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Per-Oskar Leu, Crisis and Critique (detail), 2012, still from the twenty-seven-minute black-and-white video component of a mixed- media installation.

Per-Oskar Leu

Triple Canopy

Per-Oskar Leu, Crisis and Critique (detail), 2012, still from the twenty-seven-minute black-and-white video component of a mixed- media installation.

If the history of the twentieth-century could be distilled to just a few key episodes, one of them might be Bertolt Brecht’s appearance before a US House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) panel in 1947. Speaking with great deliberation in his thick German accent, Brecht point by point dismantled his interrogators’ claims about the danger of his works and of “political” poetry more generally. Employing Brechtian-inspired Verfremdungseffekte, or distancing effects, Norwegian artist Per-Oskar Leu weaves a fabric of real voices and fictional characters to stage an innovative reimagining of this historic event. The twenty-seven-minute video at the core of the installation Crisis and Critique, 2012, includes audio from the HUAC testimony dubbed over appropriated footage from German-language films of the 1930s and ’40s—Fritz Lang’s M (1931) and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (

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