If the commons could sing, what would they sound like?
The Autumn 2020 program Common Grounds: Song / Value focuses on the power of songs, lyricism, and common values. The program features artists, musicians, and writers and can be accessed via multiple channels: live concerts by Shishani, Marikit, and Mira Thompson from the “front stage” in Casco’s emptied office overlooking the shared courtyard, or from the musician's home, and small public gatherings “backstage” to tour Casco’s archive, building, and histories; a series of lyrical letters by Geo Wyeth, Urok Shirhan, Shabaka Hutchings, and Angel Bat Dawid distributed by post in collaboration with artist-initiative Dear,; and a new season of radio with Common Air streamed on Stranded FM, featuring musical works from Casco’s archive, outcomes of research around the season’s theme, and contributions from artists and researchers in the fields of art, music, sound, and politics.
The program follows on from Common Grounds: Story / Heritage in Spring 2020, which looked to stories and storytelling as integral to our relationships with land and heritage through commissioned works by Bart Lunenburg, Jumana Emil Abboud, and Kanitha Tith, and stories contributed by many others. Our year-long program Common Grounds is inspired by the historic building and courtyard that we share with neighbors in Utrecht and its potential for cohabitation. Telling stories and singing songs are timeless (and full of time) artistic methodologies that we learn from as we grapple with culture, heritage, property, and value.
From 15 October to 5 November, Casco presents live concerts exclusively online by musicians that embrace the poetic and political within their work. The concerts will be streamed from Casco’s emptied ground-floor office “frontstage” that overlooks the shared courtyard and old platanus tree, or from the musician’s home.
Thursday, 15 October, 20.00–21.00
Thursday, 22 October, 20.00–21.00
Thursday, 5 November, 20.00–21.00
Each musician selected a song which they would like to “common” by leading listeners to sing along with them. Each concert is streamed from Casco’s YouTube channel, and includes live captioning of lyrics for the entire set and NGT (Dutch sign language) interpretation for the song that the musician will lead us in singing along. Please send your audio (if voice) or visual (if sign language) recording of you singing to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will stitch all voices together to create a chorus for each song.
The first-floor exhibition space is transformed into Casco’s “backstage” – the location of the team’s daily work and archival reorganization. Every Wednesday for four weeks starting 7 October, 17:00–19:00 at Casco Art Institute (Lange Nieuwstraat 7, 3512 PA Utrecht), we invite you to come over and experience our archiving process, as well as a tour of Casco and hear many stories of our vast history. Reservations are required, so please contact email@example.com to join. Following safe measures, wearing a mask is mandatory, as well as registration and visitation to occur when no COVID-19 symptoms are present.
For the occasion of Casco’s thirtieth anniversary, over the coming months we are delving into our archives in a process of reorganization, riffling through decades of art and practice, of assemblages by the artist- and community-led collective projects we have presented over the years with great honor and care. By uncoiling the archive together, we aim to shed light on what is considered “past” by taking care of existing or “older” material, re-imagining the notion of an archive that works for the commons. In connection to Common Grounds: Song / Value, this marks a special moment in which we illuminate and contextualize the many musical works from Casco’s archive.
From October to January, together with Dear, an artist-led initiative by Martha Jager and Sophie de Serière, Casco will function as a messenger between writer and reader and distribute a lyrical letter by post each month. Using the traditional reach of the written letter, Dear, seeks to connect readers with poets, writers, and artists, establishing a sense of closeness in a time marked by distance. This second series of Dear, will feature limited edition letters by artists and musicians Geo Wyeth, Urok Shirhan, Angel Bat Dawid, and Shabaka Hutchings.
A link to subscribe as a recipient of the letter will be announced on Casco’s Instagram. The letter will be postmarked from Utrecht at the end of the month.
From November to January, we kick start our new season of Common Air, Casco’s radio broadcast streamed on Stranded FM. The season features musical works from Casco’s archive, outcomes of research around the season’s theme and contributions from artists and researchers in the fields of art, music, sound, and politics. Each episode will stream live from Stranded FM at 14.00 on 19 November and 17 December 2020, and 21 January 2021, or later on Casco’s SoundCloud.
The publication about the commoning process of the Terwijde farmhouse and the background of the Traveling Farm Museum of Forgotten Skills is now available for your reading.Affiliated study lines:: Center for Ecological (Un)learning (CEU)
As we arrive at the last chapter of our adaptive exhibition program Common Grounds: Story / Heritage, we return to the courtyard of our shared space in Utrecht. At the Abraham Dolehof we hear from a final character in the story, a voice previously hidden. Abraham’s Doolhof [Abraham’s Maze] by curator and writer Laura Herman and writer and dramatist Maarten Mertens is a story delivered in the form of a dialogue between the Dolehof, the courtyard, and a clever wanderer, who helps the Dolehof discover a sense of itself. The courtyard is not only an (un)common ground, but also a maze in which different realities collide.
For the final chapter of Common Grounds: Story / Heritage we turn to reflect upon the story itself with a newly commissioned text by Laura Herman and Maarten Mertens.
In collaboration with The Outsiders and our artist-farmers Merel Zwarts and Sun Chang, the Travelling Farm Museum of Forgotten Skills (TFM) begins its regular tours in Leidsche Rijn, at 14:00, every weekend from 4 July onwards, departing from its current depot next door to the Terwijde Farmhouse!
To join the tour Saturday, 4 July or Sunday, 5 July, please let us know in advance via firstname.lastname@example.org – bookings are necessary in light of the pandemic – and importantly come along with a bike to the current depot of the TFM, Ella Fitzgeraldplein 4, 3543 EP Utrecht. Tours will be led by the Museum team with a guest appearance from Historische Vereniging Vleuten De Meern Haarzuilens.Affiliated study lines:: Center for Ecological (Un)learning (CEU)
We are excited to launch Traveling Farm Museum its digital depot, composed by TFM artist-farmers Merel Zwarts and Sun Chang in close cooperation with the Public Engagement initiative at the Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University, led by Corelia Baibarac.Affiliated study lines:: Center for Ecological (Un)learning (CEU)
Casco Art Institute is in solidarity with the movement for Black lives worldwide, and continues to commit to embed equality and justice across all contexts: micro and macro, institutional and everyday.
Positive advice for Casco in light of our subsidies regarding Cultuurnota 2021-2024 “Kunst kleurt de stad’’ by Gemeente Utrecht and for our trans-European collective “Culture for Resilience’’ by the European Union.