Sun 15 April 2012
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 ACU Kraakspreekuur Utrecht, Katayoun Arian, Kevin van Beek, Cohabitation Strategies, Tamira Combrink, Aetzel Griffoen, Anja Groten, Nazima Kadir, Kraakspreekuur Utrecht, Klaar van der Lippe, Momo, Occupy Utrecht, Merijn Oudenampsen, Bart Stuart, Maiko Tanaka, Mariska Versantvoort, and members of the Socialist Party, Groenlinks, various tenancy organisations 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.
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 email@example.com 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.
‘Our Autonomous Life?’ and ‘Let’s Squat Something’ is produced within the framework of Casco’s project ‘The Grand Domestic Revolution – User’s Manual’.
episode 1 Sun 18 March, 13.00
episode 2 Sun 25 March, 13.00
episode 3 Sun 1 April, 13.00
episode 4 Sun 8 April, 13.00
public forum Sun 15 April, 13.00
Casco’s cooperative sitcom ‘Our Autonomous Life?’ will be broadcast on local television on four Sunday afternoons from 18 March to 8 April 2012 at 13.00 hrs (tune into channel UStad via RTV Utrecht). The final episode, filmed in the half-emptied out space of Casco during the deinstallation of the project exhibition, ‘The Grand Domestic Revolution – User’s Manual’, will make its world premiere through this broadcast series as well.
For those who don’t have cable access, all episodes will be screened on SUN 15 APRIL at the Sitcom Forum at 13.00 hrs where the original cast members and co-producers of the sitcom will address the issues around creating “a sitcom with a message” along with special guests from social housing activism and policy makers. The Forum will situate the sitcom in a broader social movement that strives for alternatives to today’s political and economic systems starting from the urgent issue of affordable living in the Netherlands today.
In addition to the February 24th screening of the sitcom at Casco during GDR Digest, the week-long finnissage of ‘The Grand Domestic Revolution-User’s Manual’ project exhibition events, the sitcom was publicly screened in other places and contexts.
First off, the sitcom was screened and presented by CASCO as part of the Dutch Assembly in the ARCO art fair in Madrid.
Secondly, the Squatting Europe Kollective (SQEK), a group of researchers who focus on squatting and social centers in Europe, screened the sitcom at their conference in New York. The sitcom was screened as part of SQEK’s Living Library at the Interface Archives in Brooklyn.
Third, episodes 1-3 were screened on February 24th at the School of Ideas, a squatted social center that is part of Occupy London with presentation by Nazima Kadir. A report on the event can be found on Nazima’s blog here.
AETZEL GRIFFIOEN is a political philosopher with a special interest in the common. As a former squatter he seeks to apply the principles of free culture into the everyday fabric of the city. Aside from writing, he teaches philosophy at a primary school in Rotterdam-South for Rotterdam Skillcity, co-founded contemporary artspace Dek22 and helped set up a national initiative against the prohibition of squatting.
For more information check out Casco’s GDR project website, www.cascoprojects.org
Join us for the screening of the the third episode and accompanying symposium!
Episode 3: ‘Campaign’
Mon 30 January, 19.00
@ social centre Bos & Lommer–Amundsenweg 1, Amsterdam
The third episode of ‘Our Autonomous Life?’ – Casco’s “cooperative sitcom” based on the private and public lives of a fictional group of squatters in Utrecht – is set in the kraakspreekuur (squatter’s information hour) while the fictional squatter’s group finds itself under the threat of eviction. The story focuses on the ambivalence within the squatter’s movement towards strategic manipulation, the knowledge that is needed in order to lead a successful campaign and the groups’ relation to the outside world.
A small symposium will follow the screenings will make a link between the political ideology and practice of squatting and the broader practice of social housing activism, in light of the decline of the Dutch social housing stock and increasing gentrification. The speakers for the symposium are Kevin Beek, sitcom cast members Bart Stuart and Klaar van der Lippe, as well as the evening’s guest respondent, Thomas from the squatters’ collective De Valreep.
Why Peter cried in the sitcom.
Klaar van der Lippe, a performance artist whose project is everyday life,
will give a short exposé on how alternative and idealistic ways of living
seem to disappear as emphasis on individual home ownership and living is
regarded as economical enterprise. She will explore strategies of survival
for both old and new school idealists.
-Social Housing in the Free Market
Case: Garden village Van der Pekbuurt.
Bart Stuart, chairman of the tenants association Van der Pekbuurt and
visual artist, will give a lecture on the campaign to prevent the Van der
Pekbuurt in Amsterdam from extensive urban renewal. He will reflect on the
process of displacement both from the point of view of a specialist on
alternative urban development and as a resident of the concerned
- Lecture by Kevin Beek
A lecture on the legal and policy rules regarding urban renewal.
Kevin Beek, student at the UvA department of Sociology, has been researching the Van der Pekbuurt for the past 1 ½ year. In his lecture he will focus on the legal and policy rules regarding urban renewal from a theoretical point of view.
- Guest Respondent, De Valreep
As a member of De Valreep, a collective of volunteers, Thomas
is engaged with the campaign for legalisation of the Dierenasyl.
He focuses in particular on the political, juridical and public
aspects of campaigning. Thomas has been invited to respond on
the lectures from the point of view of the squatters’ movement.
For more information check out Casco’s GDR project website, www.cascoprojects.org/gdr