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Triennale Art
& Dunkerque
Triennale Art & Industrie Dunkerque Hauts–de–France

Human resources

This chapter of the exhibition explores the established term “human resources,” which underpins a utilitarian view of human beings, sees individuals as a means to an end, and strengthens economic productivity doctrines.

This section proposes to return to the literal meaning of the expression to glean a better understanding of the resources unique to humans, from cognitive power to the individual and collective ability to resist energy misuse. The works presented here see individuals as fully fledged social agents able to actively contribute to social change. 

The visit begins chronologically with a performative action by Joseph Beuys in 1972, which addressed the environmental paradoxes of liberal democracies. It continues into the 1980s, with artists such as Ellen Lesperance and Pauline Hisbacq exploring the ecofeminist initiatives rolled out at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in the UK, where for 19 years women’s collectives peacefully protested the installation of nuclear weapons. The section’s chronology is concluded by works by Minia Biabiany and Bertille Bak who, through widely different visual and narrative approaches, explore the intersections of colonialism, primitive accumulation of capital and environmental crisis.

Together the works in this chapter examine the ability of the collective body to diversify means of resistance, from ritual-like initiatives such as circles of silence, to the use of mirrors when confronting the police. These struggles underscore how important it is to recognize different forms of oppression and highlight the ways gender and inequality intersect with the challenges of environmental protection. They reveal the diversity and humanity of the social body.

This chapter can be seen at the Frac Grand Large — Hauts-de-France.