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Museum of Bureaucracy

Americans, especially us in DC, are preoccupied with concern about the erosion of democratic norms and a perceived assault on our nation’s institutions. But while the 24-7 news cycle fixates on these external pressures, we hear virtually nothing about the internal corrosion and contradictions of our institutions. We rely on 18th century institutions to meet 21st century challenges. Rather than innovate and renew, we double down on administration, feeding and expanding an autocratic, inefficient bureaucratic beast. The irony is that these very institutions charged with guaranteeing our democracy and individual freedom are at their core undemocratic, individual crushing juggernauts. At a time when trust in government is at an all time low, how can we restore that trust and confidence if the essential nature of bureaucracy is anathema to the values we hold dear? Enter the Museum of Bureaucracy (MoB) – an experiential, pop-up performance art satire that will bring to light the soul crushing, dehumanization of day-to-day life in the bureaucracy and will spur conversation and introspection on what democracy means within the institutions meant to guarantee it. But why will it be awesome? Because it will be a ridiculously entertaining, over-the-top satire, oozing with kaftka-esque dark humor. It will be like if instead of writing A Modest Proposal, Thomas Swift instead opened a food truck. Rest assured that no babies will be harmed, but the sensibilities and comfort level of our patrons will nonetheless be threatened. They will endure the indignities of being yelled at by middle management, of having to send a fax, of having to get clearance to use the restroom, waiting in line for a number only to get assigned to another line, and of sitting through a career counseling session with a box-wine swilling, retired-in-place bureaucrat depicted by an off-season mall Santa. There will be a stress ball pit, a cubical maze, and red tape dispensers. In short, it will be awesome!

Funded by Washington, DC (June 2018)