︎ Karnak’s House
Co-hosted by Muhammad Sultan
“On Ghosts, Myths and Colonialism” is a room of carefully-selected guests, set in a house that somehow has no traces on Google Maps, but has traces of a colonial history.
The main door opens to a wide central hall with doors connecting to every room. The remarkably high ceiling makes the house look vast. Down the central hall, long chests and a couch align on either side, with a round table in the middle. Stacks of untouched objects that do not seem to belong to our time rest on the chests, and moving any of them would prompt a wave of dust to float around the space. At the end of that hall lies the balcony that hosted most of the events of the day. The balcony had a bench, a table, and a small fan on one side, and a couch, and colored chairs on the other.
It seems like the house was trying to expose its spooky history to its present occupant. Karnak, our friend who was renting the house at the time, and the host of this room, had dreams about a man he believed to be an earlier tenant of the house.
In the recurring dream, a man dressed in a military uniform opens fire at others who try to escape by running away toward the balcony. On that very same balcony, we evoked the notions of ‘ghosts,’ ‘mythology,’ and ‘colonialism’ through reading Mark Fisher’s “What is Hauntology?” Moving from the balcony to the rooftop terrace, we set up the table for dinner. Later, we continued reading. We read excerpts that Sarah selected from Joseph Campbells’s Power of Myth, and shared our thoughts and reflections.
This room is part of “Chatrooms: On Curating Spaces” in collaboration with Sarah Maher. The project is supported by Mophradat and the British Council in Egypt. Photos by Eslam Abd El Salam.
Close to the main door, is a smaller hall that leads to a rooftop terrace out back. The terrace overlooks mango trees, and had long tables with benches on either side, and discarded objects, broken chairs, and dead plant pots in every corner.