1968 · Belgium
Photographer and filmmaker Jan Locus’s long-term projects study the complexity of worldwide, socio-political issues. Since 1997 Jan Locus has travelled regularly to Mongolia. After seventy years of socialism and the fall of communism, he observes how people attempt to build a new life for themselves. Without pathos, the photos in the book Mongolia (2005) show the difficult conditions in towns and mining industry, and the hard life in the vast steppes.Mongolia has recieved ‘The Plantin Moretus Award’ and was selected for ‘Photobook Belge’, a publication and exhibition by FOMU, Photo Museum Antwerp (2019). Often Locus’s work focuses — either directly or indirectly — on religion and problems that relate to it. In his book Devoted (2012) for example, he shows all sorts of expressions of Christian faith: from pilgrims in Spain and Poland to ecstatic worshippers in Mexico. Garbage City (2013), Locus’s first film, shows various positions with regard to the different ways of treating rubbish and the miserable living conditions in (the outskirts of) Cairo. Garbage City combines long shots of scrapheaps, compressed plastic and hard-working labourers with the sound of rattling machines, cars hooting and pigeons cooing. Locus’s often subtle soundtrack has a prominent part in other works as well. Confusing Drum (2016) uses drum-rolls and voice-overs — opinions and political statements by locals — to talk about the deep-rooted conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. Confusing Drum premiered at DokFest Kassel (2017). In The Distance between Us (2017) the soundtrack plays once more a crucial part. It mixes religious songs and emotionally charged messages from a Moroccan mother to her two sons in Molenbeek, who belong to the first generation of immigrants. For this soundtrack, the artist uses found footage: he uses a few rare cassette tapes that served as alternative correspondence. The Distance between Us premiered at IFFR Rotterdam (2018) and was nominated for the Found Footage Award at IFFR. Murmur (2019), a collaboration with sound artist Stijn Demeulenaere won the second prize at The Engine Room International Sound Art Competition, London (UK) and world premiered at IFFR Rotterdam (2020).