‘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.

GDR DIGEST + Futurist Writing School

20 Feb – 27 Feb 2012
Click here for full AGENDA

During the final week of the GDR project exhibition, Casco organizes ‘GDR Digest’ an extensive series of public occasions through a “digest” of its working methods and questions. It runs in parallel with ‘GDR Futurist Writing School’, a 7-day workshop calling for your collaboration on a futurist fiction novel imagining visible and invisible forms of living 20 years after “the grand domestic revolution”. The backdrop for the stories will be set against future manifestations of contemporary issues around social housing, regimes of work at home, property and value, and new social relation. Join in and imaginatively speculate on what a grand domestic revolution’s future trajectories could be by coordinating your week from Monday to Sunday with us!


At the core of GDR’s “living research” process are cooperative ways of living and working that renegotiate and traverse new private and public binaries today. They are reflected in the formation or evolution of various project groups in GDR such as Ask! Actie Schone Kunsten, Extended Family, Our Autonomous Life?, Domestic Workers Netherlands (FNV) with Matthijs de Bruijne, and Read-in. These groups will give public presentations throughout the Digest week, as a way of offering their visions for the GDR Futurist Writing School. A variety of guests from the Netherlands and abroad – including participants from the Cluster network – will also join the week. Check this link for the full and updated GDR Digest agenda.


Following on the rich history of feminist utopian and speculative fiction practices that conjured new relationships, languages and agencies for transgressing structural and invisible forces of subjugation, ‘GDR Futurist Writing School’ invites you all to join a week-long workshop running within and alongside the Digest events. Led by an editorial team consisting of writer, Marina Vishmidt, designers Åbäke, and curators, BInna Choi and Maiko Tanaka, along with guest contributors including Merijn Oudenampsen, Quinsy Gario and Tea Hvala, 5-7 further participants will collectively write stories imagining alternative forms of living and working organised and intensified in a daily regime. ‘GDR Futurist Writing School’ will also produce a public reading to close the week-long Digest on 26 February.

The four major themes of the exhibition: Domestic Space, Work, Properties and Relations will set the major tensions for that near future while the GDR exhibition works will be invoked in multiple ways-- from catalysts, prompts or props in a story, to historical objects, main characters and offhand references. The ‘GDR library’ will also serve as immediate reference and resource throughout the week. To accommodate and support this collaborative intensive, Casco, one of three venues for the GDR exhibition, will be transformed into a futurist writing camp. The resulting texts of the school will form the backbone of the GDR exhibition catalogue to be published later this year.

If you are interested in participation, please email us at with your motivation by Friday 10 February, 17.00. Contributors will be provided meals, accommodation and transport within the Netherlands and neighbouring cities.


Cup of tea no. #4 Floris Brekelmans, city ecologist

Perhaps cute cartoon rabbits are not so innocent after all.

Unlikely supply of 'morphine' on Nijntje square.

Well, we almost had a cup of tea if it weren’t for the sudden idea to cycle through inner city public spaces of Utrecht past some of the most wicked plant substances unbeknownst to the untrained passer-by.

Floris Brekelmans is urban ecologist and knows the vegetative and animal life of the city like the back of his hand. His research has focused on, but not limited to bats, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and the terrestrial ecology of the city and beyond. Floris lives in the neighbourhood. He stopped by the Grand Domestic Revolution and almost as soon as he had we got on our bicycles with Floris leading the way to show some of the special plant species that do well in Utrecht.

Nijntje Pleintje, down the street from GDR

We sniffed plants that smelled intensely of honey (yellow honey clover) to plants that smell on first whiff like coca-cola to the less appreciable smell of old goat-socks (sorry, I’ve forgotten their names already); to the opium poppies growing abundantly on Nijntje plein (the Dick Bruna Rabbit) and a prolific belladonna plant growing in an alleyway. Floris tells many things about the intelligence and spontaneous life of plants, the way plants cleverly manage to spread themselves beyond the borders of a cultivated garden or dropped from above in a fertile package of bird poo.

Somniferum sap (latex)

Floris will share some of his expertise on a medicinal plant tour of the Bemuurde weerd neighbourhood next Saturday 3 July. More will be posted about times and details of tour very soon.

Atropa belladonna flower. The highly toxic plant said to have been mixed with opium by witches to induce (visions of) flight

26 June 2010, 09.43 — posted by Wietske