2020

Installation of 5 Posters at the fishery in Ostend

This project is based on the stories of Miete Delanghe. They say she was a witch who lived in Ostend. Folk stories about her state that she possessed the power to curse women, seduce men and bewitch children. Upon further research I discovered that she was a fish vendor. The fishery industry, even today, is still led by many different superstitions such as the one that a woman on a ship means bad luck. 

One of the stories about her describes how she worked as a cleaning lady in a printing house, where she learned the meaningless Latin Lorem Ipsum script. One day she was begging for food by the Ostend fishery and started shouting these Latin words at the fishers pretending she was cursing them. They went to sea without feeding her and never returned, which is how Miete Delanghe earned her reputation as a witch. From then on, fishermen would feed her to avoid bad luck at sea. 

Miete Delanghe supposedly lived towards the end of the 1800's. Witch hunts had come to an end in Belgium, but general fear of witches had and has not disappeared. She was a widow who lived alone, it was not uncommon at that time for women in her situation to be described as a witch. What is apparent on the Lorem Ipsum story, is that she took the power of this accusation into her own hands. She embraced her reputation in order to receive fish from the fishermen who feared her. 

In order to bring this story back to the present I created Lorem Ipsum posters and hung them at the locations where she supposedly bewitched the fishermen. This is an ode to Miete Delanghe.

See also: they say she was - Artist Conversation with Erien Withouck

Erien Withouck