On May 5th, 2010, Liberation Day, two airplanes were circling above the center of Amsterdam for the duration of four hours. The banners, attached behind the planes, featured the texts ‘BE FREE!’ and ‘OR ELSE…’ These sentences addressed the paradoxical nature of the concept of freedom in our society, in which it has increasingly assumed a fundamentalist character, and can therefore best be interpreted as the mandatory ‘Be free!’
Additionally, the work addressed the representation of freedom. Since September 11, 2001, the blue sky and the two airplanes have lost their meaning as signs of liberty in an emancipatory sense, and have instead become associated with imminent threat and sudden eruptions of (terrorist) violence and subsequent military invasion and occupation. Further, the project juxtaposes two forms of propaganda: a historical one represented by the airplanes and their banners, and a hybrid, contemporary version represented by the massive consumerist event of Liberation Day.
Jonas Staal (artist), Jan de Bruin (filmmaker), Lotte Stekelenburg (photographer)
Partizan Publik, Amsterdam
Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK), The Netherlands Foundation for Art, Design and Architecture (BKVB)