Target Deception 2007


On February 24, 2007 in Leipzig, Germany, Critical Art Ensemble inverts the 1950 simulated anthrax test done by the US military in 1950 on the city of San Francisco. Rather than trying to spray the entire city as the military did, CAE attempts to pinpoint one specific site—the American Consulate. To represent the cities whose […]

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Marching Plague 2005-07


Marching Plague was an exploration into the historical failure of germ warfare programs around the world from the point of view of both military and scientific logic, and questioned why the US continues to expand its program in spite of its demonstrated failure. This project took many forms including video, installation, and performance. Bodies of […]

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Free Range Grain 2003-04. CAE, Beatriz da Costa, and Shyh-shiun Shyu.


Free Range Grain was a live, performative action that used basic molecular biology techniques to test for genetically modified (GM) food in the global food trade. CAE wanted this interventionist performance to demonstrate how the “smooth space” of global trade enables the very “contaminations” the authorities say it guards against. CAE/da Costa/Shyu constructed a portable, […]

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Molecular Invasion 2002-04. CAE, Beatriz da Costa, and Claire Pentecost.


Molecular Invasion was a participatory science-theater work done in cooperation with students from the Corcoran School of Art and Design and exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC. In this work, CAE/da Costa/Pentecost and selected students attempted to reverse-engineer genetically modified canola, corn, and soy plants through the use of environmentally friendly, nontoxic chemical disrupters. […]

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GenTerra 2001-03. Critical Art Ensemble and Beatriz da Costa.


Performed at the Natural History Museum, London; Gallery Oldham, Manchester; St. Norbert Art & Cultural Center, Winnipeg, and Le Magasin, Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble. GenTerra was a live exploration of the variety of discourses on transgenics in relation to environmental risk and human health policy. Participants manipulated transgenic bacteria in an effort to develop […]

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Cult of the New Eve, 1999-2000. CAE, Paul Vanouse, and Faith Wilding.


This project examined the appropriation of Christian promissory rhetoric by industry and scientific specialists in order to persuade the public of the utopian nature of new biotechnology. CAE/Vanouse/Wilding moved this rhetoric from the context of the most legitimate and authoritative socio-economic constellations, and placed it in the context of the least legitimate of all social […]

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Intelligent Sperm On-line 1999


This performance was designed for universities that have donor scouts looking for “custom” product for their fertility clinics. It performs the aims and methods of the current eugenic meat market. In this action a CAE member functions as a representative of a fertility clinic (BioCom). Live on screen via the Internet is a “customer” who […]

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The Society for Reproductive Anachronisms, 1999-2000


Performed at Expo Destructo, London, and Rutgers University. CAE created the Society for Reproductive Anachronisms(SRA) in order to have an inexpensive, highly mobile means to speak to the issues raised in Flesh Machine. This performative counterfeit consisted of a group of activists who spoke to people about the dangers of medical intervention in the reproductive […]

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Flesh Machine, 1997-98


This live performative project attempted to simulate bio-class divisions in the flesh economy. By live testing the suitability of participants to pass on their genes through a “donor program”, CAE revealed the latent residue of eugenics in the fertility market. This performance also brought the scientific processes of reproductive technology into the public domain. Flesh […]

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