THE GRAND
DOMESTIC REVOLUTION

THE GRAND
DOMESTIC REVOLUTION

USER'S MANUAL

USER'S MANUAL

‘The Grand Domestic Revolution—User’s Manual’ (GDR) investigates the domestic space and its (changing) use through a variety of methods and disciplines, traversing the fields of art, design, architecture, urban planning, activism and theory. A number of artists and other practitioners contribute to this endeavour. Residents from 2009-2011 include Sepake Angiama, Paul Elliman, and Doris Denekamp who utilized neighbourhood and online research to create prototypes and interventions around the theme of (Green) Cooperativsm. Wietske Maas and Travis Meinolf experimented with Home Production; while 'interor' infrastuctural interventions for the furniture, library and hallways were created by ifau & Jesko Fezer, Mirjam Thomann and Graziela Kunsch. Current themes and residents from February–October 2011 include Kyohei Sakaguchi and Kateřina Šedá who will each investigate forms of usership in architectures; home and housing rights with Maria Pask and Nazima Kadir; the question of invisible and domestic labour taken up by Werker Magazine; Agency will continue its deliberations on copyright issues of domestic THINGS (gardens and textiles); and keywords in relations to food service work will be workshopped with Xu Tan. Parallel to this, the Read-in activity continues. Initiated by artist Annette Krauss and theatre maker, Read-in is an open reading group inhabiting a different neighbour’s home for every session.

LIBRARY

LIBRARY

The GDR library constitutes the backbone of our ongoing ‘living research’ and thus grows over time. The library offers points of engagement with the project and consists of different research materials such as books, articles, images and DVDs (artist’s video, films) that are available for viewing when visiting the apartment. The first installment was done by the GDR team and was later adapted by Sao Paulo-based artist Graziela Kunsch who suggested that the GDR team create thematic selections.

APARTMENT 18B

APARTMENT 18B

'The Grand Domestic Revolution-User's Manual' is a long-term project developed as Casco’s contribution to 'Utrecht Manifest: Biennial for Social Design'. The project deals with the evolutionary and collaborative process of “living” research in the contemporary domestic and private sphere – particularly in relation to the spatial imagining (or the built environment). It aims at re-articulating while exercising the notions of the social, the public and, eventually, the commons.

TOWN MEETINGS

IN AFFINITY

IN AFFINITY

Since August 2010, the GDR team have undertaken research in order to connect with the local neighbourhood on questions relating to peoples’ social conditions and material environments. Questionnaires, interviews, and conversations are the methods used to explore the themes and problems addressed in GDR, such as self-organised governance, co-operative living, and spatial organisation in and from the domestic sphere.

AGENDA - GDR Digest

+ Futurist Writing School
20-26 Feb 2012
Scroll down for contributor profiles

Still from Lizzie Borden’s 1983 futurist film, ‘Born in Flames’



MON 20, 21.00 Screening of film, ‘Born in Flames’ (1983) + launch of GDR Futurist Writing School, with home brewed beers by Lost Property

TUES 21, 20.00 Cooking, action and presentation by Ask! Actie Schone Kunsten and Domestic Workers Netherlands with guest respondent Jennifer Sigler

WED 22, 20.00 Panel discussion with Cluster: Ferran Barenblit, Binna Choi, Eyal Danon, Maria Lind and Emily Pethick are amongst the members
Location: Volksbuurtmuseum, Waterstraat 27, Utrecht

THURS 23, 18.30, 20.00 Read-in Gathering at 18.30, Read-in multiplies at 20.00, with guest reading groups: Kritische Studenten Utrecht, Occupy Amsterdam Reading Group and others.

FRI 24, 20.00 ‘Our Autonomous Life?’ episode screenings and discussion with Aetzel Griffioen Location: Casco, Nieuwekade 231-215, Utrecht

SAT 25, 14.00 Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Assembly by Agency around 'Thing 001359 (Chico Mendez Mural Garden)' will not be held as previously scheduled. Please join us instead for the futurist public vegetable garden (moestuin) action, 'UTRECHT .. Sitopia?', a situational proposal for an inter-connected, city-wide, mobile agricultural network with London based curator Sepake Angiama and architect Sam Causer.

