Roped painting - July 2002

Ben and his friends organized a street party in Delfshaven. Not just an ordinary party, no, they transformed the street into a park by covering it with grass. In the evening they would be showing a film. Jan van der Meulen and I got the task of making a film screen.

We were asked to paint one wall white (the houses were to be demolished anyway). The wall would be used as a projection screen as soon as darkness fell. But it was not that easy. Fortunately I had Jan to assist me with the techniques and give me moral support.
We entered through the door of a dark Turkish coffeshop. The owner let us out at the back on the first floor. We climbed over to the balcony of the neighboring house. It's the one with the white balcony. We opened the door of the empty house and entered the dark stairway. I didn't have a flashlight and had to feel my way. Then Jan opened a roof window and said "And there was light".

We climbed the crumbling roof tiles to the top of the roof. Here we slung a rope around the chimney and descended to the roofs of the lower houses. That's me on the right - I'm impersonating Santa Claus.

I'll never forget the feel and sound of all those tiles that I broke scrambling from one triangular roof to the other. I had put on wrong slippery shoes. Fortunately Tomas was down there and he brought me my climbing shoes from my car. The last few rooftops, and rotting wooden gutters I was secured by Jan. This was reassuring.

Notice below - the grass that was laid over the road surface.


These two picture were made by Ben.

The Jan set up the ropes. He did it professionally. We both got two ropes. One to rappell from, and the other as a backup. If one rope would slip or brerak, then we would not fall. I messed up my rope setup, my prussik knot got stuck and I had a lot of trouble freeing myself. When I got myself loose Jan had already painted a few meters. Then I came to help. It was surprisingly easy to paint hanging on a rope. We used paint rollers. By swinging from side to side you got extra reach to left and right.

I was relieved when I reached solid ground. Then Jan used his ascenders to go back to the roof. He set up his own rappel and landed safely.

Here you see the result of our labours. The white are on the right. Notice all the old roofs that we had to cross to get there.

The pictures are bad, I only had a primitive pocket camera with me.

Look again at the nice white area.

By now all these houses have been demolished. Only those photographs remain.

Jan van de Meulen
Urban Adventure Home
Petr Kazil 2003