also contrast political theater (both ours and theirs) with actual atrocities and war crimes in the project “Immolation”—which chronicles the use of various incendiary weapons against civilians. Finally, CAE offers a small primer on war propaganda favored over the past two decades. Together, we hope to give our viewers glimpses of the face of 21st Century authoritarianism, combined with suggestions for tactics to resist it.

Steve Kurtz

The opening night will also be host to the official Asian-Pacific launch of CAE’s book Disturbances, published by Four Corners Books (UK).

Critical Art Ensemble
3 – 9/6/13

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