Culture de la GrèveOctober 17, 2006 at 11:28 am | Posted in art, vie quotidienne | 8 Comments
I wandered over to the Centre Pompidou the other day, hoping to buy a museum membership (both Yves Klein and Robert Rauschenberg are showing now, and there’s no way I can do all that in one day), but I found it unexpectedly closed.
Transcription: En raison d’un mouvement sociale, le centre Pompidou est ferme aujourd’hui. Veuillez nous excuser pour la gene occasionnee. / Owing to strike action, the Centre Pompidou will not be open to the public to day [sic]. We apologize for the inconvenience.
And scrawled in the middle is the word “méchants”, roughly translated to “jerks” or “meanies”.
Nearby, someone went to the trouble to post their own make-shift notice:
“Culture on strike, or culture of striking?” (Even in graffitti, the French always manage to be witty and sardonic.)
I have to admit, though, I was a little surprised at the sentiment. I haven’t been following French news much, so I have no idea what the strike was about, but in the past I have generally found the French to be very supportive of each others’ strikes: I know from experience that one small labor conflict can rapidly shut down the whole country as everyone strikes in solidarity.
I don’t know why there was so little support for this particular strike, but it’s worth remembering that Pompidou is more than just a tourist site. In addition to housing the national museum of modern art, the Centre also contains a public reference library, a music research institute, and various other educational spaces. A lot of people come there to work or study, so I guess they were a bit put out. In a generous (or maybe accidental) gesture, however, it appears that Pompidou had left its WiFi on, even as the building was closed: all around the museum, people were crouched crankily on the ground, their laptops propped up on their knees.
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