A Collection of Rare Encounters

Category: General

We are at the 2020 Creative Bureaucracy Festival!

Bureaucracy in Art and Culture is featured at the 2020 edition of the Creative Bureaucracy Festival, the international forum for government innovation.

For the festival, I prepared two videos. The first one discusses why there are so few works of art on the theme of bureaucracy and bureaucrats, while showing some of the most well-known examples. The second one presents five of my favourite movies about bureaucracy. Followers of this blog will recognise some of the material, but there are new additions as well.

You can register for free and follow all the events (in English and in German) part of this amazing event on government innovation. Enjoy!

The mission of this site

Bureaucracy would appear to be the very antithesis of Art.

Bureaucracy is rigid, rule-bound, schematic, hierarchical, commanding, conservative, predictable, dull, grey, and despised.

Art is creative, free, vibrant, ephemeral , frivolous, elegant, subversive, cultured, colorful, and loved.

Bureaucracy is the very antithesis of Art.

At the very least, in Western culture, art is constructed as the antithesis of bureaucracy.

That might explain why there is very little art about bureaucracy. High politics has always been in the focus of artistic efforts. More recently, daily life, economic relations, and societal  inequalities have become common tropes of artistic expression. But not bureaucracy and bureaucrats.

It is the mission of this website to collect and curate various kinds of works of art and popular culture about bureaucracy, public administration, and civil servants. The scope of the collection is wide in terms of types of works, genres, and artistic mediums – paintings, novels, operas, photography, films, TV series, and so on. But the scope is narrow in terms of thematic focus – apart from interpretations of bureaucracy and bureaucrats, it covers issues of executive government, but not politics per se, public management but not private business relations,  corruption but not crime and general social delinquency.

The reason to start this website is the belief that such a collection can be assembled only with collective efforts. Works of art about bureaucracy being few and far between, it would take the wisdom and knowledge of a wide and diverse set of individuals to build a comprehensive archive.

Feel invited to contribute by suggesting relevant works to include or sharing your interpretations about them. We would be happy to publish guest posts and link to relevant content.

You can also follow this website on Facebook and Twitter.