‘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.


The trajectory of the seminars thus far visited a series of interconnected topics: the participatory architectural practice in the 60’s (November: with Axel Wieder), Tia Ciata’s open house, a model of social and communal housing in Brazil in the late 19th century and early 20th century (December: with Wendelien van Oldenborgh), the housing struggle, gentrification and the role of art and architecture in contemporary society (January: with Martha Rosler, Graziela Kunsch, Andreas Müller), domestic labour, alternative economy and design practice (February: with Marina Vishmidt). This time the group visits an actual site with a radical spatial approach (Rietveld Schröderhuis ) and explores actual urban landscapes by traversing through the stratum of different districts with Friso Wiersum. After the tour, they reconvene at the “GDR house” to discuss their ongoing research-projects in order to strategize the actualization of them. The meeting is be joined by Ruth Buchanan who’s reconfiguring the Casco space as a last station of her itinerant project Lying Freely that delves into the space of negotiation between private-ness and the “public” space, freedom and relationship.

The Rietveld Schröderhuis
Marked by its openness and flexibility, Rietveld Schröderhuis is one of the most reproduced buildings in the world and the group uses this occasion as an opportunity to experience its dynamic, changeable open zone architectural configuration. This is also benchmark architecture for artist Ruth Buchanan who approaches the house as a location of mutual demands and adoptions – a polyphony of closedness and openness as articulated in the spatial design.

Friso Wiersum
Wiersum is an Utrecht based journalist who covers political and cultural items and contributes essays to several institutions, including Tumult. Wiersum has worked for several cultural en social organizations since 2001 such as GroenLinks internationaal, Festival Globalisering and Alert Youth Foundation. Besides his work at Tumult, where he is head of portfolios Architecture & City planning and Politics, Wiersum is head of the Foundation Cultural Aid board, board member at Kaasschaafcollectief, and a project leader at ’Arts-in-Conflict’ at Vrede van Utrecht.

Wiersum’s lecture takes form in the shape of a bike tour through various neighbourhoods in the city introducing contact local initiatives and people whilst learning the city’s structure and organization in order to improve how one may productively engage with the it. Associatively, the tour focuses on issues of gentrification and popular discontent in the urban landscape and took the following exemplary locations:

14.00 Wilhelmina Park.
Short introduction of Utrecht and it’s plans for the future. Growth towards 400.000 inhabitants, the new city Leidsche Rijn, the plans for 2018 and 2028, the political history of Hoog Catharijne and thus the rise of Leefbaar Utrecht.

14.30 Arrival at Abstede. A small village like neighbourhood with it’s history as ‘foodproducer’ of Utrecht. The local residents organised a festival in 2008 to highlight their special neighbourhood and fight the coming gentrification. The project developer the hit by crisis and did not develop his plans for huge flats. But what is to be done with the open space?

14.45 Arrival at Ledig Erf.
A location in town everybody wants to develop. It seems like last week a new decision was taken, and it is going to happen. Ledig erf used to be outside Utrecht’s city walls and was thus a thriving area for bars, [un]official trade and hotels. Some of it is coming back now that the city wants to construct a new train station at the bridge crossing the Jutphaaskanaal, wants to build new quays for tourists to park their boat, and the likes. But in the meantime the Ledig Erf is an['empty area'] indeed remained empty. How come?

15.15 Cycling via the Croeselaan [and it's adjacent gated community Parkhaven and Dichterswijk - full with poetry on the walls] we arrive at ‘De Kop van Lombok’. Stories on the ‘multicultural success story’ of Utrecht, the plans for the new mosque, the new separated traffic plans – all in order to have a fluent entry to the now developing station area.

16.00 Cycling via the Toren van Babel and the adjacent planned new neighbourhood.

16.20 Arrival at the Information centre.

Ruth Buchanan
In her work Ruth Buchanan addresses how artistic legacy characterises artistic agency in the present and does so by working in various forms and tones- video, text, sculpture, sound, 35mm slide and readings, bringing these various elements together in choreographed spatial and temporal arrangements and situations. She completed her MA (Fine Art) at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam in 2007 and is a recent research graduate from the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht. Buchanan has shown her work in Europe, Australia and New Zealand and actively initiates and contributes to print based projects.


Victory Garden

No Work

No Garden

No Work

No Spuds

No Turnips

No Tanks

No Flying Fortress

No Victory

Bear that in mind, all you Victory Gardeners and work for VICTORY!

Propaganda film for the Victory Garden during WWII here *Embed video here

26 January 2011, 11.52 — posted by Doris