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Road to War | Dr. Suzanne Steele

  • Penticton Art Gallery 199 Marina Way Penticton, BC, V2A 1H3 Canada (map)

Road to War | Dr. Suzanne Steele
Bench 1775 Gallery

“... wars’ dragonflies

lapus lazuli, gossy gold, the fuse”

Excerpt from SMSteele's 24 hrs

Entering the war zone, knowing death is possible at any second, hyper-sensuality is on the hot plate. No need for pinches to remind oneself of being alive. Conversely, one may dull down with sleep deprivation, depression, illness, or boredom.

And war is a strange story to tell, for its commonalities as a public narrative, its clichés, and paradoxically, the uniqueness of the individual's experience. This installation, Road to War, is designed to reflect the destabilization of perception in the war zone, the common experience, and the personal. It is an invitation to choose a war experience by embracing silence, ambient sound, or the mediated narrative of Steele's poetry as spoken by actors and voice-overs. The footage was shot from 2008-2009, in situ, at Suffield, Wainwright, Shilo, Kandahar Airfield, and Bulunday (Kandahar Province), outside the wire, with the First Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and Task Force 3-09.

Road to War
is a 15 minute video installation projected onto three video screens, each featuring the same imagery, but staggered by a few seconds. One of the videos is silent, another has ambient sound, and the third has ambient sound and professional actors reading Dr. Suzanne Steele’s poetry. This installation is designed to reflect the destabilization of perception in the war zone, the common experience, and the personal.


Dr. Suzanne Steele is Métis from the Gaudry/Fayant family, a family that traces its roots to the first families of our nation, and she has taught Métis cultural history. Her work has been broadcast, studied, and presented internationally. She has spoken at Oxford, St Andrews, Amiens, and many more locations at festivals and conferences. Steele has a PhD in War Narrative Studies and Ethics from the University of Exeter (UK), her undergraduate degree is in Music (voice) from UBC, and she has a Master of Library and Information Sciences from the University of Western Ontario. A recipient of a Canada Council 150 New Chapter Award, she is currently writing a new opera on Louis Riel with composer Neil Weisensel.

Opening Reception | September 20 from 7:00-9:00pm

Artist Talk + Tour | September 21 from 1:00-2:00pm