When I started this project, the last thing I imagined was that I would be writing this post, praising the British Government for its openness and start an international comparative analysis on how different bureaucracies across the Western World deal with data: art data in particular.
Growing up in a Mediterranean country like Italy, one learns pretty soon that bureaucracy is shrouded in mystery and that mystery is the substance of power as it offers to its holders the opportunity to enjoy abusive behaviors that are presented as a divine right to break the law in favor of friends in respect of the ‘natural’ laws or as a simple abuse of the law as a manifestation of a pecking order that serves the purpose of keeping everyone else in their place.
In the next series of posts related to the topic – FOI Freedom of Information – it is my intention to publicly showcase not just the visualizations but also the modalities of interaction between MoCC and a variety of national bureaucracies. This was not the initial aim of the project – since MoCC is focused on art and economics. Nevertheless it is my opinion that bureaucracies – their efficiency vs. inefficiency, openness vs. closeness – play a large role in the economic and cultural growth of a country. Since in order to collect data we will have to communicate with a variety of bureaucratic organizations, the documentation of this process should not add too much work to our schedule but I believe will provide greater insight into understanding how different countries operate.
Therefore, as we start the survey and collection of data from a variety of countries, I have decided to publically share my experience, and that of the people that will be working with me, and make a comparative analysis of the modalities with which different bureaucracies operate. It may be that some interesting data will emerge – for example through the visualization of processing times – that will allow deeper reflections and understanding on the operational methods that characterize a country. If this analysis will just stop at the level of anecdotal evidence – it will nevertheless contribute a small record of what it meant for artists and curators to operate during the Great Recession.