What's Left organizes research materials and speculative proposals relating to Bailey's project “What's left to its own devices (On reclamation)” for Casco, Office for Art, Design and Theory in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The book resists traditional categorization, but could be said to present a highly experimental geography which begins with the role of hydrological processes in creating specific spaces of sociability and private retreat. Through this lens, it cross-correlates the historic city of Utrecht and “Slab City”, an ad hoc squatters' camp in the California desert. The mixed narratives of individual freedom and communal living associated with the latter find structural echoes in the wharves of Utrecht. These privately colonized public spaces are unique in the world, and exist only through an almost accidental intersection: that of the city's topography (it is one of the few larger Dutch cities slightly above sea level) and the collective task of managing the regional system of canals to protect low-lying areas (the “water boards” responsible for this task are frequently cited as the first form of democratic political organization in Europe).
Micro-sites in both places are further drawn together using non-linear heuristic methods to forge links across a range of subjects: The Rietveld Schröder House, history of the Colorado River and Imperial Irrigation District, sedimentation and accumulation, delta formation, water diversion structures, barricades as tools of spatial control, DIY culture, the social functions of books and libraries, etc. Additional essays by Emily Pethick, Jan Tumlir, and Lars Bang Larsen examine the project and contextualize it against Bailey's broader practice.
Co-published by Casco