'Let's Squat Something'
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 Aetzel Griffoen, Nazima Kadir, Merijn Oudenampsen, Kevin van Beek, Sebastiaan Capel (D66), Cohabitation Strategies, Tamira Combrink (GroenLinks), Abel Heijkamp (Bond Precaire Woonvormen), Kraakspreekuur Utrecht, Momo, Occupy Utrecht, ‘Our Autonomous Life?’ cast members Katayoun Arian, Anja Groten, Klaar van der Lippe, Bart Stuart, Maiko Tanaka, Mariska Versantvoort, 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 the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org “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. Can’t make it in person? Check out the live streaming of the Forum online at www.ourautonomouslife.info.
‘Our Autonomous Life?’ and ‘Let’s Squat Something’ is produced within the framework of Casco’s project ‘The Grand Domestic Revolution – User’s Manual’.
For further information on the sitcom please check the sitcom project websiteand/or the curatorial introduction online.