Translator's Introduction: Pension Arts in Dubai

2010

In 2007, I was asked to join the Dubai branch of the Artist Pension Trust (APT). A private company established in 2004 by a savvy entrepreneur and a risk-management guru, APT aims to select and pool artists and artworks into regional investment and pension funds, of which it has thus far established eight. APT is owned by MutualArt, a British Virgin Islands-registered company whose assets include the Web site by the same name.

 

To determine whether to join APT Dubai, I found myself asking who was funding APT and MutualArt, and why was APT launching a trust in the Middle East. This led me to look into technological innovations in the areas of statistics; risk-management concepts in finance; art as an alternative asset class; culture as an engine of economic growth in the Arab world and elsewhere; text, data-mining, and face-recognition algorithms; and the Israeli military and its links to the Israeli high-tech sector. All of which led to the tableau presented here, which I regard as a stage set for an accompanying oral presentation in which I narrate my findings.