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.

FORUM ‘Let’s Squat Something’

Sun 15 April 2012
13.00-16.00

 

design: Abake



Following the final episode broadcast ‘Our Autonomous Life?’ – a cooperative sitcom about the personal and politically entwined lives of a fictional group of squatters after the 2010 squatting ban in The Netherlands – Casco invites you to a Forum around the question, should squatting go on?

With Aetzel Griffoen, Nazima Kadir, Merijn Oudenampsen, Kevin van Beek, Sebastiaan Capel (D66), Cohabitation Strategies, Tamira Combrink (GroenLinks), Abel Heijkamp (Bond Precaire Woonvormen), Kraakspreekuur Utrecht, Momo, Occupy Utrecht, 'Our Autonomous Life?' cast members Katayoun Arian, Anja Groten, Klaar van der Lippe, Bart Stuart, Maiko Tanaka, Mariska Versantvoort, and others.


On 1 October 2010, an official ban on squatting (kraken) was put into effect in the Netherlands, criminalising the practice of occupying unused and empty spaces for living that had been tolerated by Dutch law since the 1970s. After one and a half years of resistance actions and demonstrations against the ban from within the squatting community, there has been little public debate on this new precedent in Dutch housing law.

A more visible debate is the one on the decline of the Dutch social housing stock, increasing gentrification and displacement of low-income communities to peripheral zones; however, many of these issues related to precarious housing are also common to the squatting movement. It is undeniable that a growing conservatism in lifestyle and living spaces is taking place, revealing that “the social” in relation to housing is at a crucial moment in the Netherlands while th economic, social and political debate on housing is gradually disappearing from the public realm. But where does the practice of squatting fit within the resistance to these changes?

On 15 April 2012, Casco calls on UStad/RTV Utrecht viewers, squatters, students, researchers, politicians, civil servants, activists, philosophers, urban planners and anyone concerned about the current housing situation in The Netherlands to the Forum, ‘Let’s Squat Something’ gathering around the question: should squatting go on?

We feel the need to gather a critical mass of stakeholders to explore what it means to “house the commons”: getting a collective grip on housing conditions in the Netherlands today, the relationships between the practice of squatting, social housing, privatisation and the cultural sphere and challenging our assumptions about various forms of housing and our individual situations to it. Based on these investigations we search for new affinities and community formations directed towards collective action.

‘Let’s Squat Something’ also marks the fourth and final episode of Casco’s cooperative sitcom ‘Our Autonomous Life?’¬ (broadcast on Sunday 8 April through the local TV network, UStad / RTV Utrecht) and is an attempt to create a singular space and instigating experimental occasions for community. Excerpts from Episode 4, which have viewers witness the dilemmas, debates and transformations of the squatters that lead up to their inevitable eviction from their home, will be used as discursive and aesthetic reference.



Join us!

The Forum will take place at Casco, located at Nieuwekade 213-215, Utrecht on Sunday 15 April, 13:00-16:00. Admission is free. If you missed the previous broadcasts, visitors also have a chance to view Episodes 1-3 inside Casco’s space during the event. The event will be in English.

Reservations are appreciated. Please send name(s) to info@cascoprojects.org with “sitcom forum” in the subject line and a few lines (100 words max) about your interest in the event from whichever positions or situations you wish to share on the issues. A compilation of statements will be emailed to all reserved participants in the days before the event, and will also be made available on Casco’s website at www.cascoprojects.org. Drop-ins are also welcome. Can’t make it in person? Check out the live streaming of the Forum online at http://ourautonomouslife.info/video.

‘Our Autonomous Life?’ and ‘Let’s Squat Something’ is produced within the framework of Casco’s project ‘The Grand Domestic Revolution – User’s Manual’.

For further information on the sitcom please check the sitcom project website and/or the curatorial introduction online.




Follow us on Twitter @ (Casco_Utrecht) and Facebook!

Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory
Nieuwekade 213-215
3511 RW Utrecht, The Netherlands
T/F: +31 (0)30 231 9995
info@cascoprojects.org

NOTES

Urban farming in Havana

Source: BBC Two’s Future of Food
By Sarah Murch


Climate change, drought, population growth – they could all threaten future food supplies. But global agriculture, with its dependence on fuel and fertilisers is also highly vulnerable to an oil shortage, as Cuba found out 20 years ago.

Around Cuba’s capital Havana, it is quite remarkable how often you see a neatly tended plot of land right in the heart of the city. Sometimes smack bang between tower block estates or next door to the crumbling colonial houses, fresh fruit and vegetables are growing in abundance. Some of the plots are small – just a few rows of lettuces and radishes being grown in an old parking space. Other plots are much larger – the size of several football pitches. Usually they have a stall next to them to sell the produce at relatively low prices to local people. Twenty years ago, Cuban agriculture looked very different. Between 1960 and 1989, a national policy of intensive specialised agriculture radically transformed Cuban farming into high-input mono-culture in which tobacco, sugar, and other cash crops were grown on large state farms. Cuba exchanged its abundant produce for cheap, imported subsidised oil from the old Eastern Bloc. In fact, oil was so cheap, Cuba pursued a highly industrialised fuel-thirsty form of agriculture – not so different from the kind of farming we see in much of the West today. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the oil supply rapidly dried up, and, almost overnight, Cuba faced a major food crisis. Already affected by a US trade embargo, Cuba by necessity had to go back to basics to survive – rediscovering low-input self-reliant farming.

Oxen replaced tractors when Cuba became a low-fuel economy. With no petrol for tractors, oxen had to plough the land. With no oil-based fertilisers or pesticides, farmers had to turn to natural and organic replacements. Today, about 300,000 oxen work on farms across the country and there are now more than 200 biological control centres which produce a whole host of biological agents in fungi, bacteria and beneficial insects. Havana has almost 200 urban allotments – known as organiponicos – providing four million tonnes of vegetables every year – helping the country to become 90% self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables. Alamo Organiponico is one of the larger co-operatives, employing 170 people, built on a former rubbish tip that produces 240 tonnes of vegetables a year. There is a wide range of crops planted side by side and brightly coloured marigolds at the edges.

“We produce all different kinds of vegetables,” says farmer Emilio Andres, who is proud of the fact that his allotment feeds the local community. “We sell to the people, the school, the hospital, also to the restaurant and the hotel. “It’s important because it’s grown in the city, it’s fresh food for the people, it’s healthy food, and it provides jobs for the people here too. “We don’t spray any chemicals. We only spray biological means like bastilos – a bacteria and fungus to kill the pests. And we use repellent plants like marigolds to keep away the pests. “When I see all of these healthy crops, without too many pests, grown without any chemicals, it’s amazing for me – I am making a contribution for the people that get healthy crops, healthy products.”

As well as marigolds, basil and neem trees are planted around the containers to keep the aphids and beetles at bay. Sunflowers and corn are also planted around the beds to attract beneficial insects such as ladybirds and lace wings. Sticky paper or plastic funnel-shaped bottles are positioned throughout the beds to trap harmful pests that do get into the garden. And the methods work. Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, herbs and many other crops are grown in huge quantities and sold cheaply. Mangoes are 2 pence (3 US cents) a pound. Black beans 15p (25 cents) and plantain, just 12p (20 cents). At the time of the oil shock, average calorie consumption in Cuba dropped by a third to dangerously low levels. Since then they have bounced back and Cubans eat just a little less than people in the UK. The biggest difference is that a Western diet includes about three times as much food energy from animal products like meat and dairy. The Cuban diet is much less fatty and requires less fuel to produce. A far less varied diet than in the West, it is also much healthier. The standard lunch for the farm workers is black beans, potatoes and rice. Cuban agricultural researcher, Fernando Funes reckons the rest of the world has something to learn from the Cuban agricultural story. “Well, do you have oil forever? And there also other considerations like global warming, nature conservation… the conventional way of farming generates a lot of damage to the environment and to human health. “Developed countries as well as developing countries should pay a lot of attention to this kind of agriculture which takes care of land, people, environment and is also efficient and productive. You can combine both.”


5 January 2011, 21.32 — posted by Doris

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