‘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.


Part 1: Hans

This is my contribution to the GDR; a collection of stories, titled: For Potatoes We’ve Got Potatoes. I translated ‘Een lief verlegen vrouwtje’ (A sweet, shy little lady) by Dutch writer Maarten Biesheuvel, took the text apart and rearranged everything into seven short stories. The different parts highlight the underlying theme throughout the text: labour vs. non-appreciated domestic-labour or housework; the work that isn’t, unless you can pay someone to do it for you.

Part 2: The Director

Maybe I should say something about the title: In a Dutch context the Potatoes refer to two things: Poverty -potatoes as working-class diner and domestic work -the peeling of potatoes. A third thing could be revolution (the throwing of potatoes as a traditional weapon of protest), but in this story no revolution is started or announced.

Part 3: Bies

I think this is a good moment to tell a bit about J.M.A. (Maarten) Biesheuvel:

Biesheuvel (born 23 May 1939 in Schiedam)is a much-appreciated writer of short stories. He lives in a wooden house in Leiden and made name in ‘72 with his debut collection; ‘In de bovenkooi’ (‘In the upper berth’) -one of the most successful debuts in Dutch post-war literature. It contains all themes that continued to dominate his oeuvre. Anxiety and madness, literature and authorship, these form an inseparable combination, both in the life and work of Biesheuvel.

Another, central theme in Biesheuvel’s work is – doomed to fail – the human desire to (re) gain access to Paradise (according to Anton Korteweg in ‘Kritisch literatuur lexicon’). His stories are full of martyrs, of characters who want to change the world, to make it better, but see the opposite happen… (just as in For Potatoes…)

In 2007 Biesheuvel was awarded the P.C. Hooft Prize (Holland’s most important literary prize) for his entire oeuvre. The jury praised him for his bold tone, his strongly associative narrative technique and absurdist humour. This is what Biesheuvel had to say:

‘Maybe they’d better handed it to Arnon Grunberg.’ ‘Now that’s a stud.’ ‘And furthermore, it all depends on coincidences, all-together: I most likely have an acquaintance within the jury.’

Since the nineties, his work ground to a halt. The author is subject to manic depression, for which has been in and out of institutions. However, the better Biesheuvel was able to conjure his insanity, through medication and therapy, the more difficult it became to write;

‘One cannot make up anything, autobiographically I’ve said all that could be said and ideas I don’t have no more.’

Part 4: A friend

Part 5: A sweet, shy little lady

Part 6: Hans Nepperus


'Assembly (The Grand Domestic Revolution)'

Saturday 25 June 2011, 11.00-13.00h
Huis a/d Werf dressing room
Boorstraat 107, Utrecht

June Town Meeting - 'Assembly (The Grand Domestic Revolution)' took place at the Huis a/d Werf dressing room

For TOWN MEETING JUNE Agency speculated around the question: "How can textiles be included within art practices?"


6 July 2011, 11.03 — posted by Casco