Raoul Audouin

It takes strong winds to rouse a ghost

Did you, as I did when I first reached Het HEM, feel the strong winds that always blow on the banks of the North Sea Canal?

“It takes strong winds to rouse a ghost” is a series of kites built from discarded screen printing meshes.

In the summer of 2020, el-Sisi’s government banned Kites in Egypt after these had become commonplace in the skies of Cairo. The city’s youth, gathering on rooftops to escape the confinement, had made flying kites a favorite pastime. These unruly flying posters must have been considered a threat by the military. It distantly reminded me of the “défense d’afficher” (posters prohibited) that I could often read in the streets of Paris.

Confined in Het HEM with closed workshops and closed exhibition spaces but with an access to the rooftop and an eagerness to “go out of my room” I started to build similar flying posters. Outside, they could be flown and exhibited, in groups, and could be seen from far away. As “flags higher than a flag” they would also mark our shy presence in the temporarily silent Het HEM.

The nylon mesh used in screen printing (or serigraphy, “writing with silk”) replicates the properties of silk out of which kites were originally built. To use as a fabric for kites, I collected discarded meshes from local screen printing studios. On these meshes are inscribed leftover traces of each image that has been printed with them. These traces that together draw a panorama of what has been screen printed locally during the year are knows as “ghost images”.