THE GRAND
DOMESTIC REVOLUTION

THE GRAND
DOMESTIC REVOLUTION

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

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.

'CENTRE FOR COOPERATIVE LIVING'

Sepake Angiama with Sam Causer and Doris Denekamp
2010
activities and device

What can you achieve by getting to know your neighbour? This question, central to CENTRE FOR COOPERATIVE LIVING, is an open one in the sense that it does not take for granted the value of neighbourliness. It is a response to the neighbourhood of the GDR apartment where we failed to find any sign or site of community. To get things moving, curator Sepake Angiama organised a ‘Meet Your Neighbour’ day. During the event a few participating neighbours mentioned one example of such a communal space in Utrecht: the public vegetable gardens, or ‘moestuinen’ in Dutch, in the centre of a large housing complex. According to our neighbours, this was where community cooperation takes place, with the specific, in-between architecture of the ‘Moestuin’ creating conditions that perhaps break down the barrier between the public, the private and the domestic.

In response, Sepake decided to create a ‘gender neutral’ garden on the GDR apartment balcony, designing it with support from architect Sam Causer who developed a structure to be operated by more than one tenant: to rotate plants and others through the chains on wheels. However, the built structure did not find tenants to use it and carried with it intrinsic technical problems. It remains as a provocative proposal.

installation view of bicycle wheel structure nestled among other 18B Pavilion objects


preliminary sketch by Sepake Angiama and Sam Causer


Check out the video of the balcony garden device when it was functioning here.


Locations: Volksbuurt Museum, 18B Pavilion
Themes: Domestic Properties


All photos by Emilio Moreno unless stated otherwise


NOTES

GDR Diary 4: Out loud


I believe that, in a way, most of the GDR library’s documents can be read as possible approaches or tentative answers to the question that was mentioned in one of the earlier posts — how can a community of readers be transformed into a community of engaged, yet post-utopian individuals?

On the one hand, it seems that most of the texts that comprise the library share the underlying assumption that reacting towards specific emergencies is not sufficient; these authors (political activists, artists, architects, designers, art historians, writers and others) seem concerned with the redefinition itself of the structuring of space (here, following Lefebvre, conceived as a political, social, economic and physical construct), which presupposes a certain detachment vis-à-vis one’s own situatedness. I am thinking about books such as Democracy — A Project by Group Material (1999), Did Someone Say Participate?: An Atlas of Spatial Practice (2006), Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism (2008) and Make Everything New: A Project on Communism (2006), for example. But on the other, the subject of criticality is an individual, an embodied actor. As constrained, as busy, as alive as any of us.

Inspired by last week’s Read-In, I was reminded of this when reading parts of Dolores Hayden’s The Grand Domestic Revolution (1982), and decided to read the beginning of its introduction out loud as a way of reflecting on the materiality of the lives of the women whose struggles the book describes. My reading is imperfect, incomplete, unaccomplished: The Grand Domestic Revolution- Introduction Δ.


25 May 2010, 23.37 — posted by Mafalda

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