THE GRAND
DOMESTIC REVOLUTION

THE GRAND
DOMESTIC REVOLUTION

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

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.

PROJECT EXHIBITION: The Grand Domestic Revolution – User's Manual

Opening 5 November 2011, 18.00
6 November 2011 – 26 February 2012

 

design: Julia Born and Laurenz Brunner




Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory
cordially invites you to join us for the opening of
the project exhibition ‘The Grand Domestic Revolution –
User’s Manual’.


The personal is the political

INTRODUCTION

In October 2009 Casco initiated ‘The Grand Domestic Revolution – User’s Manual’ (GDR) in response to an invitation from ‘Utrecht Manifest: Biennial for Social Design’ to develop a project that would question and challenge the very notion of social design. With the aim of re-articulating and exercising notions of the social, the public and the commons, and departing from the grounds of the domestic sphere, GDR evolved into a long-term research platform and residency exploring the urgent domestic concerns of today and the potential transformative ways to engage them. Inspired by the late nineteenth-century American “material feminist” movement which brought about what architectural historian Dolores Hayden later referred to as “the grand domestic revolution” by the communalising of kitchens, nurseries and housing, GDR focuses on the question of what difference a changed domestic sphere could bring to towns, cities and society at large today.

To make the world more home-like?

After two years of “living research” residencies, home productions, town meetings and affinity actions, GDR opens up in an extensive exhibition to share the resulting proposals and paradoxes for a grand domestic revolution today. Casco invites all those who have a stake in transforming the conditions and status of the domestic sphere to challenge current divisions between our private and public spaces and to build new forms of living and working in common.

Are you bothered by the noise of your neighbours?

OUR PROCESS

For the first year of the project, we rented an apartment in the neighbourhood of Casco as a symbolic and functional base inviting resident artists, designers, theorists, neighbours and local activists to build up an evolving and collaborative process of living research in the contemporary private domestic realm, with a special focus on the built environment and its boundaries. Growing into its second phase, GDR proceeded from the apartment base and moved further into the city of Utrecht and beyond, to connect to current social and political dynamics of private and public concern and hone our collaborative approaches in terms of collectivity, alliances, affinity and conflictual processes.

From this, four main themes emerged that have become the lines of thought for engaging the large scope of GDR research, proposals and works thus far:

  • Domestic space: housing the commons and living together
  • Domestic work: invisible labour and working at home
  • Domestic property: struggles between ownership and usership
  • Domestic relations: extended families, neighbours versus networks

The works produced, gathered and referenced for the GDR exhibition are made up of a combination of proposals, parallel pieces, historical paradigms and situated research material that confront and actualise the thematic threads above. Some works do this through paradoxical commentary and others by mobilising movement. They all work together to conceive an exhibition of elements and positions that not only suggest why and how to make a domestic revolution, but also ask what position you as the visitor might take, from and beyond your own home base.

Do you also bring your work home?

THE EXHIBITION INCLUDES WORKS BY

Agency, Ask! (Actie Schone Kunsten) with Andreas Siekmann, Sepake Angiama & Sam Causer, Pauline Boudry /Renate Lorenz, Doris Denekamp & Arend Groosman, Domestic Workers Netherlands (part of FNV Bondgenoten) with Matthijs de Bruijne, Paul Elliman with Na Kim, Hans van Lunteren and Rob van de Steen, Casco-HKU Creative Lab ‘Extended Family’, Andrea Francke, ‘Our Autonomous Life’ with Nazima Kadir, Maria Pask and an evolving cooperative cast, Shiu Jin, Mary Kelly, kleines postfordistisches Drama, Germaine Koh, Graziela Kunsch, Wietske Maas, Gordon Matta-Clark, Travis Meinolf, Emilio Moreno, Read-in, Martha Rosler, Helke Sander, Kateřina Šedá, Kyohei Sakaguchi, Patricia Sousa, Xu Tan, Valerie Tevere & Angel Nevarez, Mirjam Thomann, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Jort van der Laan, Agnès Varda, Werker Magazine, Vincent Wittenberg and Haegue Yang.

Exhibition design is by Ruth Buchanan and Andreas Müller. Exhibition map and signage is developed by Åbäke. Curated by Binna Choi and Maiko Tanaka


domestic brands safari typeface by Abake

Housing prices getting you down?

LOCATIONS

Plan your day to see the exhibition at the various venues!

The works themselves will perform their positions in dialogue with the exhibition themes across Casco and other venues shared by our neighbours:

1. Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory, Nieuwekade 213–215, Utrecht)
www.cascoprojects.org

Casco is transformed into a living and working space, functioning as “home base” of the exhibition and further actions. It is also where GDR’s cooperative sitcom ‘Our Autonomous Life?’ is produced and screened, and includes space for children and the GDR library.

