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Citizens

Curator: Neta Gal-Azmon 6.4.2017 - 5.8.2017

"The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to
undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office. If another Gunpowder Plot had been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody would have been justified in saving the parliament until there had been half a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official memoranda, and a family-vault full of ungrammatical correspondence, on the part of the Circumlocution Office."
The opening of the Kafkaesque chapter, "Containing the Whole Science of Government," in Charles Dickens's novel Little Dorrit (1855—57), offers an acute, satirical discussion of class, capital, and government. Mika Milgrom tried to read the chapter's 17 pages to clerks and officials in various government ministries and offices, who unknowingly picked up the phone. The National Insurance Institute of Israel, Israel's Income Tax Office, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, Customs, the Jewish National Fund, the Ministry of Interior, the Standards Institute of Israel, the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality, Israel Airports Authority, the Ministry of Construction and Housing, the Ministry of Justice, the Israel Patent Office, the Israeli Knesset, and the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv — were all harassed by her repeated phone calls, until she succeeded in reading each of them one page from the aforesaid chapter.
Knocking on closed doors with a defiant text addressing the impotence and smugness of fate-determining clerks who specialize in "sitting and doing nothing," resulted in a role reversal, since the caller was not interested in conversion, a visa, an emigration permit, citizenship, or any other service, but rather protested out loud against the bureaucratic indifference and arbitrariness of the law.


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