SUN 26, 14.00 Farewell on this last day of the exhibition with the public reading/performance of a novel in progress that a group of participants of the GDR Futurist Writing School have been writing together since this past Monday: the novel speculates on what our future might look like 20 years after 'the grand domestic revolution'. The reading/performance will be also accompanied by communal toast by Amsterdam artist, Wietske Maas with her 'Ferment Utrecht', a curative alcoholic beverage made of honey harvest by Utrecht beekeepers, Elbert Hoogendoorn, Emma van den Dool and Mark Koren and others from plants available in the city of Utrecht.

The reading will be performed by the collective writers and other editorial members of the Futurist Writing School including: Marina Vishmidt, Merijn Oudenampsen, Tea Hvala, Patrick Lacey (Åbäke), Quinsy Gario (T. Martinus), Allison Guy, Marielle Verdijk, Serena Lee, Freyja van den Boom, Aileen Burns, Johan Lundh, Silvia Simoncelli, Katayoun Arian, Yolande van der Heide, Binna Choi and Maiko Tanaka.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Visiting the exhibition:
The exhibition takes place at the three venues below which are open from 11.00 to 17.00 from Tuesday to Sunday until 26 February, 2012.

GDR Digest and Futurist Writing School take place at Casco, unless otherwise mentioned in the agenda
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Donations accepted! Please consider donating to GDR Digest: recommended scale of 5 euros for each event including drinks and snacks.

Further inquiry: For more information on the GUIDED TOURS, DIGEST or FUTURIST WRITING SCHOOL, email us at gdr@cascoprojects.org.


CONTRIBUTORS

GDR FUTURIST WRITING SCHOOL members include: London-based writer and Queen Mary University of London PhD candidate, Marina Vishmidt who deals mainly with art, value, and the politics of work and abstraction; Sociologist and political theorist, Merijn Oudenampsen who writes on urban development, art, politics and philosophy, currently researching populism and cultural studies at Tilburg University; performance poet, artist and event organiser, Quinsy Gario; journalist, science fiction writer, and feminist and queer activist, Tea Hvala, based in Ljublijana, who's current research deals with social equity and public minorities; Patrick Lacey from the London based design collective Åbäke, and GDR curators Binna Choi and Maiko Tanaka. The participants are Allison Guy, Marielle Verdijk, Serena Lee, Aileen Burns, Johan Lundh, Freyja van den Boom, Silvia Simoncelli, Katayoun Arian and Yolande van der Heide.

BORN IN FLAMES is a 1983 documentary-style feminist science fiction film by Lizzie Borden. Ten years after the socialist revolution in the United States, it depicts a dystopian future in which progressive groups - minorities, liberals, gay rights organizations and feminists - are ostensibly dealt with by the government and yet discontent ensues due to unemployment, gender issues and violence ensue. The film provides a starting point for the GDR Futurist Writing School by creating a vision of the future after the revolution, which forces us to reflect on the present. Distributed by Cinenova.

LOST PROPERTY"Humans and art are not the same but we made a space for both of them in a togetherness. A wild combination fit for rivals." Lost Property is a group of Amsterdam based artists and designers who run a space, which brews its own beers.

ASK! ACTIE SCHONE KUNSTEN is a group of cultural workers working in affinity with Domestic Workers Netherlands, part of FNV Bondgenoten. The latter demands recognition and respect for their work as “work”, opposing the criminalization of undocumented domestic workers, and pushing for the Dutch ratification of the ILO convention for the proper regulation of domestic work. The former, borne out of GDR project, supports the campaigns to achieve this demand while exploring the social and political potential of recognizing the values of domestic and artistic labour together.

JENNIFER SIGLER is a Rotterdam based editor, curator and researcher. Her editorial work includes Rem Koolhaas’s ‘S,M,L,XL’; the Berlage Institute’s ‘Hunch’, and the IABR’s ‘Open City: Designing Coexistence’. In 2011 she began ‘To Serve: Exposing the Space of Domestic Labor’, an independent research into domestic labor through the lens of design, architecture and urbanism.

