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A Crime Against Art (Madrid Trial)

A film by Hila Peleg
"A Crime Against Art" is a film based on the trial staged at an art fair in Madrid in February 2007 organized by Anton Vidokle and Tirdad Zolghadr. Inspired by the mock trials organized by André Breton in the 1920s and 30s, it playfully raises a number of polemical issues in the world of contemporary art: collusion with the "new bourgeoisie," instrumentalization of art and its institutions, the future possibility of artistic agency, as well as other pertinent topics.

The trial begins with the assumption that a crime has been committed, yet its nature and evidence are allusive and no victims have come forward. The testimonies and cross-examinations become an attempt by the Judge (Jan Verwoert), the Prosecuters (Vasif Kortun and Chus Martinez), and the Defense Attorney (Charles Esche) to unravel the nature of the puzzling "crime against art." Set as a television courtroom drama and filmed by four camera crews, the film serial presents a condensed 100 minutes version of the trial.

Anton Vidokle and Tirdad Zolgdhar
Prosecutors: Vasif Kortun and Chus Martinez
Defense attorney: Charles Esche
Judge: Jan Verwoert
Expert witnesses: Maria Lind and Anselm Franke
Artist: Setareh Shabazi
Public: Keti Chukrov and Barnaby Drabble
With special contribution by Liam Gillick.

A Crime Against Art is based on The Trial in Madrid, February 2007
Organised by Anton Vidokle and Tirdad Zolgdhar.

Produced by unitednationsplaza studios, Berlin, 100 minutes, 2007

Hila Peleg

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