December 7, 2008 - Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons - Generale Staten (General States)
December 7, 2008

Generale Staten (General States)

Image from the game-performance at Babel, Utrecht
photo: Maarten Kools

Mieke Van de Voort
Generale Staten (General States)

11 December 2008 – 25 January 2009

Wednesday 10 December 2008, 18:00

Nieuwekade 213-215
3511 RW Utrecht
The Netherlands

Casco, Office for Art, Design and Theory, under the new directorship of Binna Choi, presents an exhibition of the project ‘Generale Staten (General States)’ by artist Mieke Van de Voort. The opening will take place on Wednesday 10 December 2008 at 18:00 hrs with ‘Welcome to General States’, a speech performed by the artist. The exhibition will run until 25 January 2009.

‘Generale Staten (General States)’ revolves around the story of a quarantined town in the middle of an as yet unidentifiable, virulent and deadly epidemic. This story was played in the form of a physical game by a group of recruited participants. During the preparatory workshop and subsequent performance, the participants actively shaped the game as a collaborative and performative inquiry into the organization of power, imagined and enacted from different points of view, including authorities, individuals and unlabelled collectives. The result is recomposed and presented at Casco, to be accompanied by a game manual anticipating its replay.

Referencing the “Staten-Generaal”, an assembly of representatives of the Dutch provinces that became the parliament of the new Dutch Republic in the late 16th century, ‘Generale Staten (General States)’ proposes to rethink the power of gatherings, meetings and communality from the bottom, particularly under the threat of an invisible danger that could contaminate and affect anyone, any social organ. Instead of being fully scripted, the game is designed with a rudimentary storyline, a minimal set of rules and a stripped-down setting, which serve as tools for the players to exchange and negotiate their different “states” – psychological, ideological, intellectual, physical – as they are gradually transformed during the play. Operating within a loose structure that allows a new temporary reality to be imagined and practiced, the players become active performers who double as citizens, acting and making decisions for the forms of their co-existence, breaking the borders between reality and fiction, between playfulness and seriousness and between pain and joy.

Mieke Van de Voort (b. 1972, based in Amsterdam), working with various media and carrying on different forms of inquiries, has consistently explored mechanisms of power and the possibilities for individuals and collectives to make change within the existing social system. ‘Generale Staten (General States)’ stands in this line of her ongoing exploration. Making use of different contexts and organizations, this project will also evolve in collaboration with other international art institutions such as The Showroom in London, with which Casco is establishing a continuous collaboration.

Please also note: game manual launch on Friday 23 January 2009 at 19:00 hrs. This publication can be ordered via email (

About Casco:
Casco, established in 1991 in Utrecht, is committed to the production and presentation of interdisciplinary projects and participatory activities initiated with artists and designers. Its primary focus is on the areas where art, design and theory intersect to form critical, imaginative and collaborative inquiries into our social and physical environment.

Office for Art, Design and Theory
Nieuwekade 213-215
3511 RW Utrecht
The Netherlands

Casco. Office for Art, Design and Theory

Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons
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