CLUSTER is a network of eight internationally operating contemporary visual art organisations situated in residential areas on the peripheries of major European cities (plus one in Holon, an industrial zone outside of Tel Aviv). Each of these organisations are actively involved in their local contexts, fostering their embeddedness within their surroundings. Cluster was initiated in June 2011 in order to facilitate internal and public exchange of knowledge about how these types of institutions function and also to establish further collaborations between them.

During 2012-2013 the group will collectively visit each of the organisations in the network. Each visit will include a combination of closed meetings, site visits, and public events, through which we will share the ongoing dialogues that will be generated through the project. The members of Cluster are: Casco, Utrecht, CAC Brettigny, Paris, Les Laboratoires D’Aubervillers, Aubervillers, The Showroom, London, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm, CA2M Centro Dos De Mayo, Madrid, P74 Gallery, Ljubljana, and the Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon. In the context of ‘GDR Digest’, Cluster will hold its first workshop and public meeting. Cluster is financially supported by European Cultural Foundation.

READ IN is the collective effort of instigating instant reading sessions in other people’s homes. Initiated in February 2010 in Utrecht, NL by artist Annette Krauss and theatre maker Hilde Tuinstra and developed in tandem with Casco’s ‘The Grand Domestic Revolution – User’s Manual’. This evolving experiment delves into a process of unusual social activity involving ringing neighbours’ doorbells with the request to host the collective reading. Through relocating and communalising a typically private and solitary activity, Read-in opens up new spaces for grappling with the material, affective and political dimensions of “reading together”.

OUR AUTONOMOUS LIFE? is Casco’s new ‘cooperative sitcom’ offering a humorous glimpse into the interpersonal conflicts and political struggles of a fictional squatter living group in The Netherlands. It is co-created by participants with stakes in communal living practices today with episodes produced and screened monthly over the course of the GDR project exhibition.

AETZEL GRIFFIOEN is a political philosopher with a special interest in the common. As a former squatter he seeks to apply the principles of free culture into the everyday fabric of the city. Aside from writing, he teaches philosophy at a primary school in Rotterdam-South for Rotterdam Skillcity, co-founded contemporary artspace Dek22 and helped set up a national initiative against the prohibition of squatting.

AGENCY, the generic name of a Brussels-based agency founded in 1992 by artist Kobe Matthys, constitutes an evolving list of things that ‘witness hesitation’ in the bifurcation of nature into classifications of ‘nature’ and ‘culture’. This ongoing list of Things is based on controversies, affairs, lawsuits and cases around intellectual property, all of which problematise this conceptual bifurcation. Over the course of the GDR project, Agency has presented a series of Assemblies relating to copyright cases involving Things typically situated in the domestic sphere or contextualised as a domestic activity. The Assembly during GDR Digest will be made around Thing 001359 (Chico Mendez Mural Garden), a disputed over a demolished community garden in New York whose model is presented in the current GDR exhibition.
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WIETSKE MAAS is Amsterdam-based urban food researcher. For her GDR residency, Maas initiated ‘Experimental Kitchen Pharmacy’ in June 2010 to transform ingredients collected from the neighbourhoods of Utrecht into treatments for common illnesses. Gathering knowledge from our former Chinese herbalist neighbour, an epidemiologist, pharmacists and others, Wietske mapped out the edible geography of the city. The hygiene, toxicity, medicinal qualities, urban food supply routes and politics of her collection are recorded in an audio field guide, available at the GDR exhibition. On the last day of the GDR exhibition and ‘Digest’ all gathered will toast with the honey ferment brew produced by Maas in collaboration with our neighbours.
The Grand Domestic Revolution- User’s Manual is financially supported by: Stichting Doen, Gemeente Utrecht, Mondriaan Stichting with additional support from the European Union Culture Programme and K. F. Hein Fonds

Cluster is financially supported by European Cultural Foundation.

