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Merel Smitt

I’m an artist in the performing arts. In 2014 I graduated in directing from the theateracademy Maastricht. I build theatrical installations and interventions in the public space. My work is site-specific and the audience, knowingly and unknowingly, participates in various ways being actively present and co-creating with me. I hijack, expose and disrupt political and social systems within society. Recent projects consist of imaginary bureaucratic organisations with a social and political background. I come up with these organisations myself, I design them, write their vision and pretend they are real. With this I try to reduce large social and societal processes to a human scale.

The impact of my work lies within the participants, how they as human beings cope under the manipulation of these systems, how it influences their behavior and interactions towards each other. It sometimes looks like a social experiment, a game, a score or hacking. The border between fiction and non-fiction is diffuse. You come across my projects where you don’t expect them or during your everyday life. I create doubt about what is real and what is made up which leads to actual reflection and questioning. To shape the actual and artistic content I collaborate with performers, graphic designers, webdesigners and form the content by researching different perspectives of philosophers, government and social workers, companies and experts.

I don’t know what to call my work, it’s performative but it is also participatory, graphical, visual and sometimes even activism. I am now part of the master program DasArts in Amsterdam. Here I reinvent the circumstances in which my work can take place to come up with alternative ways of producing my art. I also set up a self-organised collective where artists collaborate in sharing workspaces, experiences, networks and talents. With its do-it-yourself-but-not-alone mentality TimeWindow forms an important alternative for creating a sustainable art practice.

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