Melle Smets is an artist, researcher and curator with a career of more than fifteen years. He has directed numerous creative collectives across Europe, South America and Africa that have produced a large body of work focused primarily on social interaction with public space. Using existing social structures and local customs as a starting point, Smets presents an alternative vision on our habitat. More than a physical space, he understands our habitat as a mental space.
Melle Smets studied OK5/ Art and Public Space at ArtEz Academy in Arnhem. After his study Smets became the co-founder of art collective G.A.N.G. As cultural project developers they operated through interventions in public space, and the travel agency P-reizen (P-travel). P-reizen organized expeditions to the parallel world of highways, airports and ports.
In 2005 Smets established his independent practice in Rotterdam and in 2008 set up the Aardschap foundation. Aardschap is a collective of action researchers that uses methods from art and academics to develop communities-of-practice for challenging places, and pieces together what makes them function. Smets has been a guest lecturer at different universities in the Netherlands and during the period 2014-2016 he was the Director of the temporary Master ‘System D Academy’ at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.