Justo Pastor Mellado. Art critic/Independent curator
Writing about culture in Chile, at the end of this year? There are two things: one internal, one external. The first is that there has been a change of Minister. At least, the new minister knows what he's talking about. Then he has exposed the violated fragility the state apparatus in Arts & Culture, reshaping the foundations of what should be a future ministry.
Chile has no ministry of culture, rather a National Council for Culture and the Arts, created just over ten years ago, based on a disappointing division of culture that was embedded in the Ministry of Education. The conversion of this institutional mediocrity in a new institution has been one of the most interesting experiences in terms of mounting devices to meet their own ends and end up reproducing their own justification for existence.
Culture, in Chile, is what is defines by the pragmatic budget bureaucracy of the CNCA. The names of things covers over more than what things are able to sustain. It is a model of behaviour. Here's a case in point: the president of CNCA has the rank of minister, even though he has no capacity to sign. He appears in the photos of the cabinet. A new ministry means a minister with the capacity to sign in their own name and be granted an autonomous budget. So in Chile, when it comes to the culture minister, we speak of an incomplete minister. It is something innate in the system. We learned to name this incompleteness as a culture of cover-up.
The main task is to set up the fiction of a project that results in a Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage. If we have been mediocre and ineffective in the first two tasks, you can imagine what will happen in the allocation of a third. Moreover, when the aim of the project is to advance from the vulnerability of the object to the vulnerability of the device. That is to say, that being the intent of this last production management opinion of vulnerable peoples, the new minister has a mandate to deal with the vulnerability of the unit itself that complies poorly with the function that was assigned to it.
Culture is above all the lived-supported service that deals with culture. Heritage, as the initial memory of the oligarchy, is a space that has experienced a forced democratization, depending on the development of a nascent tourism industry, making any meaningful display into a theatrical business unit. This is what happens at the institutional level. That is the whole plane of desirability, having to deal with an army of direct and indirect civil servants that who have found a work niche in culture, as I said at the beginning, reproducing themselves to the point of achieving the tax recognition category of cultural manager, whose productivity, strictly speaking, has little impact on GDP. Against this background, the only thing we can hope for next year is that the new minister will do well. That is, they manage to assemble their fiction and they convert it in a project of law.