(Winter, 2013. Print ISBN 978-1-906496-88-3; eBook ISBN 978-1-906496-89-0)
The term ‘human strike’ was forged to name a revolt against what is reactionary even – and above all – inside the revolt. It defines a type of strike that involves the whole of life and not only its professional side, that acknowledges exploitation in all the domains and not only at work. The human strike is a movement that could potentially contaminate anyone and that attacks the foundations of life in common; its subject isn’t the proletarian or the factory worker but the ‘whatever singularity’ that everyone is. This movement isn’t there to reveal the exceptionality or the superiority of one group or another, but to unmask the whateverness of everybody as the open secret that social classes hide.
Founded in 2004, the Paris-based collective artist Claire Fontaine declares a position as a ‘readymade artist’. Having assumed the name of a popular French brand of notebooks, her practice centers on the production of works in neon, video, sculpture, painting and text. Her neo-conceptual art targets the exchangeability and disintegration of notions of authorship. Her position stems from the awareness of the shared condition of political impotence and the crisis of singularity within contemporary society today.
Anthony Huberman: You’ve said, ‘Claire Fontaine is composed of assistants, its management is an empty center.’ By wanting to be nothing more than her assistants, what are you running from?
Claire Fontaine: Being assistants […] represents an explicit position of cooperation, where compromises and discussions are very important and where the cult of the romantic, self-centered, and inspired artist is finally pulverized. This is an emancipating position: refusing to be victim of a stereotype is always very liberating.
– from an interview with Claire Fontaine by Anthony Huberman, Bomb/105, Fall 2008
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As the financial crisis fastens its grip ever tighter around the means of human and natural survival, the age of the algorithm has hit full stride. This phase-shift has been a long time coming of course, and was undoubtedly as much a cause of the crisis as its effect, with self-propelling algorithmic power replacing human labour and judgement and creating event fields far below the threshold of human perception and responsiveness.