A pact of art & science
Aardschap was founded in 2010 bij Melle Smets and Joost van Onna.
Melle Smets is director of Aardschap Foundation. He is a visual and conceptual artist and researcher, with a broad experience in artistic research and social interventions. He has led numerous creative collectives across Europe, South America and Africa which have produced a large body of work focused primarily on social interaction and public space. Using existing social structures and local customs as a starting point, Smets presents an alternative view on our landscape and culture.
His aim is to turn ideas into actions, and to trigger wider participation in shaping our environment. Smets has a healthy obsession with the relation between man and environment. He always seeks for extreme examples where this relationship is challenged. Mega-cities like Lagos are hard to grasp. Focusing on the Ikoyi prison as a micro version of the city, it provides an insight in the reality of life in one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
Joost van Onna is a member of Aardschap and an academic researcher with a PhD in criminology. He is a research fellow at VU University, with an extensive work and research experience in the justice system. Through working and living experiences abroad (Venezuela, Peru, Ghana) and by education (social-psychology and criminology), he developed a profound interest and love for the question of how people and communities self-organize to solve daily problems outside the formal structures.
The Informal Justice Court Project is a way to explore the strength of self-organisation (informal justice) while studying the possibilities of restorative justice in a challenging context and combining it with his knowledge of criminal development and the effectiveness of sanctions. Van Onna sees great value in approaching such issues from an interdisciplinary perspective, working with artists and scholars from different fields.