This deck of cards refers to the events surrounding the crash of an American bomber in a Sheffield Park. They are also a meditation on the site today and the way in which the events of 50 years ago live on in the collective memory. I cannot now visit the site and see it as just a piece of woodland. The knowledge of what happened there is inextricably linked with the way in which I perceive the site. The imagery on the cards comes both from history and the contemporary, from the crash and the surrounding area. Walking through the park today many natural and man-made items are found. The aluminium ringpull from drinks cans is perhaps the commonest man-made object found and this contemporary twisted metal became for me a sort of metaphor for the twisted metal which would have been present 50 years ago. The ringpull is a recurring theme in the cards. The Eight of Clubs Eight of ClubsEight of Spadesshows examples found in Endcliffe Park, while other cards, for example the Eight of Spades show a stereotyped version. I speculated that maybe the metal from the plane, through various stages of recycling had once more come to be among the trees in Endcliffe Wood and this notion is referred to on the Jack of Clubs and Seven of Spades. Jack of ClubsSeven of SpadesThe idea of transformation and metamorphosis also appears in the Ten of Clubs, Seven of Hearts, Eight of Hearts and the Jokers.Ten of ClubsSeven of HeartsWhilst metal ringpulls are the commonest man-made object in the park, leaves are the commonest natural object and feature in various forms in a number of the cards. The neighbourhood of the crash, then as now, is a residential area. The stylised 'safe' suburban house image is a reminder that the plane narrowly avoided these houses. The bombed version of this archetypal house is a reminder that the actual purpose of the bomber was destroy property. In contrast to the pictographic representation of the houses, actual photographs or parts of photographs feature on the King of Diamonds and Queen of HeartsKing of DiamondsQueen of Hearts. Contemporary newspaper stories are quoted on the Jack of Diamonds and the Jack of SpadesJack of DiamondsJack of Spades. The pilot was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Jack of Hearts carries an extract from his citation.Jack of HeartsThe Two of Spades shows the rooftops over which the plane flew and the medal that the pilot received for avoiding them. The Two of Diamonds and the Two of Hearts show maps of the start and finish respectively of the crews' last mission. Two of SpadesTwo of DiamondsTwo of HeartsOn that same day 38 Flying Fortresses were lost, this is recorded on the Nine of Diamonds. Each plane had a crew of ten, the names of the crew of the Mi Amigo are shown on the Ten of Spades, which takes the form of a Royal Observer Corp. silhouette chart. The Ten of Hearts includes tiny photographs of the ten airmen. Nine of DiamondsTen of SpadesTen of HeartsSingle photos of the crew also appear on the Six of Clubs, Four of Clubs, Three of Clubs, Six of Spades, Four of Spades and Six of Diamonds. Six of ClubsTwo of DiamondsThree of ClubsSix of SpadesFour of SpadesSix of DiamondsSeven of DiamondsMaps play a vital role in any journey but in a bombing campaign can also take on the function of death warrant to those on the ground in the target area. I also find maps interesting for their aesthetic appeal. The Queen of Spades and the Queen of Diamonds include maps of Sheffield and Germany respectively. The map reference for the crash site, SK329858 was the title of a body of work shown at the Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield at the time of the 50th anniversary. This map reference appears on the Ten of Diamonds and the Ace of Spades. Aerial photography was an important part of a bombing campaign. Automatic cameras were mounted on the aeroplanes in order to record the results of the bombardment. The images on the Ace of Clubs and the Queen of Spades could be such photographs. Queen of SpadesQueen of DiamondsTen of DiamondsAce of SpadesAce of ClubsUnlike a conventional pack of cards in which the backs are all identical, this pack can be arranged into six groups of nine cards which each form a simple jigsaw pattern recalling the overall theme of the pack. The list of names is based on the real names of the crew but becomes increasingly distorted, an echo of the way in which memories may become distorted with time. Finally the peanut on the Nine of Hearts refers to the crews' mascot, a small dog of that name. Nine of Heartsreverse of cardreverse of cardreverse of cardreverse of cardreverse of card

The cards come in a box with an introductory booklet, which includes the text above, and an introduction 'Les jeux sont fetes' by Sharon Kivland.

I feel as though I should lay my cards on the table. In so declaring, I want you to know this is not just a rather obvious pun, reflecting precisely what you may have already done, or intend to do, or be in the course of doing. It is true though that there is something about this work that provokes word play, bad jokes, witticisms and other mannered slips of the tongue. But it is more than merely playful; subsequently after snickering or groaning (the way one so often responds to puns), something is brought into play that perturbs, disturbs, and something else is lost. A memory trace lingers, troubles on the edge of consciousness without ever quite coming into view.
If I were indeed to do as I declare, if I were to lay out all these cards, those which you may have shuffled and dealt, if I was to examine them as closely as the writing of an introduction demands, perhaps this thing or other that persists in eluding, or more deliberately, evading me would reveal itself. This might occur in the same way that the past and future show themselves to those initiated in the skills of certain kinds of reading in other layouts of cards in which I am only partially competent. I am more adept in other modes of interpretation (it might be called prediction). Before you protest however that this is only a game, just one of unserious play, and that to make too much of it would spoil the fun, I must protest in my turn - after you. Freud's own jokebook, 'Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious' has served as the best illustration that his particular achievement was his discovery that the unconscious is structured like a language.
In laying out my cards (I'm dealer here), I have nonetheless lost the rules of the game, and it is quickly apparent that a problem of translation might arise without them. The carefully coded images of each card, sign system of interpretation, do not appear to have a key, or at least not a key that will allow dual entry. An abstract system of rules is encoded, in which one's mastery of meaning may be explained, as much as the more easily recognisable account of the facts of play, those recommendations for use which are, in fact, the rules (and anything dealt outside of these would, of course, be cheating).
The history that is the ostensible reason for this deck of cards is accountable, and there is no metaphorical intention. It is true (the documentation supports this) that on 22nd February 1944 an American B17 Flying Fortress Bomber crash landed in Endcliffe Park in Sheffield (a memorial plaque attests to this) and that all crew members were killed. Neither this pack of cards nor I, set up a possibility that a lost presence will, can be retrieved. To a certain extent, these cards may equally perform the role of memorial, but this is not their sole intention, and fiction has intervened in defiance of convention. As you play the game, following your own rules in the absence of other adequate provision, you may follow, for example the transformations of planes into the ringpulls of cans, of leaves into hearts, of cities into devastated ruins ('Leipzig does not exist'). Images will always turn into other images, just as words will turn into other words, resistant, finally to rules.
Sharon Kivland 1994
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