St Valentine’s Day Firestorm

Company Name: Welfare State International

In 1968, Welfare State organised a public dance which was interrupted by a re-creation of the Dresden bombing.

John Fox in Engineers of the Imagination:

‘It seemed morally satisfied to remind and shock an audience … after all the British had killed more at Dresden than were killed at Hiroshima … and poetically it was appealing … there was a carnival on in Dresden at the time. So out came the imagery and the thunder flashes. Boggle-eyed, green lit airmen in flying helmets appeared over balconies. A parachuting harlequin leapt from the roof. Men in white coats collecting her body. They sprayed disinfectant over a dozen large papier-mache clown heads bouncing on the spring floor. They collected the corpses. A thousand paper hearts fluttering from the ceiling. (Parodying poppies in the Albert Hall [on Remembrance Day], they contained the facts of the raid). With the sirens and the smoke, and the unprecedented attack, the audience were hysterical and nearly panicked totally.
I don’t believe anymore that you can do things that way.
You become part of the problem and not part of the solution.
There has to be another way.
The occasion for provocation has to be picked with care. The possibility for healing must be looked at first. The spectacle must be a vehicle for change.’ (Reproduced here courtesy of John Fox)

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