2. Volksbuurt Museum, Waterstraat 27–29, Utrecht)
www.volksbuurtmuseum.nl

The Volksbuurt Museum finds its seed in Committee Wijk C, founded in 1974 to preserve and recover the neighbourhood, where Casco is also situated, in response to rapid urban renewal and demolition projects. GDR works will be cohabiting with the various documents and objects in this local folks’ museum. A fledgling GDR apartment “museum” will be also be annexed here!

3. De Rooie Rat, Oudegracht 65, Utrecht)
www.rooierat.nl

De Rooie Rat is the oldest leftist political bookstore in the Netherlands, established in 1974 just up the canal from Casco. Works that call for action mingle with the inspiring books at De Rooie Rat!

Opening hours
Wednesday to Sunday
11.00–17.00
(Sundays at De Rooie Rat, 12.00-17.00)




OCCASIONS

Watch out for the following activities throughout the exhibition! We kindly request you to check our website before your visit for an up-to-date schedule.

X Cooperative Sitcom ‘Our Autonomous Life?’ 5 November 2011, pilot premiere at Casco, 21.00
GDR’s cooperatively produced situation comedy, ‘Our Autonomous Life?’ will premiere on the occasion of exhibition opening. Future episodes will be broadcasted monthly on RTV Utrecht and at Casco.

Preview trailers will be screened at SKOR’s symposium ‘Social Housing – Housing the Social’ on 4–5 November 2011, and Impakt Festival’s Panorama Programme on 4 November 2011.

X First ‘Teach-in’ by Read-in 22 November 2011, starting from Casco at 19.00 h
Alongside their monthly read-in actions, the Read-in collective organises a series of ‘Teach-in’s with invited respondents relating to their research. The November session is facilitated by Annie Fletcher on the topic of feminist reading groups. Check out www.read-in.info for future dates!

X ‘Kitchen 139’ at W139, Amsterdam 3–17 December 2011
In conjunction with ‘The Grand Domestic Revolution – User’s Manual’, Amsterdam’s W139 transforms its premises into a communal kitchen for divergent communities in art, culture and other public sectors to exchange their concerns and knowledge and to imagine further different forms of living and working “after the revolution”, through the language of cooking and meal sharing.

X Assembly (The Grand Domestic Revolution) 25 February 2012
Agency, a Brussels-based organisation established by artist Kobe Matthys in 1992, invites a diverse group of concerned guests to respond to the witnessing of ‘Thing 001359 (Chico Mendez Mural Garden)’ which concerns the demolition of a communal garden in New York.

X ‘Keywords Cooking School’ book launch 25 February 2012
Xu Tan’s research into Chinese restaurants in Dutch cities culminates in a new ‘Keywords School’ publication exploring the relationships between food culture and politics.

X GDR Future (Finnissage?) 20–26 February 2012
Collective futurist fiction-writing conference and Home School workshops for the future of a grand domestic revolution with guest practitioners from overlapping fields of architecture, community economics, critical theory and geopolitical research and activism. The future is not far, perhaps it is right here and now! Detailed programme and call for participation will be announced soon!

  • Preview trailer will be screened at SKOR’s conference ‘Social Housing – Housing the Social’ on 4–5 November 2011, and Impakt Festival’s Panorama Programme on 4 November 2011.




'The Grand Domestic Revolution - User's Manual' is a project developed by Casco - Office for Art, Design and Theory.

EXHIBITION TEAM

Director and curator: Binna Choi
Curator: Maiko Tanaka
Curatorial support and project coordination: Yolande van der Heide
Production: Sofia Evans, Cindy van Rooijen, Suzanne Tiemersma
Production assistance: Mariska Versantvoort, Marijke de Wal
Construction: Thomas de Kroon, Michael Klinkenberg
Research and public relation assistance: Katayoun Arian
Communication design: Julia Born & Laurenz Brunner
General management: Vincent Wijlhuizen

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

GDR is made possible with the generous support of Stichting Doen, Gemeente Utrecht, Mondriaan Stichting

Additional support: European Union Culture Programme, K. F. Hein Fonds

Our partners include: De Rooie Rat; Volksbuurt Museum; W139; Dutch Art Institute MFA ArtEZ; HKU Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht; SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain; RTV Utrecht; Utrecht Manifest: Biennial for Social Design

In cooperation with: Alleato, Critical Mass, Kalff, Kargadoor, The Food Shop, VeelBomen, BAK basis voor actuele kunst, Impakt Festival

Special thanks to our board members, our many volunteers and all our former colleagues and interns including: Yejin Cho, Jaring Dürst Britt, Mafalda Damaso, Nicky Heijda, Sumire Kobayashi, Elsa-Louise Manceaux, Mariska Oosterloo, Constanca Saraiva, Sacha Semeniouk, Urok Shirhan, Annie Wu

Lastly, we would like to thank all our contributors to the GDR project and exhibition!



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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