UPDATE: In December, Boom and Pierets shared some devastating news with their family and friends: the day after their fourth wedding in Paris, Boom was admitted to the hospital on account of dizzy spells. After numerous tests and scans, doctors determined that she has multiple brain tumors and that there is little that can be done. Furthermore, a close friend of the couple tells The Knot, their insurance will only cover hospital costs and not palliative care.
After Pierets shared the sad news to her Facebook page, those close to the couple decided to find a way to help, launching a Go Fund Me page to help raise money for Boom’s care in the remaining days of her life. Anyone able and wanting to donate can find more information at the link above.
ORIGINAL STORY: It’s not quite a honeymoon, but it’s still got all the love and excitement of one! Julian P. Boom and Fleur Pierets are about to embark on a year-long journey that will not only positively impact their own marriage, but hopefully those of couples around the world as well.
The artistic duo, who are also a queer couple, will kick off their project, “22,” this fall, with the intention of having a wedding in two dozen countries around the world to bring awareness to gender and marriage inequality worldwide. The pair, who create art under the joint name J.F. Pierets, tell The Knot that they hope to bring awareness to issues faced by LGBTQ couples around the globe.
“Like everything else, it starts with knowledge,” Boom says. “You need to know that something is not the same for all people, that there are differences that exist, but really shouldn’t. This goes for racial equality, gender equality, just any kind of inequality really.”
The activists hope to inform others of how LGBT couples around the world are treated. “People need to know that in most countries around the world, you can’t get married as a gay person. Most countries are even hostile towards our lifestyle and you have to think twice before even traveling there,” Boom says. “These are very normal things to think about in the life of an average gay person, but do other people know that? Turns out most people don’t, not because they don’t want to, but just because they don’t know about it. So ‘22’ is about sharing with people what you feel and experience out in the world, but it always has to be in a positive way. That’s the first step towards lasting change, in my opinion.”
Boom and Pierets called their project “22” in honor of the 22 countries where same-sex marriage has been legalized. (In the time since they first conceived the project idea, both Germany and Malta have been added to the list in June and July, respectively.)
“We actually wake up and go to sleep with new ideas for projects since we’re always trying to visualize the questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis in our art practice,” Pierets says. “Every work is a self-portrait of what and how we feel at that specific moment in time. Some ideas stick, others don’t.”
The couple explains that they had been thinking about the concept behind “22” for some time, but never acted on the idea. Then last year, Boom got extremely sick, and as Pierets puts it, “our priorities shifted from art to mere survival.” After Boom recovered, the pair decided to go “100 percent” forward with the project, and Boom said it felt like the timing aligned. “It’s a perfect continuation of the work we’ve already created up until now.”
In addition to Germany and Malta, the couple will also travel to Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United States and Uruguay.
The pair will document their weddings and travels via film and photography throughout the course of the year, sharing images to their website and social media immediately after each wedding. Then, they say, they’re hoping to create a traveling exhibit with photos and video from each of the 24 weddings.
“For us, it’s by far the longest performance we have ever made,” Boom says, “so we are not yet familiar with our own long-term process. There is a lot of room for new ideas and collaborations along the way. It’s something exciting to look forward to and see where it takes us. Nothing is definitive yet, the only thing that’s 100 percent sure is that we are going to do this, no matter what.”
Though the couple will undoubtedly gain a large following from their travels and nuptials around the globe, the pair are, technically, already very much married. They got married in Antwerp, Belgium in 2012 (but also had a ceremony in France for sentimentality sake). “We rented a secluded house just north of Cannes and spent a week there with close friends and relatives,” Boom says. “And [we] performed a wonderful ceremony in the garden at the end of the week. It was wonderful, romantic and so special to share with just a few people.”
Adds Pierets: “Our love story is an intense one; we started working together from the moment we met and are together 24/7 ever since, bouncing ideas off each other. Gradually our work became our life and turned out [to be] the thing we love to do the most. For me there are only advantages [to] working together, the best one being that there is never room for ego. The other one just laughs at you. … She keeps me balanced and knows exactly how to tone me down when my activist-side is getting the upper hand.”
Regardless of how their trip pans out, the couple is excited to engage with people worldwide about the very necessary conversations surrounding marriage equality.
“Our work is trying to capture current times and how the world functions on the level of gay and gender equality,” they conclude to The Knot. “How it is changing, evolving, and trying to find a way to communicate this. It’s all about documenting. Observing what is happening around us, and collecting our ideas along the way. It’s noticing patterns, and mirroring them. In our work people can confront themselves with ideologies and beliefs. It’s enriching and necessary to show these perspectives in a positive and beautiful manner because we belief this is the only way by which you can make change.”