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“Strange Culture” Screening with Steve Kurtz

April 4, 2008 @ 7:00 pm 9:00 pm EDT

Lynn Hershman Leeson’s Strange Culture (2007) is a brilliantly conceived documentary that breaks conventional rules to tell a story of post-9/11 paranoia and the risks artists face when their work questions government policies. The subject of this film- artists and college professor Steve Kurtz- has been charged as a suspected terrorist and faces up to 20 years in prison. He will be in attendance for this benefit event. NEW LOCATION: Christ Church, 35 State St.

Co-sponsored by the Department of the Arts at RPI.

Still from "Strange Culture," a film by Lynn Hershman-Leeson. A woman (Tilda Swinton) sits next to and listens to a man (Josh Kornbluth).
Still from Strange Culture.

About the Film:

Artist and college professor Steve Kurtz was preparing for a MASS MoCA exhibition that lets audiences test whether food has been genetically modified when, days before the opening, his wife tragically died of heart failure. Distraught, Kurtz called 911, but when medics arrived, they became suspicious of his art supplies and called the FBI. Dozens of agents in haz-mat suits sifted through his home and impounded his computers, books, cat, and even his wife’s body. The government held Kurtz as a suspected terrorist, and, nearly three years later, the charges have not been dropped. He still faces up to 20 years in prison.

Because Kurtz cannot legally talk about the case, Leeson enlists actors, including Tilda Swinton, Josh Kornbluth, and Peter Coyote, to interpret the story. Leeson skillfully weaves dramatic reenactment, news footage, animation, testimonials, and footage of Kurtz himself into a sophisticated documentary about post-9/11 paranoia and the risks artists face when their work questions government policies.

3361 6th Ave
Troy, 12180 United States
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