10 January 2020


The long-term projects of photographer and filmmaker Jan Locus study the complexity of worldwide, socio-political issues. His books include Mongolia, De Bewegende Stad and Devoted. His films have been screened at IFFR Rotterdam (NL), DokFest Kassel (DE), Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (DE), Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin (FR/DE), Asolo Art Film Festival (IT), Split International Festival of New Film (HR) and FIFA Montreal (CA) among others. He lives and works in Brussels.


Murmur (2019), The Distance Between Us (2017), Confusing Drum (2016)


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 received ‘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) is an exploration of the dawn at the swamp of Ganshoren, the last bit of swamp in Brussels. The film has been realised in a collaboration with sound artist Stijn Demeulenaere. Murmur won the second prize at The Engine Room International Sound Art Competition, London (UK) and world premiered at IFFR Rotterdam (2020).

(Sofie Crabbé)


  • 2020 Asolo Art Film Festival, Asolo (IT)
  • 2020 ARKIPEL International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, Jakarta (ID)
  • 2020 So Far/ So Close (solo) Schönfeld Gallery, Rivoli building, Brussels (BE)
  • 2020 FIFA, International Festival of Films on Art, Montreal (CA)
  • 2020 Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin, Paris (FR)

2020 IFFR, International Film Festival Rotterdam (NL)
2020 Schönfeld Gallery, Brussels (BE)
2019 VIDEO BAR, On Screen Writing, ARGOS, Brussels (BE)
2019 IKLECTIK Art Lab, London (UK)
2019 51. Ausstellungsprojekt, Kunstverein: projektraum-bahnhof25, Kleve (DE)
2019 Photobook Belge, FOMU, Antwerp (BE)
2018 International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (DE)
2018 IFFR, International Film Festival Rotterdam (NL)
2018 De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam (NL)
2018 Un|settled EXPO, KAAP, Ostend (BE)
2018 EUROVIDEO, European Videoart Festival, Liege (BE)
2018 Symposium, ISELP, Brussels (BE)
2017 DOKfest, Kassel (DE)
2017 COM NU TIES, ARGOS & ISELP, Brussels (BE)
2015 Brugge Foto Festival (BE)
2013 Devoted, Kadoc, Leuven (BE)
2012 Devoted, Museum Dr. Guislain Gent (BE)
2011 Flanders Gallery International House, Osaka (JP)
2011 In The Margin, Belgian Documentary Photography, Guislain Museum, Ghent (BE)
2011 BELvue museum & Royal Palace, Brussels (BE)
2010 BELvue museum & Royal Palace, Brussels (BE)
2009 Work in progress, Nadaar, KASK, Ghent (BE)
2008 Traces of Devotion, Provinciehuis Louvain (BE)
2008 Kulturpolis, Poznan (PL)
2007 Noorderlicht International Photo Manifestation Groningen (NL)
2006 7 Photographers & 1 Smits, Jakob Smitsmuseum, Mol (BE)
2005 Mongolia, book presentation & exhibition, FOMU, Antwerp (BE)
2003 Agfa Internationaler Preis Für Jungen Bildjournalismus (DE)


2019 Second prize, The Engine Room, London (UK)
2018 Found Footage Award, nominee IFFR Rotterdam (NL)
2016 Project Grant, Flemish Community Commission, Brussels (BE)
2016 Project Grant, Fonds Pascal Decroos The Distance Between Us (BE)
2015 Grant, Flanders Audiovisual Fund, VAF (BE)
2011 Project Grant, Pascal Decroos Fund for Investigative Journalism (BE)
2010 Nikon Press Award Stories: Garbage City (BE)
2010 Project Grant, Pascal Decroos Fund for Investigative Journalism (BE)
2009 Project Grant, Pascal Decroos Fund for Investigative Journalism (BE)
2006 Plantin-Moretus Award (BE)
2004 Project Grant, Spes, Belgian Foundation to support creation (BE)
2003 Laureate Internationaler Preis Für Jungen Bildjournalismus (DE)
2001 Project Grant, Pascal Decroos for Special Journalistic Projects (BE)
1998 Laureate BP Young European Artists contest (BE)
1998 Laureate Prix National Photographie Ouverte (BE)
1995 Laureate Internationaler Preis Für Jungen Bildjournalismus (G)
1995 Laureate Prix Kodak & Photographies Magazine (Fr)
1995 Grant Fondation Belge de la Vocation (BE)
1994 Kodak European Panorama Award (Fr)
1994 Nikon-Agfa Portrait Award Benelux (BE)


