ETMAC



The Extra-Territorial Ministry of Culture (ETMAC) is an imagining of what such an institution might look like. We explore the idea through a slide deck presented by two ‘career bureaucrats’ in a performance of deliberate, even banal, bureaucracy (refer to the accompanying figures, presented here with relevant portions of the presentation script). Set in 2021, four years into the future, the performance imagines a fully formed and operational Ministry, actively administering to a global diasporic community of Arab artists and cultural producers. The deck, a quintessentially bureaucratic communiqué, describes the mission and vision of ETMAC in phrases that, though institutional in their verbiage, are highly focused. The performance uses bureaucratic and corporate mental models – a map of where the Ministry operates, an organizational chart with functional verticals, a 10-year strategic plan – to root ETMAC in actual institutional practice. The functional verticals reflect what we believe to be the most urgent needs of the Arab art community, both globally and in their home countries. A policy advisory vertical produces critical guidance and consultancy to rehabilitate damaged cultural institutions when war ends. A collective bargaining and artist advocacy vertical directly addresses the living conditions and precarity of diaspora artists by channelling resources. A repatriation advisory office assists artists in navigating emigration processes as well as facilitating the voluntary return of artists and their output to their home countries as conditions improve.