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.

FORUM ‘Let’s Squat Something’

Sun 15 April 2012
13.00-16.00

 

design: Abake



Following the final episode broadcast ‘Our Autonomous Life?’ – a cooperative sitcom about the personal and politically entwined lives of a fictional group of squatters after the 2010 squatting ban in The Netherlands – Casco invites you to a Forum around the question, should squatting go on?

With Aetzel Griffoen, Nazima Kadir, Merijn Oudenampsen, Kevin van Beek, Sebastiaan Capel (D66), Cohabitation Strategies, Tamira Combrink (GroenLinks), Abel Heijkamp (Bond Precaire Woonvormen), Kraakspreekuur Utrecht, Momo, Occupy Utrecht, 'Our Autonomous Life?' cast members Katayoun Arian, Anja Groten, Klaar van der Lippe, Bart Stuart, Maiko Tanaka, Mariska Versantvoort, and others.


On 1 October 2010, an official ban on squatting (kraken) was put into effect in the Netherlands, criminalising the practice of occupying unused and empty spaces for living that had been tolerated by Dutch law since the 1970s. After one and a half years of resistance actions and demonstrations against the ban from within the squatting community, there has been little public debate on this new precedent in Dutch housing law.

A more visible debate is the one on the decline of the Dutch social housing stock, increasing gentrification and displacement of low-income communities to peripheral zones; however, many of these issues related to precarious housing are also common to the squatting movement. It is undeniable that a growing conservatism in lifestyle and living spaces is taking place, revealing that “the social” in relation to housing is at a crucial moment in the Netherlands while th economic, social and political debate on housing is gradually disappearing from the public realm. But where does the practice of squatting fit within the resistance to these changes?

On 15 April 2012, Casco calls on UStad/RTV Utrecht viewers, squatters, students, researchers, politicians, civil servants, activists, philosophers, urban planners and anyone concerned about the current housing situation in The Netherlands to the Forum, ‘Let’s Squat Something’ gathering around the question: should squatting go on?

We feel the need to gather a critical mass of stakeholders to explore what it means to “house the commons”: getting a collective grip on housing conditions in the Netherlands today, the relationships between the practice of squatting, social housing, privatisation and the cultural sphere and challenging our assumptions about various forms of housing and our individual situations to it. Based on these investigations we search for new affinities and community formations directed towards collective action.

‘Let’s Squat Something’ also marks the fourth and final episode of Casco’s cooperative sitcom ‘Our Autonomous Life?’¬ (broadcast on Sunday 8 April through the local TV network, UStad / RTV Utrecht) and is an attempt to create a singular space and instigating experimental occasions for community. Excerpts from Episode 4, which have viewers witness the dilemmas, debates and transformations of the squatters that lead up to their inevitable eviction from their home, will be used as discursive and aesthetic reference.



Join us!

The Forum will take place at Casco, located at Nieuwekade 213-215, Utrecht on Sunday 15 April, 13:00-16:00. Admission is free. If you missed the previous broadcasts, visitors also have a chance to view Episodes 1-3 inside Casco’s space during the event. The event will be in English.

Reservations are appreciated. Please send name(s) to info@cascoprojects.org with “sitcom forum” in the subject line and a few lines (100 words max) about your interest in the event from whichever positions or situations you wish to share on the issues. A compilation of statements will be emailed to all reserved participants in the days before the event, and will also be made available on Casco’s website at www.cascoprojects.org. Drop-ins are also welcome. Can’t make it in person? Check out the live streaming of the Forum online at http://ourautonomouslife.info/video.

‘Our Autonomous Life?’ and ‘Let’s Squat Something’ is produced within the framework of Casco’s project ‘The Grand Domestic Revolution – User’s Manual’.

For further information on the sitcom please check the sitcom project website and/or the curatorial introduction online.




Follow us on Twitter @ (Casco_Utrecht) and Facebook!

Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory
Nieuwekade 213-215
3511 RW Utrecht, The Netherlands
T/F: +31 (0)30 231 9995
info@cascoprojects.org

NOTES

GDR Diary 5: Reading Perec

Following Sepake’s suggestion, on my last day at the apartment I read the beginning of Georges Perec’s Life A User’s Manual (2008, [1978]) to the plants.

It starts with


and then continues:

"To begin with, the art of jigsaw puzzles seems of little substance, easily exhausted, wholly dealt with by a basic introduction to Gestalt: the perceived object — we may be dealing with a perceptual act, the acquisition of a skill, a physiological system, or, as in the present case, a wooden jigsaw puzzle — is not a sum of elements to be distinguished from each other and analysed discretely, but a pattern, that is to say a form, a structure: the element’s existence does not precede the existence of the whole, it comes neither before not after it, for he parts do not determine the pattern, but the pattern determines the parts: knowledge of the pattern and of its laws, of the set and its structure, could not be possible derived from discrete knowledge of the elements that compose it."

[Here I started thinking about the domestic space as multilayered, open and in continuous flux.]

"That means that you can look at a piece of a puzzle for three whole days, you can believe that you know all there is to know about its colouring and shape, and be no further on than when you started. The only thing that counts is the ability to link this piece to other pieces, and in that sense the art of the jigsaw puzzle has something in common with the art of go. The pieces are readable, take on a sense, only when assembled; in isolation, a puzzle piece means nothing — just an impossible question, an opaque challenge."

[And at this point I started thinking about the GDR itself as an assemblage. The GDR as a project that is itself composed of individual projects, pieces, events and encounters that share transversal concerns that are not necessarily inscribed into a set of harmonious assumptions. For example, Mirjam Thomann's reflection on space through the installation of the Two Part Door is radically different from Martha Rosler's archival project on If You Lived Here... as a reflection on the contemporary relevance and possibilities of the engagement of art with community activism focused in the issues of housing, gentrification and displacement.]

"But as soon as you have succeeded, after minutes of trial and error, or after a prodigious half-second flash of inspiration, in fitting it into one of its neighbours, the piece disappears, ceases to exist as a piece."

[The inexistence of an overarching framework of interpretation of the project is directly related to its definition as an exploratory reflection on spatiality as a condition to individual action and artistic engagement, here analysed through a focus on the domestic space. And in this direction, perhaps what matters the most is not the possible similarities that are to be identified among the individual projects but, on the contrary, the potential that is presented by the GDR to articulate the fundamental relationship between the multilayered depth of space and the agonistic character of the artistic-design interventions that can be developed with it in mind.]

"The intense difficulty preceding this link-up – which the English word puzzle indicates so well – not only loses its raison d’être, it seems never to have had any reason, so obvious does the solution appear. The new pieces so miraculously conjoined are henceforth one, which in its turn will be a source of error, hesitation, dismay, and expectation. (…)"

[Yes, I had managed to grasp something. And then I read a little longer ---this time in silence --- to myself.]


25 May 2010, 23.37 — posted by Mafalda

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