As legend goes the small area called 'meetjesland' got its name through the sexual appetite of Emperor Charles V. When the people in the area received word that the emperor would pass through, women and daughters stayed inside out of fear to be taken. Upon seeing only old women walking the streets, Charles V baptized the area 'old women's land', het meetjesland.Though the credibility of this fable is questionable, it made me wonder about the oldest generation in the area I grew up in. In the old —gendered— task-division, how has this generation of women shaped my youth and influenced my ideologies as a young man?As an architecture student, I was lucky enough to study and work in different parts of the world. I saw beautiful, dark, muddy and vibrant places, all of which seemed more interesting than the flat mountains of my backyard. The question of a ‘home’ surged as my understating of the concept was displaced and morphed into new shapes. Now I am trying to rediscover my roots through these seniors, the people that know the most about my first home.'Meetjes' tries to understand the identity of a region through its oldest female inhabitants. The war generation is slowly disappearing, and so are their stories. Although most women led a life in the background at that time —and still do—, yet some are unmistakenly strong-willed. Through conversations, spacial and photographic analyses I try to understand how this generation has put its mark on the region and the effects I have felt throughout my childhood. 'Meetjes' is about feminism, regional identity, walking aids, sex, grief, beauty, death and coffee with cookies. But most of all it is an ode to all grandmothers and their unconditional love. Beauty and powerful stories are everywhere if you know how to look for them. That is no different in het meetjesland, it is a pleasure to discover what I already knew, and with it a whole new world.
The Jean-Jacques Collective grew as a remembrance to past days when both brothers were leaders in the Chiro
(a Flemish movement that aims to support young people in their physical,
mental and spiritual development through play and being outdoors).
Even though Jannes, Simen and Helena were schooled in different fields,
a passion for eco-politics advocated through storytelling and photography, connected them.
They believe that to induce long-term change within any given society, which is stabilized by a committed government,
is to persuade that same government to change their policies. Top-down and bottom-up models in a necessary equilibrium.
Where both the people and whoever represents them find each other in a poised climate.
They advocate dignity through design and beauty, and capture time unfiltered and honest.
Moreover, Jean-Jacques Collective is a free space for creativity, we design, build, curate, photograph and write,
always trying to find common ground to work on. We strongly support the interchange of ideas between different fields.
It is on this cross-section that JJC really thrives. We are not one, we are a collection of many things.