The piece that stood out was an elaborately carved Bureau of Bureaucracy by the artist Kim Schmahmann. As Schmahmann explains in the accompanying video, the cabinet on the outside looks quite functional and resembles a regular Cabinet of Curiosities, common in many European homes. But the exterior is deceptive. Under the veneer of “solidity, legitimacy, authority, purpose, cohesion, and permanence” are hidden crazy dysfunctional drawers, contradictory compartments, twisted game boards, and a collection of documents representing artist’s interactions with bureaucracy—from his birth certificate to a yet to be filled death certificate.
The bureau is whimsical and witty but the most amusing thing was something I am not sure the museum intended. You couldn’t come close to the cabinet to figure out any of its intended meaning, as it was roped off and had sensors on the periphery that were not very well marked. So every minute the alarm went off when someone unintentionally got too close and a guard magically appeared to warn you not to come too close. What was on the inside and the meaning of the cabinet could only be understood if one watched an accompanying video in the next room. Satire of bureaucracy ensconced in its own bureaucratic setting.
I guess there is no escape!