Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory was founded in 1990 in Utrecht, the Netherlands, as a platform for experimental art. Since 1996, Casco has developed a critical programme that explores art in the public realm, questioning the relation between art and its physical, social and political environment.
Central to Casco’s approach has been openness and flexibility towards programming, with projects taking multiple forms; be this in public space, a publication, a discussion, a workshop, exhibition, symposium or event. Since 1996 Casco has also sporadically published its own magazine, Casco Issues.
In 2005 Casco took the new title of ‘office for art, design and theory’ in order to set a wider agenda towards an interdisciplinary practice that not only seeks to address these areas independently, but to venture into their cross-fertilizations, shared concepts, critical discourses, and their connections to other fields. Central to our investigation into these fields are the relationships between theory and practice.
Casco maintains a questioning approach to culture, which is also applied to its own position in the cultural field. Besides pursuing different modes of artistic production, Casco seeks to open its own infrastructure up to experimentation in order to push the position of a visual arts organisation, both in the fields of art and design, and in wider social, cultural and political frameworks.
After 15 years of being based on the Oudegracht, in January 2007 Casco moved to a new space on the Nieuwekade, which has an interior structure designed by Berlin-based designers ifau (institute for applied urbanism) and Jesko Fezer, titled ‘Shack and Fence’ which provides a flexible framework for the different formats that we work in.
Casco was directed by Lisette Smits from 1996 to 2005. She was succeeded by Emily Pethick in August 2005; in June 2008, Binna Choi took over and is the current director.