Little Breeze, 2002-2004 Mixed media installation
• 16 vintage suitcases, 8 embedded with electronics
• Specially designed projection screen structure
• 8’ x 6’ video projection screen
• Video projector connected to an Apple G4 computer
• G4 computer running SoftVNS and MAX software
• Webcam, audio amplifier and speakers, G4 computer running MAX
Little Breeze examines the experiences of women who worked in Occupied France during WWII for the Special Operations Executive (SOE), a branch of British intelligence. It centres on British agent Violette Szabo (code named “Louise”). At the age of 23, Szabo was sent on two missions. She was captured and executed just a few months before the end of the war.
The exhibition invites us to remember the experiences of women spies whose contributions to the war effort might seem inconsequential, rather than notorious female agents like Mata Hari or fictional “James Bond” femme fatales.
In the exhibition catalogue, Robert Bean writes, “The black and white film clips from the 1958 film Carve Her Name With Pride are artifacts of a British cinematic tradition associated with the National Heritage during and immediately after World War II. … It was during this period … that the genre of the ‘woman’s film’ emerged in Great Britain. These films provided a highly successful form of commercial entertainment that coincided with the public and private lives of women in the work force.”
Little Breeze engages us in active remembrance, encouraging viewers to become participants in the gathering of audio information and the decoding of video images. Using both archival documents and popular film, these elements are installed in a critical context as they relate to the lives of women, and the ways they are or are not represented in mainstream media.
Originally produced in 2002 as a co-production with the Banff Centre for the Arts.