‘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.


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.



'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.





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.


Anton Schuurman and Petrus Cornelis Spierenburg, Private domain, public inquiry, Uitgeverij Verloren, 1996

Anton Schuurman and Petrus CornelisSpierenburg, Private domain, public inquiry, Uitgeverij Verloren, 1996 Beatriz Colomina, Domesticity at War, MIT Press, 2007

Beatriz Colomina, Domesticity at War, MIT Press, 2007

Simon Sheikh, In the Place of the Public Sphere?, B-Books, 2005

Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, University of Chicago Press, 1998

Candide, Journal for Architectural Knowledge No.1, december 2009, RWTH Aachen University

Bell Hooks, Where we stand: Class Matters, Routhledge, 2000

Richard Sennet, The Fall of the Public Man, Faber and Faber, 1977

Edited by Brian Wallis, Democracy|A project by Group Material, The New Press, 1999

Edited by Charles Merewether, The Archive, documents of contemporary art series, Whitechapel, 2006

Emma Hedditch, Coming to have a public life, is it worth it?, Hedditch, 2007

Utopia and Monument I, On the validity of art between privatization and the public sphere, Steirischer Herbst, 2009

An Architektur, Issue Nr. 23, On the Commons

The Project of Autonomy, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Buell Center and Princeton Architectural press, 2008

2G International Architecture Review, Gerrit Th. Rietveld, Houses, n.39.40


In Search of Lost Lime

Lime (linden) leaf madeleines

Today was time to crush the urban lime (linden) leaf to a fine powder, which had been drying against the windowsill of the GDR flat.

Drying linden leaves, indoors on tables, benches and the window sill

In times of wheat scarcity (notably during the second world war), some French people used pulverised lime leaf as a flour substitute. Last week I gathered leaves from the shoots that grow on the trunk of linden trees, along the Oude Gracht in Utrecht, and the quieter zone near Beatrix park as recommended by Wim Horst who is Utrecht Park Coordinator and tree authority.

Crushed lime leaf

As a first try-out, I used the lime leaf flower and lime flower honey to make plump little madeleines inspired by the French wartime use of lime flour together with Marcel Proust’s madeleine induced involuntary memory. Perhaps the most well-cited extract of Rembrance of Things Past is when Proust tatses a petite morsel of madeleine dipped in lime flower tea: The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm, beyond the reach of intellect, in some material object … which we do not suspect.)

Adapted recipe using lime flower honey and crushed lime flower leaves.

Madeleines: tried and approved by Dr Guo-Dong Wang in Sino Holland chinese herbalist practice (downstairs of GDR flat)

Modest ground-dwelling plate of madeleines shared during Anna Collin's presentation as part of Casco's 'Come Alive!' talks

24 June 2010, 18.06 — posted by Wietske