‘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.


Saturday 26 February 12.00-15.00h
GDR apartment, Bemuurde Weerd 18, Utrecht

Still of Berwick Street Collective's 'Nightcleaners Part 1 (1975)'


This month TOWN MEETING follows the discussion and screening event we had last October on how to critically engage with domestic and invisible labour.

  • Introduction: GDR 2011 plan by Binna Choi and Maiko Tanaka
  • Screening of Nightcleaners Part 1 (1975) by Berwick Street Collective (Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, James Scott and Humphry Trevelyan), 90 min
  • Presentation by one of the leaders of FNV Domestic Labour Union Campaign
  • Question 1: Who is taking responsibility for domestic and other invisible labour? How does it matter to our daily life?
  • Question 2: How should the situation be changed? What means do 'we' have for it in the field of diverse cultural practices? (Nightcleaners Part I as an example)

We will screen the 1975 documentary film, ‘Nightcleaners Part 1’ which charts the unionizing movement of women cleaners who were being victimized and underpaid for their work in cleaning office blocks at night. The film uses challenging forms of narration in attempts to implicate the filmmakers and the viewers themselves in the processes of precarious, invisible labour. The screening of ‘Nightcleaners’ brings us to the present moment, through presentations and discussions with campaign leaders of the very active and innovative domestic labour sector of the FNV Labour Union of the Netherlands. We will hear from them about the processes involved in their campaign and what form their movements take to mobilize workers and employers to campaign for better working conditions for cleaners.

This will be followed by a discussion and group brainstorm of the ways that artistic and design practice in solidarity with movements for better living and working conditions for all, may take form.

After the meeting, we will leave for the opening of the final part of ‘Play Van Abbe: The Pilgrim, the Tourist, the Flaneur (and the Worker)’ at Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven.

Article, ‘The Nightcleaners (part one) Rethinking political cinema’ by Claire Johnston (1976)
Brochure download of FNV Bondegenoten Domestic Worker Rights

‘Nightcleaners Part 1′ is screened courtesy of Lux, London, introduced to Casco by artist Petra Bauer.

* Title is taken from the first line of Marina Vishmidt's essay 'Self-Negating Labour: A Spasmodic Chronology of Domestic Unwork', published in GDR GOES ON MIDTERM MANUAL (p.53).


Balcony Openings

Back balcony view of 'We were here'

During the sunny afternoon of last Saturday, at the GDR apartment Doris Denekamp in collaboration with Arend Groosman presented their project MEAL MACHINE, and also We were here, a project by Paul Elliman in collaboration with graphic designer Na Kim, artist and gardener Hans van Lunteren and ecologist and gardener Rob van de Steen was presented.

The inner panel and graphic designer Na Kim presenting 'We were here'

Now it is possible to identify the plants from both front and back views of the apartment with ‘ We were here’ panels.

Interior view of 'MEAL MACHINE'

The 'Meal Machine' and one of the 'We were here' panels on the GDR balcony

Sometime in mid-Spring, a meal will be prepared with the plants that were sown in the presented hi-tech greenhouse – the MEAL MACHINE. Email us at to receive updates on the harvest date!

31 January 2011, 16.53 — posted by Casco