Sint Willebrord, infamously known as Theike, is the epitome of Dutch village culture mixed with alleged criminality and strong family values. It is very homogenous; consisting mostly of caucasian, native Dutch people. They seem to strive for luxury most of all This is visible in the way people live there. There is a much higher density of swimming pools, artificial grass, tanning beds, saunas, home-gyms and bars than in any other village in the area. A large part of it said to be bought with illegal income, which may be the reason its police force is four times larger than average. People have tried to document it, but were met with resistance. It is not surprising these projects were not very successful in capturing the everyday life and ended up focussing mostly on negativity.
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SINT WILLEBRORD / THEIKE
#lifestyle "La coupe chic"
#interior "Tanning beds"
#tattoos "Wear your heart on your sleeve"
#exterior "Buxus Bush"
#interior "Rope handles"
The reluctance of the inhabitants to open up is what drove me to this place as the setting for my research model. They do have a vast and open online presence. I wondered if I would be able to show the true heart of Theike using only what they shared online.
This project is a study into a photographic and journalistic research method in the digital landscape using found footage. It tells a story of online visibility and online privacy. I always use only that which is publicly available for anyone. The fact that this project has challenged in me strong ethical debates about the content of the material is the exact thing I wish to address. I believe through the means of found footage I can show a Theike more true to nature than if I would pick up my camera and travel there myself. Using the vernacular photography of the inhabitants, I strived to create a timeless document consisting of typologies of the many aspects of life in Theike. The images are recognisable as typical Dutch and show the everyday. I ask the viewer to observe and celebrate with me.