Ecosystemic shift at Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons

As an organization committed to prefiguring post-capitalistic modes of living together through artistic practice and the commons, Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons has been moving in a modality of un/learning and experimenting with radical forms of community building and sharing. As an extension of this process, we are excited to announce a change in the organization. Prompted by a transition in directorship, and a desire to care for the institutions that nurture life, collaborators from Casco Art Institute, in connection with the Arts Collaboratory network and beyond, have taken responsibility for steering Casco’s continuity and re-composition in an ecosystem-centered way. This translates into a compact team dedicated to the daily care and maintenance of the organization in close dialogue with a newly formed cooperative committee of advisors and partners who connect with the broader ecosystem. Their programming will bring a trans-disciplinary collective curatorial practice based on decolonial, feminist, and queer approaches to commoning. 

Thus, with deep appreciation we bid farewell to Binna Choi as director for the last fifteen years, while welcoming her into her new role as a curatorial advisor. Since 2008, Binna has been driving, inspiring, and caring for Casco, shaping it into the organization it is today. She initiated Casco’s first long-term, trans-disciplinary project Grand Domestic Revolution,andhas led the institution in its study and practice of the commons and un/learning beyond the logic of representation. She also relocated Casco to its current central venue, the former school building in the Abraham Dolehof in Utrecht’s Museum quarter. Furthermore, her significant contributions include broadening the organization’s scope and engagement beyond Europe, in particular through its relationship with Arts Collaboratory, a translocal ecosystem consisting of 25 diverse organizations around the world focused on art practices, processes of social change, and working with broader communities beyond the field of art. This partnership is pivotal to the current organizational transformation.

Succeeding Binna, Aline Hernández and Marianna Takou will collaboratively lead the organization in their roles of Artistic Director and Executive Director, respectively. Aline Hernández is an exhibition curator, a long-time collaborator of Casco, and a member of Arts Collaboratory through the Mexico-based cooperative Cráter Invertido. Marianna Takou joined Casco’s team in 2018 after many years of volunteering during her studies in sustainable development, and has been essential in cultivating Casco’s affective culture of relationships. Aline and Marianna have spearheaded the current organizational transition with the Casco’s team and board, while structuring the new cooperative committee. The committee includes artist and educator Annette Krauss and cultural worker Wan Ing Que from the Utrecht community, alongside researcher and writer Nuraini Juliastuti from Kunci Study Forum & Collective and artist Reza Afisina from ruangrupa, both members of Arts Collaboratory and respectively based in Leiden and Amsterdam. As mentioned, Binna also joins the committee and more members will be announced in due course.

In this spirit, we are happy to announce that this Autumn, DOEN Foundation and Casco will be hosting the next edition of Arts Collaboratory Assembly in the Netherlands with the member organizations. The annual assembly is integral to how Arts Collaboratory operates as a translocal ecosystem, and provides member organizations with the opportunity to exchange knowledge, address issues in a mode of collective study, and engage in decision-making processes. We welcome the community to join us at the assembly’s public events, in particular when we convene to discuss Casco’s ecosystemic shift in conversation with other organizations from the network that have undergone similar transformations.

“Everything falls into place” is the phrase that has followed us through our current transition at Casco Art Institute. It’s our joy to share it as a powerful reminder to trust processes of change from within and take steps toward commoning in and from art institutions.

Image description: A group of ecosystem members gathered in front of the building during the opening of the Nina bell F. House Museum at Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons on Saturday, 27 May 2023. Photo: Chun Yao Lin. Design: Seo Kyung Kim.

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