Survival Island

Fort Ruigenhoek was built to defend the Netherlands by flooding the land. The forts were defence islands without any of the modern means like electricity, tv or central heating. The soldiers were trained to survive in these conditions. 2Takt organises a biennial exhibition for kids in the fort and asked Smets to make a site specific artwork.

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Melle Smets wants you to help him turn the fort back into a survival station. This time not for war but for the big flood. The Netherlands is flooded under 20 metres of water. Utrecht can only be spotted by its landmarks. The church tower, the Dom, the football stadium, some office buildings. We are the survivors, and with our raft, we collect food and building materials that have stayed afloat. Turn Fort Ruigenhoek into a survival station! An exciting interactive expedition. What can we learn from the way the soldiers used to do things back in those days? What can we find on the island that will help us survive?


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Kids raft designs

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Location Utrecht

Period 2016

Commisioned by 2Takt

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Action research

Every project starts with a location exploration with an artistic intervention. Actions are an effective method to reveal complex relations within communities and their habitat. Claim a land and you’ll know who is who.

Design and prototype

Learning from actions shape ideas for more precise interventions with prototypes. The prototypes are tools to practice new idea’s in shaping a new narrative to understand the habitat.


Artistic practice can bring awareness, implement new ideas, and provide hands on solutions to spark change. To make an new idea thrive a project has to be embraced by the community, and has to be grounded in the commons. This approach demands a long time commitment.


Podcast on Spotify




Informal Justice Court

Aardschap Foundation