‘ill’, ‘healthy’, ‘old’, and ‘young’.

Where did the sick people go? The gap between ‘ill’, ‘healthy’, ‘old’, and ‘young’ is hardly tangible yet real. The stigmatisation of care facilities, and the grouping of people based on their health, presents a world of bias.

Living in an elderly home* in Rotterdam South for over two years, Tessa Meeus researches the political context of ill bodies from within the bureaucratic structure – conversing in the garden, sleeping, and volunteering in the drawing club. It is in this complex that she experiences the victim-esque narrative that her neighbours are subjected to on a daily basis. How come this home feels like public space? What doesn’t illness mean for your personal identity? Where is the beautiful side of the much portrayed pity and drama?

Je krijgt van mij de hele dag presents a series of design interventions in the personal space of this inclusive community. By creating work with residents, and incorporating their preferences and collective memory, Meeus creates objects and spaces with personal value. Reflecting a process of design from the inside, her work goes beyond raising awareness, to transform living conditions.

*S&A is a former care home that transformed into an inclusive community. Independent residents are able to rent its vacant studios, which are no longer suitable for people requiring twenty-four-hour care. There are people from all sorts of vulnerable backgrounds living in the building’s seventy rooms: students, incapacitated people, interns. In the other 150 rooms people in need of twenty-four-hour care live.


Self initiated

‘IN/Search RE/Search: Imagining Scenarios Through Art and Design’, Gabrielle Kennedy (Valiz, 2020)
Rewriting space for a shared future, Mark Minkjan in ‘The place of birth’
The backdrop from an inside out perspective, The Biennial of Design in Ljubljana (2019)

Specs book
Digital Print Typefaces Reckless, Chap Paper Munken Polar Rough 120 grs, Linnen on Munken 300grs Printing & binding Raddraaier, Amsterdam Publisher Self published

Specs film
18 minutes conversations with Nel, Mevrouw Broere, Julian, Roos & Jannie, Cootje, Letitia, Rob, Meneer Havenaar, Arnold & Anne, Dutch with English subtitles

‘In her work, Tessa Meeus (Design Department) describes it as institutional architecture; in much of the home the lights are always on. Standardization pushes out personal stories and cultural preferences. Creating work with residents in drawing classes, she retrieved memories and aspirations by talking and sketching. Instead of focussing on life ending and mitigating misery, notions with which such homes are usually associated, Meeus organized a collective project that bore a sense of creation.’

from A place of birth, Mark Minkjan