Henry F. kommt zu Besuch (1997) 

Automobile and Immobile

Called by the same name, referring to each other:
Ford  Eifel -  Eifel Castle (Lissingen)

In 1931 the American Ford Company, established in 1903 by Henry Ford (1863–1947), opened its German factory in Cologne, where in May, 1936, the first Eifel came off the conveyor belt. This model was the first Ford to be completed in Germany, in comliance with the national socialist government's wishes, wearing the label "Deutsches Erzeugnis" (Product of Germany) as required for domestic sales. In turn, this was based on the assumption that the automobiles were made exclusively of parts that were produced in Germany, assuring that the business was run neither by Jews nor by foreigners. Henry Ford even complied with this in that he published a number of anti-Semitic inflammatory pamphlets in 1934. Then in 1938 the high-selling Eifel underwent final phases of construction in Hungary, since the Cologne factory became dedicated to the secret contract of producing Ford 1500 trucks for the vehement armament of the German military, later being classified as "strategic" operation which played a significant role in German war mongering. Ford continued to build "Eifel" models even after World War II. Such an automobile is the main protagonist in Johansson's music project "Henry F. kommt zu Besuch" (Henry F. Pays a Visit), whereas it remains open whether the name of Henry F. indicates the company founder or his grandson of the same name. Henry Ford II (1917–1987) ran the business from 1945 until his death, yet the concretization of  persona plays no further role due to the continuity of industrial operation – instead, it might even sharpen the double entendre of the encounter between Eifel (geographic region) and Eifel (automobile). The score for the piece's realization reads now like an absurd story.

Stefan Fricke
from "Die Automobilstücke von Sven-Åke Johansson"

SÅJ opens the gate


The Ford Eifel drives in


Henry F. goes to the door bell


Henry F. leaves the castle