2012 Devoted, Lannoo
2005 Mongolia, FOMU, Museum for Photography Antwerp & Cypres
1997 De Bewegende Stad, FOMU, Museum for Photography Antwerp


Argos, Brussels (BE)
FOMU, Museum for Photography Antwerp (BE)
Musée de la Photographie Charleroi (BE)
Hasselblad, Gothenburg (S)
ING Bank, Brussels (BE)
Gands, Antwerp (BE)
Museum Dr. Guislain Gent (BE)


2013 European Parliament, Act React Impact campaign, Agency Ogilvy, Bucharest, Barcelona, Brussels
2012 Architectural Review Flanders, Radical Commonplaces, European Architectures from Flanders. VAI
2008 Traces of Devotion, Processions in Flanders, Documentary Assignment for Kadoc, Louvain
2004 Overwerk(t) in de actieve welvaartstaat, Documentary Assignment for KU Leuven
2001 Dam, The Slaughterhouse, Documentary Assignment for the City of Antwerp
1997 De Bewegende Stad, Documentary Assignment, FOMU, Museum for Photography, Antwerp


2017 Bloedbanden, The Distance Between Us, dS Weekblad
2017 The Distance Between Us, Weliswaar
2015 Te propere projecten? Ooggetuige, De Standaard
2015 Growing Pains, Mongolia in crisis, Lensculture
2014 Groeipijngrens, Mongolië, dS Weekblad
2013 Garbage City, dS Weekblad
2013 Garbage City, SamPol
2012 Garbage City, Private Photo Review Magazine
2012 Jezus leeft, dS Weekblad
2012 Devoted, SHOOT Magazine
2012 Voyeur bij God, De Morgen
2012 Ma province hors cliché, Le Vif weekend
2012 Vroeger is een ander land, Psychologies
2012 Architectuurboek Vlaanderen N°10, VAI
2010 Facing Brussels, Moments in a metropolis, BAI & Nadaar
2010 De afvalfamilies van Caïro, Weliswaar
2011 In De Marge, De Morgen Cultuur
2011 In The Margin, Belgian Documentary Photography, Lannoo
2011 Nee Sabo is Mauro niet, Brussel Deze Week
2010 Facing Brussels, Brussel Deze Week
2010 Facing Brussels, Knack
2010 De naakte Mohammed, Weliswaar
2009 Building a fair world, Mali, Catalogus BTC
2009 De nieuwe daklozen van Amerika, De Tijd
2009 De nieuwe daklozen van Amerika, Weliswaar
2008 The Holy Land Experience, De Standaard
2008 Traces of Devotion, Processions in Flanders, published by Kadoc
2008 De hemel in tegenlicht, OKV, Openbaar Kunstbezit Vlaanderen
2007 Act of Faith, Catalogus, Noorderlicht festival
2005 Tussen tent en flat, Mongolië, Brussel Deze Week
2005 Hoe Marx en Lenin om de tuin werden geleid, DS Magazine
2002 De passie en de pijn, Genieten
2001 God in Cuba, Expres
2001 De wereldkampioenen van Blackpool, De Morgen
2001 Lalibela, Ethiopië, FOTO
2001 De Antwerpse slachthuiswijk, De Morgen
2000 Dromen met harde vuisten, Cuba, Expres
2000 Children of our Time, Hasselblad
1999 De bewegende stad, FOTO
1999 Les yeux virils des descendants de Genghis Khan, Le Matin
1999 Greyhound Races in London, De Morgen
1999 IJzerbedevaart, De Morgen
1998 The twilight zone, The Bulletin
1998 De bewegende stad, Kontakt
1998 Het dodenhuis in de bergen, Mongolië, De Morgen
1998 Koffiepauze aan de vooravond, Lissabon, De Morgen
1998 Oceanen van devotie en vodka, Mongolië, De Morgen
1997 De metropool vierkant en bewogen, De Morgen
1996 Le Sinn Féin va aux urnes à reculons, Belfast, Libération
1996 Blackpool, proletariërs in plaats van parasols, De Morgen
1996 Een voetreis naar de hemel, De Morgen
1996 Mariaverering in Vlaanderen en Polen, FOTO
1995 Internationaler Preis Für jungen Bildjournalismus, Catalogus
1995 Dakloos in Brussel, DS Magazine
1995 Laat ons onder uw mantel staan, DS Magazine