‘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.

The Grand Domestic Revolution GOES ON – LONDON

Where: The Showroom, 63 Penfold Street, London NW8 8PQ
When: 12 September – 27 October 2012, Wednesday to Saturday, 12-6pm
Opening: Tuesday 11 September 2012, 18.30h–20.30h

With: AND Publishing, ASK! (Actie Schone Kunsten), Domestic Workers Netherlands with Matthijs de Bruijne, Andrea Francke, GDR Library, Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad, kleines postfordisches Drama, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, Our Autonomous Life?, Read-in, Helke Sander, Joseph Williams, and Rehana Zaman.


design by Kaisa Lassinaro

'The Grand Domestic Revolution (GDR)' is an ongoing ‘living research’ project initiated by Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht as a multi-faceted exploration of the domestic sphere to imagine new forms of living and working in common. GDR continues today – GOES ON! – evolving in different scales and extensions, taken up and transformed in different cities, sites and neighbourhoods by those who desire to carry on the GDR from their own home base or by those already engaged with it in their local languages and practices. This way, GDR suggests a different form of “travelling project” and mode of international collaboration.

At The Showroom, GDR’s first international partner organization, an exhibition of contemporary and historical artworks and a diverse and growing reference library will form a base for workshops and events that will develop the GDR further, while they will forge connections and affinities with The Showroom’s ongoing programme of neighbourhood-based commissions – 'Communal Knowledge'.

Inspired by US late nineteenth-century ‘material feminist’ movements that experimented with communal solutions to isolated domestic life and work[1], GDR has been involving artists, designers, domestic workers, architects, gardeners, activists and others to collaboratively experiment with and re-articulate the domestic sphere challenging traditional and contemporary divisions of private and public.

[1] This history was excavated by architectural historian Dolores Hayden in her seminal 1981 publication, 'The Grand Domestic Revolution: A History of Feminist Designs for American Homes, Neighborhoods and Cities'. More information can be found at the publisher's website here.

GDR library installed at Casco

The works in the exhibition employ a wide range of methodologies to playfully problematise domestic issues such as work at home, housing rights, property relations, family economies, neighbourhood struggles, and range from the satirical to social critique and activist actions. These include GDR’s cooperatively produced sitcom, Our Autonomous Life? (2010–11); Pauline Boudry and Renata Lorenz’s housewives’ manifesto Charming for the Revolution (2009); Rehana Zaman’s Like an Iron Maiden Trapped Between a Rock and Hard Place (2010); and two ‘shadow plays’ produced by domestic workers in the Netherlands in collaboration with Matthijs de Bruijne (2011 and 2012), and public cleaning actions by a group of cultural workers intersecting art work and domestic work, ASK! (Actie Schone Kunsten). A new video work by artist Joseph Williams, a member of the homeless artist collective Seymour Arts, will be produced and presented.

If you are in London, please drop by The Showroom and take part in GDR!

A full list of works and events will be available on The Showroom’s website

The Grand Domestic Revolution GOES ON is the umbrella name for various offshoots and extensions of the The Grand Domestic Revolution project. The programming of GOES ON has grown organically out of the shapes and trajectories emerging from this long term project, which has so far manifested in the publication of the GDR GOES ON MIDTERM MANUAL and an accompanying event series in October 2010 as well as this exhibition tour to The Showroom. Watch out for future GDR GOES ON moments!

The Grand Domestic Revolution GOES ON—LONDON is realised in the framework of COHAB, a two-year project initiated by The Showroom, Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht and Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm, supported by a Cooperation Measures grant from the European Commission Culture 2007-2013 Programme. The Grand Domestic Revolution GOES ON has been additionally supported by Mondriaan Fund, Arts Council England, Outset Contemporary Art Fund, as The Showroom’s Production Partner 2012, and The Showroom Supporters Scheme. Communal Knowledge is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and John Lyon’s Charity.

GDR has been supported by Mondriaan Fund, Utrecht City Council and Stichting Doen.

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



The well-experienced housekeeper of Utrecht: jam maker and house doctoress

Manual for house keeping and domestic pharmacy

The new, well-experienced housekeeper of Utrecht: jam (confiture) maker and house doctores shares her knowledge of all kinds of preparations of healthy dishes, desserts, sauces, jellies and confitures and at the same time the simplest and best medicines (De nieuwe welervarene Utrechtsche keuken-meid, confituurmaakster en huis-doctores: mededeelende eene menigte bereidingen van velerlei gezonde en smakelijke spijsen, nagerechte, saussen, geleijen, confituuren en tegelijk van de eenvoudigste en beste geneesmiddelen). This is the full title of a cookbook and a collection of domestic ‘remedies’ published in Utrecht in the 1769. What immediately came to my attention was that aside from the fact that this must be a very extensive manual for housekeeping, is the combination of cooking and home pharmacy. Domestic knowledge of medicines had a value that lost its ground with the dawn of the industrial age, before urban epidemics (as in the cholera epidemics of 19th century) gave rise to public health organisations and institutionalisation of power and knowledge. I’ve ordered a facsimile for the GDR library not out of sentimental nostalgia of pre-industrial housekeeping, but to understand a bit more the everyday knowledge that this user’s manual advocated about making dishes, jams and medical prescriptions.

28 June 2010, 20.18 — posted by Wietske