A project around the way the destruction of the city of Eindhoven in World War II is depicted: semiotics and the role of PR.
In 2014 my studio burned down. I managed to retrace the majority of my zinc plates, but of course everything was severely damaged and corroded by fire and water.
Friendly Fire, the exhibition,
(technical support: Valentijn Dijkmeijer)
For an exhibition in 2017 with the title Friendly Fire, I printed all the burned plates which depicted the city of Eindhoven, as a metaphor for how cities are destroyed through the centuries. In the case of Eindhoven it was being bombed by our allies during World War II, hence the title Friendly Fire. There is a shocking PR-video to be seen on YouTube (Sinterklaasbombardement), in which the Royal Air Force proudly shows this bombardment, as a proof of their skills. In reality the city was severely damaged, the target (the Philips radio factory) still stands. till today.
During the exhibition the prints of the damaged city were accompanied by the soundtrack and the text of the Sinterklaasbombardement. Valentijn Dijkmeijer programmed a Raspberry Pi to play the soundtrack of the YouTube video constantly.
In 2014 is mijn atelier afgebrand, naast een hele hoop ellende heeft het ook werk opgeleverd. De afbeeldingen zijn foto's van geordende en gesorteerde restanten, een vogelperspectief-collage van de puinhopen en foto's van een expositie in Heerlen waar naast foto's ook enkele vitrinekasten met verbrandde spullen gestaan hebben onder de titel PYROARCHEOMATA. De grote fotocollage heeft in 2015 in Den Haag in het Gemeentemuseum gehangen bij de zomerexpositie met als thema Woest.
Tekst van het propagandafilmpje van de Royal Air Force over het Sinterklaasbombardement in 1942
Nearly a hundred light bombers were detailed for one special objective, in a 600 plane daylight raid over enemy occupied Europe. The bombers chosen were the newest and fastest, the famous Boston, new American built Venturas, the RAF wonder plane the Mosquito. Sixty miles inside the Dutch coast was the largest radio factory in Europe, working for Germany. This is it, the huge Philips radiovalve works in Eindhoven, which you will recognize later, as you fly up to it. Fifteen thousand employees were engaged in this factory, no need to emphasize the vital importance of radio to the German war effort. But now those hundred bombers and their crews are going out to deal one more heavy blow at Hitlers fading hopes on victory. Each man and each crew knows exactly what he’s got to do. Mosquitos airborne. Venturas airborne. Crossing the coast, they are setting a cracking pace, heading for Holland Now we’re up with the leading Bostons, over the North Sea. The Dutch coast. The camera which takes you on this dramatic dashes in the second Boston, weaving ahead towards the target is the Boston piloted by the squadrons commander. He’ll be first over the target. That’s it, That’s the Philips works ahead. German MTM Aircraft gunners are opening fire, the bombers machine gun back at them. Our two leading Bostons have gone right over them, dropped their bombs. Following the Boston Venturas, the Mosquitos coming higher. In this dramatic scene, the film has got damaged, but it gives a wonderful pilots eye view of the great scene of destruction. Bombload after bombload went right down on the bull. Not a shadow of doubt, that radio factory got a terrific pasting. All this shattering devastation took place in four minutes. Now the journey home, though not all of them came back. Twelve of our aircrafts were lost, but that great factory went completely of the market. So they returned to base and you can see the hail of gunfire they went through to get their target. This was that leading Boston. A Ventura was hit so badly you can scarcely believe the evidence that it did get home. But look at these still photographs, taken by a cameraman in another of the raving aircrafts. Four minutes of concentrated bombardments did this. And this. But notice that the houses on the foreground are untouched. This longshot with the name of Philips in the front. And this. On returning of the raid, one observer said: It was the most magnificent bombing he’d ever seen. And we say we always knew we had the most magnificent airforce.