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.

MEAL MACHINE

MEAL MACHINE interior night view


As an ‘extension’ to her residency at GDR, Rotterdam based artist Doris Denekamp returns in 2011 to ‘add on’ to the Centre for Cooperative Living project initiated by former GDR resident Sepake Angiama. The aim of CCL was to activate unused, in-between spaces in communal ways, but confronted limitations and obstacles in social infrastructure and material resources to make it a fully functioning ‘cooperative’ apparatus. The shared garden, however, has continued to grow and provide use for contemplation and ingestion by GDR residents, hinting at its potential for further activation or modulation.

Observing and assessing this situation, Doris–collaborating this time with Rotterdam artist/architect Arend Groosman–undertakes a different approach of local research and open source scavenging to construct MEAL MACHINE, a hi-tech greenhouse that is designed to automate care, optimize plant growth and minimize waste by parasiting off of the economy of the apartment. In its discursive capacity, MEAL MACHINE stages critical discussions on food and its production through enfolding and materializing its relations with such issues, breaking down old Western dualisms such as culture/nature. In its material capacity, the machine itself becomes a physical living entity for residents to contend with, helping to free the Casco homestead from the misplaced nostalgia of many radical homemaker projects or avoid the deterministic and enclosing rhetoric of the ‘sustainability’ canon. In this way, the greenhouse is both an enabling and constraining ‘machine’, producing projective menus and coordinating new social rituals around its harvest cycles.

Clip of first menu the MEAL MACHINE will produce.


At the end of each harvest a ritual meal will take place for full consumption of the yield designed by a projective menu. This will also function as an event to invite in new seeds for its following cycle along with any proposals, adjustments and critiques for future menus and planting cycles. The ingredients of this menu will be harvested, prepared and eaten on approximately March 19. Everybody is as well invited to join this harvesting ritual!

MEAL MACHINE was inaugurated alongside Paul Elliman's We were here balcony extension at the January TOWN MEETING.

Email gdr@cascoprojects.org for info. and to reserve your spot for the MEAL MACHINE harvest.

NOTES

Cup of tea no. #5 Elbert Hogendoorn, Secretary of the Utrecht beekeepers association (weekdays he works for the State Institute for Public Health.)

Waiting for the Honey...

Domestic bees filling honey cells, as seen through the 'looking glass' beehive


I went to visit Elbert while he was giving a demonstration about beekeeping at the orchard de Groen Ham in Haarzuilens (a burb of Utrecht, 5 km west of the GDR flat). Over cups of cordial and tea, Elbert enlightened me about the honey geography of Utrecht. I told him about how I’m trying to find an urban honey source, preferably lime flower in the city. Elbert informs me that there are small-scale beekeepers in Utrecht who keep hives on their balconies and roofs, as well as hives that are maintained for educational purposes. But all the beekeepers are, at this point, waiting the next batch of honey. Given Utrecht’s predominance of lime trees which are all blossoming right this very moment, this next inner city harvest will contain an inevitably high percentage of lime flower honey. In the past Elbert had tried to exploit the lime flower along Utrecht’s longest lime tree avenue (the Maliebaan) by asking the nuns to put his hives in their neighbouring convent garden.

Elbert Hogendoorn with an 'observation hive' showing the domestic hierarchy of bees


Beekeeping is touted by the Utrecht beekeeping association as a life skill, they give courses which sets one in good stead as a beginner beekeeper. An interesting reference I came across recently to the propriety of beekeeping as a life skill and also to Elbert;s anecdote of keeping the hives in a convent garden: which was a convent-run school for girls in Buckinghamshire offering beekeeping courses as a ‘homecraft’ by. Beekeeping may have been especially attractive during this period of wartime shortage. (Source: Bee, by Claire Preston).

26 June 2010, 22.19 — posted by Wietske

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