What is courage? Over four years, Kleinberg posed this question to dozens of people, from the arts, politics, science and the street. “Fear Not” is an installation piece of audio interviews linked to a succession of still images that she took or chose after the interviews. Her interviews of Italians, in Italian, is a separate piece, "Non Temere." Both premiered at the Venice Biennale 2001 in the Arsenale.
What is courage? Susan Kleinberg posed this question to dozens of people from the arts, politics, science and everyday life. The responses, elicited in conversation with the artist, are singular and unexpected. The voices are heard through headphones, hanging from the high ceiling in the Arsenale. Along one wall, conversations in English, and along the other a different group in Italian. Flat screens embedded in the walls project a sequence of still images of each person and/or their environment as they speak, i.e. Cong. John Lewis in his office with potent mementos of the march in Selma...
The images, in most cases photographs taken by the artist, provide not only visual reference and augmentation, but a landscape of context. Overhead, a weaving DNA-like canopy of light filament connects us to the rope-making history of the Corderie as well as to the weave of texture and substance in the progression of the conversations.
The conversations run in seriously considered sequence on a continuous loop. Each exists individually, but grows or is challenged by the next. The result is operatic, a collective epic, a document of our times. The question, "What is Courage?" functions as a key to a further realm of interaction between the people and Ms. Kleinberg. What we hear is the result of an assault, a gentle assault, but an assault nonetheless on social convention, restriction, exposure. Each conversation is an essential portrait. We come to know these people, and Ms. Kleinberg, through her choices, thought after thought, and locate ourselves in relation to them.
It is a piece about perception -- not only how we perceive, but that we perceive. The technology involved exists only to serve this purpose. It is material, as in Ms. Kleinberg's paintings, forming a work stripped of irony or obfuscation, a straight shot at a core investigation.