NOTES

Urban farming in Havana

Source: BBC Two’s Future of Food
By Sarah Murch


Climate change, drought, population growth – they could all threaten future food supplies. But global agriculture, with its dependence on fuel and fertilisers is also highly vulnerable to an oil shortage, as Cuba found out 20 years ago.

Around Cuba’s capital Havana, it is quite remarkable how often you see a neatly tended plot of land right in the heart of the city. Sometimes smack bang between tower block estates or next door to the crumbling colonial houses, fresh fruit and vegetables are growing in abundance. Some of the plots are small – just a few rows of lettuces and radishes being grown in an old parking space. Other plots are much larger – the size of several football pitches. Usually they have a stall next to them to sell the produce at relatively low prices to local people. Twenty years ago, Cuban agriculture looked very different. Between 1960 and 1989, a national policy of intensive specialised agriculture radically transformed Cuban farming into high-input mono-culture in which tobacco, sugar, and other cash crops were grown on large state farms. Cuba exchanged its abundant produce for cheap, imported subsidised oil from the old Eastern Bloc. In fact, oil was so cheap, Cuba pursued a highly industrialised fuel-thirsty form of agriculture – not so different from the kind of farming we see in much of the West today. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the oil supply rapidly dried up, and, almost overnight, Cuba faced a major food crisis. Already affected by a US trade embargo, Cuba by necessity had to go back to basics to survive – rediscovering low-input self-reliant farming.

Oxen replaced tractors when Cuba became a low-fuel economy. With no petrol for tractors, oxen had to plough the land. With no oil-based fertilisers or pesticides, farmers had to turn to natural and organic replacements. Today, about 300,000 oxen work on farms across the country and there are now more than 200 biological control centres which produce a whole host of biological agents in fungi, bacteria and beneficial insects. Havana has almost 200 urban allotments – known as organiponicos – providing four million tonnes of vegetables every year – helping the country to become 90% self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables. Alamo Organiponico is one of the larger co-operatives, employing 170 people, built on a former rubbish tip that produces 240 tonnes of vegetables a year. There is a wide range of crops planted side by side and brightly coloured marigolds at the edges.

“We produce all different kinds of vegetables,” says farmer Emilio Andres, who is proud of the fact that his allotment feeds the local community. “We sell to the people, the school, the hospital, also to the restaurant and the hotel. “It’s important because it’s grown in the city, it’s fresh food for the people, it’s healthy food, and it provides jobs for the people here too. “We don’t spray any chemicals. We only spray biological means like bastilos – a bacteria and fungus to kill the pests. And we use repellent plants like marigolds to keep away the pests. “When I see all of these healthy crops, without too many pests, grown without any chemicals, it’s amazing for me – I am making a contribution for the people that get healthy crops, healthy products.”

As well as marigolds, basil and neem trees are planted around the containers to keep the aphids and beetles at bay. Sunflowers and corn are also planted around the beds to attract beneficial insects such as ladybirds and lace wings. Sticky paper or plastic funnel-shaped bottles are positioned throughout the beds to trap harmful pests that do get into the garden. And the methods work. Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, herbs and many other crops are grown in huge quantities and sold cheaply. Mangoes are 2 pence (3 US cents) a pound. Black beans 15p (25 cents) and plantain, just 12p (20 cents). At the time of the oil shock, average calorie consumption in Cuba dropped by a third to dangerously low levels. Since then they have bounced back and Cubans eat just a little less than people in the UK. The biggest difference is that a Western diet includes about three times as much food energy from animal products like meat and dairy. The Cuban diet is much less fatty and requires less fuel to produce. A far less varied diet than in the West, it is also much healthier. The standard lunch for the farm workers is black beans, potatoes and rice. Cuban agricultural researcher, Fernando Funes reckons the rest of the world has something to learn from the Cuban agricultural story. “Well, do you have oil forever? And there also other considerations like global warming, nature conservation… the conventional way of farming generates a lot of damage to the environment and to human health. “Developed countries as well as developing countries should pay a lot of attention to this kind of agriculture which takes care of land, people, environment and is also efficient and productive. You can combine both.”


5 January 2011, 21.32 — posted by Doris

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