GARAGE D ‘SMATI Turtle 1’ is a project by Melle Smets and Joost van Onna. It was part of the Work Songs program, during Capitalism Catch 22 – 2013 Impakt Festival.

Artist Melle Smets and researcher Joost van Onna followed the trail of Europe’s discarded cars to capitalism’s periphery to learn about ‘System D’ or Système Débrouillardise, the capacity to be able to think on your feet, to adapt and to improvise in order to finish a job properly. In the Ghanaian neighbourhood of Suami Magazine, over 200,000 craftsmen recycle our discarded car scrap. Together with these resourceful craftsmen, Melle and Joost created a new, characteristic African car: the SMATI Turtle 1.

The SMATI Turtle 1 and the study into ‘System D’ provide insight into contemporary waste flows. Furthermore, they also make us question our modern manufacturing and working methods. The project tells us something about the search for efficiency and our institutionalised, hyper-specialised way of working. ‘System D’ is not an ideal system: it boils down to making do with the material and cultural means available to you.

In GARAGE D ‘SMATI Turtle 1’ Melle and Joost present their car and explain their research into ‘System D’. They will also be providing a programme which examines the similarities and differences between Suami Magazine and the demise of Detroit. In their garage they will also reflect on the future of the car as a digital capsule and its decline as a totem of personal property.

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