Maria Kapteijns

grafiek – beeldende kunst 

Friendly Fire

Een project over de manier waarop de vernietiging van de stad Eindhoven in de Tweede Wereldoorlog wordt afgebeeld: semiotiek en de rol van PR.

Verwoeste steden
In 2014 brandde mijn studio af. Ik slaagde erin om het merendeel van mijn zinken platen terug te vinden, maar natuurlijk was alles ernstig beschadigd en aangetast door vuur en water.

Friendly Fire, de tentoonstelling
(technische ondersteuning: Valentijn Dijkmeijer)
Voor een tentoonstelling in 2017 met de titel Friendly Fire, drukte ik alle verbrande platen af die de stad Eindhoven afbeeldden, als metafoor voor hoe steden door de eeuwen heen vernietigd worden. In het geval van Eindhoven werd het gebombardeerd door onze bondgenoten tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog, vandaar de titel Friendly Fire. Er is een schokkende PR-video te zien op YouTube (Sinterklaasbombardement), waarin de Royal Air Force trots dit bombardement laat zien als bewijs van hun vaardigheden. In werkelijkheid was de stad ernstig beschadigd en het doelwit (de Philips radiofabriek) staat nog steeds tot op de dag van vandaag.

Tijdens de tentoonstelling werden de afdrukken van de beschadigde stad vergezeld door de soundtrack en de tekst van het Sinterklaasbombardement. Valentijn Dijkmeijer programmeerde een Raspberry Pi om constant de soundtrack van de YouTube-video af te spelen.

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.