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ASU student, a military veteran, seeks photos for art installation

February 07, 2011

A veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, now nearing graduation at Arizona State University, is seeking public assistance in creating a video art installation. Lyle Dillie is looking for photos of the landscape, cities and villages of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as images of explosion and war.

Dillie is a senior in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, where he expects to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary arts and performance (IAP). For his senior project he is creating a video art installation, “A Soldier Burden.”

“The project is meant to honor soldiers currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as veterans of those conflicts,” said Dillie, who was part of the initial U.S. military contingent that invaded Iraq in March of 2003.

“My goal is to depict soldiers’ simple daily struggle to deal with an unfamiliar environment and the sacrifices they make being apart from their friends and family,” he said. “By using modern personal electronic devices, I hope to highlight the extreme emotional states that flow between a soldier’s sense of duty and his or her extreme sorrow.”

“A Soldier Burden” will combine statues of soldiers with a television screen and a portable media player. The TV will display images related to war; the portable media player, held by a soldier, will show images of friends and family reflected in his desert goggles. “Through the use of technology, I want to draw a picture of the emotional journey these soldiers are going through,” Dillie explained.

The piece will be presented at the end of this semester at ArtSpace West IAP Gallery on ASU’s West campus. Details on dates and times of the exhibit will be announced at a later date.

As part of his project, Dillie also hopes to create a book showcasing the landscape of the desert and visions of war from a distance. Submitted photos may be used for the book as well as the display of photos to be shown on the installation’s TV screen.

Submissions of photos can be made online at Photos that include military equipment may be submitted as long as they do not interfere with operational security.

You can follow the progress of Dillies’ piece throughout the semester in his project blog.

Born and raised in Phoenix, Dillie is a 33-year-old Army veteran who served in two tours in Iraq in 2003 and 2005. He is married and raising three boys. Dillie is also small-business owner, operating a graphic/web design firm in metropolitan Phoenix.

Dillie is pursuing New College’s IAP degree, offered on ASU’s West campus. The degree program provides students an interdisciplinary study of the arts and digital media with an emphasis on 20th and 21st century arts, performance, technology and practice. Coursework in the program encourages practical application of theory and content-area knowledge with the integration of skills and performance.

“I already had vast knowledge in graphic design and journalism in the military,” said Dillie, “but the IAP program has expanded my knowledge and skills in theatre, film, music and the visual arts well beyond my original expectations.”

For additional details about the IAP degree and other bachelor’s and master’s degree offerings from New College, visit