Giving space to save lives

Dear all communities of Casco Art Institute,

First and foremost, we hope you are holding up during this time. The unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite paralysis, isolation and distance, makes us realize how interconnected we are and have been, how interconnected we want to be and need to be.

This pandemic is something that “we,” across several generations, are experiencing for the first time in our lives. The word pandemic has Greek roots, meaning all (pan) and people (demos). Indeed, its effect seems to apply to all people and bring our sense of daily life to a halt. The commons as social relations in its broadest sense has been brought into sharp relief.

Yet what this rampant and global “negative common(s)” reveals is that there are in fact countless different, uncommon situations and circumstances that debunk the idea of all people. Some people’s health is severely threatened due to impaired immune systems, chemical injury, and age, whereas others may not even notice if they are infected by the virus or not. To some the virus is mortal. Some people can slow down, work from home, and even take time to analyze and speculate on what’s going on, whereas others are ever busy under time and labor pressures to keep people well and alive with health care and emergency service, and expansive reproductive work, and to maintain the basic infrastructure of production and circulation of water, electricity and food. Some are actively participating in mutual aid, info sharing and online gatherings, whereas others simply can’t do anything with confusion and uncertainty or are seized by anxiety about the losses to come. Some, such as gig workers and undocumented domestic workers, are losing their entire income streams. Even worse, some are (becoming) houseless without ways to self-quarantine or access food. And they’re not only far away but right here in “our” towns and cities. Certainly there are some who take the pandemic as an opportunity for more power and control and/or for new business and profiteering, whereas others plea for the galvanization of diverse social movements to usher in non-capitalist social and political systems. This discrepancy unfolds across geographies as well as deep within ourselves. Many of us are seeing our values, philosophies, and beliefs in a new light. Thus the most pressing question and main challenge for the commons as always remains how to care and share with others. This applies equally to an art institution such as ours, not to forget that the “we” in the field of art belongs to different situations and circumstances too, and that art will always be vital for the making of new meanings, forms, and possibilities to life.

With this bare reflection, we the team at Casco Art Institute issue this first newsletter after the one three weeks ago that announced the temporary and current closure of our office and exhibitions until further notice. We will begin to share widely again. Please follow the main points below, stay well, and contact us (info@casco.art) if you have a question or need help. Until then, expect to read from us again soon. 

Warm regards,
The Casco team
Binna, Erik, Marianna, Rosa, Sun, Staci


Take action

Urgently donate and connect: Indonesian Migrant Workers’ Union

Most of the members of Indonesian Migrant Workers’ Union, one of our long-term and close-collaborating communities, are in a dire situation. They have lost their jobs as domestic workers and consequently their means to buy food and, likely soon, to keep their homes.

Once again the community shows how powerful they are in organizing to support each other by arranging and distributing weekly emergency food packages. Yet this cannot be done without donations from anyone who has the room to do so. Please donate to R. Saptari. NL93 INGB 0006 3903 55. To learn more about how to “give what you can,” see The Sliding Scale: A Tool for Economic Justice

Please contact us if you have a spare house to host them, or have access to empty spaces of accommodation. Please also share the contact information for the local politicians (The Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam) who could help this arrangement.

Gently display and distribute the poster: “Giving space to save lives”

We have asked New York City–based artist, writer, organizer, and friend Taeyoon to make three illustrations to complement the global public messaging on the practice of so-called social distancing, which you can find at play in public spaces around the world, as well as in shops such as supermarkets, pharmacies, and book stores. The invitation was inspired by our neighbors who have been posting and/or displaying on their windows heart-warming messages and images. For the coming three weeks we will dispatch a new graphic from Taeyoon. 

Please download the graphic here to print, distribute and/or display. In case you don’t have access to a printer, please email Rosa Paardenkooper at rosa@casco.art so that we can mail or deliver to your home.

Share the documentation of your action via email (info@casco.art) and/or link us on social media (@whereiscasco on Instagram, @cascoutrecht on Facebook).

Learn more about Taeyoon’s beautiful and informative practices such as School for Poetic Computation and Distributed Web of Care

Kindly wait for the new dates and forms for our program activities: Common Grounds: Story / Heritage, Travelling Farm Museum of Forgotten Skills, and so on.

Since our headquarters in Abraham Dolehof in Utrecht remains closed, we have been reconsidering and reconfiguring our planned activities together with the artists to adjust and share in other forms and on other dates, while considering the best digital solutions during this time. Stay tuned for updates and upcoming invitations.

Ongoing resource list, including mutual aid efforts, practical information, and art/cultural work in the Netherlands

Compensation for freelancers: ZZP (self-employed people) can apply for benefits (max. 3 months).
Tax authorities to apply for postponing tax payments 
News and update on the visual art sector by Platform BK.
– Contact Het Juridisch Loket for free legal advice
– A guide for international students and artists in the Netherlands from the Rietveld and Sandberg Student Union 

Please contact us (info@casco.art) to share any other useful info to be further known to art and cultural workers in the Netherlands.

Utrecht & beyond

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3512PA Utrecht
The Netherlands

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