In the pristine alpine world of Park City, Utah, host of the annual Sundance Film Festival, Director Lynn Hershman Leeson screened her film Strange Culture and held a Q&A hosted by the Stanford Humanities Lab in the virtual online world Second Life, yesterday, a couple of days after the film had its Sundance premier.
Members of the audience watched an hour and a half movie alongside a giant fox and a strange creature with dragonfly wings, about artist and college professor Steve Kurtz who 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.
Strange Culture shows what can happen in a country whipsawed by politically motivated fear of .