- OUR AUTONOMOUS LIFE? (OAL) is a new ‘cooperative sitcom’ initiated by Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory in Utrecht, with episodes that offer a humorous glimpse into the interpersonal conflicts and political struggles of a fictional squatter living group in The Netherlands – co-created by participants with stakes in communal living practices today (such as squatting, co-housing and other living groups prevalent in the Netherlands). The cooperative process is inseparable from the production of the sitcom. Each member of the team takes responsibility for the multiplicity of tasks necessary to create a television show, from drawing up plots, writing scripts, designing set props, location scouting, serving tea, acting, up to casting.
On one level, the sitcom is the creative representation of an ethnography of the Dutch squatting movement combined with the cast’s own communal living experiences. On another level, OAL serves as a workshop to generate ways to accommodate different positions of participants,and weave the personal and political narratives of ‘living together’ in funny and artistic ways.
This website was initiated by the sitcom participants to connect process with content and provide the background research for each episode to our viewers. It’s designed as a platform to lay bare and reflect on our collective processes publicly, as well as account for what we are learning together in the meantime. The blog also stays in tune with the squatting movement and shares the struggles that emerge due to the dismantling of social housing in the Netherlands today.
- After producing two episodes, new questions have come up for the sitcom team. A particularly delicate matter concerns how we address the conflicts emerging within our own interpersonal working processes and if its useful to represent the team’s internal dynamics in the sitcom’s storyline itself. Further details on the process of making the episodes, changes in direction, new ideas and opportunities can be accessed in the Process section of this website.
The sitcom is now in production for Episode 4 and will be broadcast on UStad RTV Utrecht starting on March 18. See the home page for current public screening information.
The cooperative sitcom was developed with four episodes unfolding with live screenings at Casco and various venues in the Netherlands from November 2011 – April 2012. It was also be broadcast on RTV Utrecht from March – April 2012.
Watch episodes of the sitcom here.