THE GRAND
DOMESTIC REVOLUTION

THE GRAND
DOMESTIC REVOLUTION

USER'S MANUAL

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

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.

'The Grand Domestic Revolution GOES ON'

28 Oct – 16 Dec 2010
CHECK IN: 28 & 29 October 19.00-21.00; 30 October 15.00-17.00
'Read-in': 30 October 18.00-21.00
HOME CINEMA: 31 October 14.00-18.00
FORUM: 21 November 14.00-18.00
ACTION: 15 & 16 December 10.00-18.00
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'The Grand Domestic Revolution GOES ON' is a mid-way manifestation of ‘User’s Manual: The Grand Domestic Revolution (GDR), Casco’s long-term ‘living research’ project. GDR explores the potential of the domestic and private sphere as a locus for creating ‘the commons’ – a self-organised form of sharing both material and immaterial resources – by means of artistic, organisational and spatial design operations. The project is titled after a book by architectural historian Dolores Hayden on the late 19th century material feminist design movement in the United States that communalised the spaces of isolated domestic work; they built public kitchens, communal apartments, co-operative childcare facilities, organised their own working and living co-operatives and were involved with town planning. GDR recalls this multi-faceted social movement, and by means of action research, artistic investigations, theory and design/architectural practice, searches for other forms of living that subvert capitalist organizations of society.

What began as a year long project in October 2009 will continue, culminating in an exhibition and publication in October 2011 that will share its research outcomes and potentially act as a catalyst for further projects. An apartment rented as the headquarters of the project continues to be available for residency and visit.

GDR GOES ON is conceived as a reflection of the major activities and investigations developed thus far by articulating key questions through public discussions in different formats. It consists of CHECK IN, a series of events over three days, 'Read-in' a collective activity organised by an ongoing reading group, HOME CINEMA, a screening event at the GDR apartment, FORUM 'Dwelling in the Commons' and the neighbourhood ACTION ‘Turn-Key Home/Two in One’?. MIDTERM MANUAL also accompanies GDR GOES ON.

At a time when the support structures in our lives, such as housing, care systems and ‘privacy’ are absorbed into capitalist operations and become increasingly precarious, GDR proposes to investigate possibilities of other forms of living together.


‘User’s Manual: The Grand Domestic Revolution’ is conceived as Casco’s contribution to ‘Utrecht Manifest–Biennial for Social Design’.


NOTES

GDR Diary 2: Read-In for the possibility of community


Last Friday I participated in the Read-In and the group addressed several important issues from this experience in the feedback session after “reading-in”: the almost instant legitimization of the reading group when referred to as an artistic project, having as its consequence the access to an otherwise unvisitable private space; the legitimacy and ethical implications of bringing a preselected text into our host’s house versus following the host’s own suggestion, albeit with the risk of unexpectedly transforming a speculative action into the provision of a social service; the process of reading a text (its collective translation, interpretation and discussion) as a mediator of the interaction between hosts and visitors, and a subtle articulator of class, gender and ethnicity positions; photographic documentation that has archival intentions versus its possible interpretation as one of observation or surveillance and so on.




The search for community in Yang’s work is connected to a sense of place that is constructed by an individual experience struggling with abstract parameters. In this sense it is imaginary, but not utopian, and is best described through the notion of a “community of absence” or “negative community,” which is characterized by a lack or a denial of any sense of belonging. Einarsson and Yang use concepts of a dystopian, imaginary community in their work, which open up a space of potentiality. (…) The diversity and creativity of participation in experimental communities, the playful “care of the self” of informal communities, and the being-together of imaginary communities that build on the state of absence, correspond to a fragmented and agonistic public space. The concept of a “community” that refuses to function as a manipulative mass united by a common identity eventually implies the potential of resistance. (Nina Möntmann, “Transforming Communities”, 2007, pp. 50-1).

In “A Small Dictionary for Haegue Yang”, Doryun Chong (2008) also points to of the idea of community in Yang’s work. A community is an entity — a concept — that can be empowering and potent, idealistic and utopian, dysfunctional and even destructive. Despite the generally positive social implications it holds, the idea of community is at once complex and oversimplistic, strong and fragile. (…) Yang interprets what she calls the “community of absence” as a “community of the plural that shares nothing but ongoing self-examination and a strange kind of optimism”. Her interpretation is partly inspired by discussions between Maurice Blanchot and Jean-Luc Nancy around Georges Bataille, specifically in Nancy’s La communauté desoeuvré and Blanchot’s La communauté inavouable. Nancy’s reading of Bataille is critically indebted to Blanchot’s notion of désoeuvrement (…). Through this notion, both thinkers try to grasp Bataille’s concept of a community that does not rely on “work”, which is central to the idea of communism and necessarily defines human beings as producers. (…) It is in this light that Blanchot and Nancy try to steer “community” away from “work” and toward “inoperative” “nonwork” that must remain “unavowable” – that is, the community that refuses to acknowledge itself. Both see that when the community is recognized as such, it ceases to be. (pp. 143-4)


24 May 2010, 23.29 — posted by Mafalda

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