The Speculative Diagram

An exhibition of diagrams by Stephen Willats that offer new philosophical, social and ideological visions of social relationships.

28 February–6 April 2008 / Casco HQ

Casco’s program concentrates on the crossovers between the fields of art, design and theory, and the relationships of these fields to wider social, political and cultural contexts. In the early 1960s British artist Stephen Willats began situating his artistic practice between the fields of art and design, calling himself a “conceptual designer,” and also began to take his work out of the gallery and into broader social contexts. For these projects he often employed the diagram as a tool to illustrate dynamic flows of information and relationships within social networks.  

Willats started using diagrams in his work during the late 1950s. These developed further through his interest in cybernetics and Black Box theories, where the diagram was employed as a speculative tool for mapping systems. Willats saw this as having the potential to describe social relationships and to offer new philosophical, social and ideological visions.  

At Casco a selection of diagrams are presented alongside a new series of posters that will be distributed around the city of Utrecht. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated booklet with a new text by Willats that specifically addresses the role of diagrams in his art practice.  

Multiple Clothing

Thursday 28 February, 15:00–18:00

In the mid-1960s Willats initiated the project Multiple Clothing, a series of interactive clothing, which he sporadically continued until 1998. For Casco Self Expressions, a clothing design from 1997, will be produced for the first time and worn by five performers in and around Utrecht city center.


This project has been generously supported by the Mondriaan Stichting and Gemeente Utrecht.

Special thanks to the following people who participated in Multiple Clothing: Peter Fuchs, Sybren Renema, Aafke Weller, Abdul Azis Majene, Lila Zotou.

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