Quo vadis ars?

The situation in the cultural sector has been described and discussed in numerous interviews, corona diaries, comments and reports in the past few weeks. Our annotated collection of currently 188 sources gathers voices from different sectors and media. This creates a picture of the cultural landscape in crisis, whose temporal transformation can be explored interactively via a dedicated tag cloud.


 

Diese Normalität darf nicht zurückkehren . Am Sinn für tatsächliche Relevanz herrscht im Kulturbetrieb erschreckender Mangel
This normality must not return . There is a frightening lack of a sense of actual relevance in the culture industry

by Peter Grabowski (01 Feb 2021)
Original source: Politik & Kultur

With a persistently high incidence value, Yilmaz Dziewior, the director of the Museum Ludwig, expressed the assumption in a mid-January interview on Deutschlandfunk that the museums will reopen in mid-February. In his commentary, Peter Grabowski takes this statement as an opportunity to reflect on the overconfidence of cultural workers in Germany. Democracy is not in danger just because the public is not allowed into museums and theatres. These are leisure facilities. Central social issues have long since ceased to be negotiated in a leading role in cultural institutions . Social media and the mass media play a much more central role in discourse here. Therefore, Grabowski calls on cultural practitioners to leave their ivory tower, acknowledge the reality of the pandemic and think about how cultural institutions can regain more relevance in society.

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tag Kulturszene Relevanz Selbstüberschätzung Yilmaz Dziewior Quo vadis ars Lockdown
All sections Kommentar

So gefährlich war die Kunst noch selten . Aber der Kultur-Shutdown trifft uns alle
Art has rarely been so dangerous . But the culture shutdown affects us all

by Roman Bucheli (30 Dec 2020)
Original source: NZZ

Culture is currently banned from public space. This not only puts the livelihoods of cultural workers at risk, but is also a drastic experience for the community. The community lacks a place in which to experiment, formulate dissent, or test out ideas. Unlike in politics, the aim is not to assert one's own position, but to stimulate a discourse that forms a critical public sphere and thus drives the development of society. If it allows the individual to see the world with different eyes and to face the demands of everyday life more equanimously, an important task of culture is the humanization of society. Although art can also be enjoyed in isolation, it requires public space in order to help shape it. Karl Jaspers defined the public sphere as a prerequisite for truth, since the individual can only face up to debate in the public sphere. His disciple Hannah Arendt even spoke of the »venture of the public sphere«, since humanity can never be won in solitude. It takes public space to build a network of thoughts and relationships that encounter ideas from others and are considered before an audience. This is how a many-voiced conversation emerges. We are currently experiencing in online meetings that this is not possible in virtual space. The individual can cope with the absence of this analog exchange for a while, but society will break down in the long run.  

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tag Gemeinwesen Öffentlichkeit Humanität DiskursKarl Jaspers Hannah Arendt Widerspruch
All sections Kommentar

Kulturzeit extra: Theater im Lockdown
Kulturzeit extra: Theatres during lockdown

by Vivian Pekovic (Moderation) (18 Nov 2020)
Original source: Kulturzeit

The German TV program Kulturzeit focusses in this issue on the situation of the theaters during lockdown. The first contribution inspects the situation at the Volksbühne in Berlin. There, the project »Spielplanänderung« (Change of play program) aimed to bring back to the stage unjustly forgotten plays by important authors. But now the theatre is not only fighting for the authors, but also for not being forgotten as institution. The actors not only play, but also discuss the role of the theater. What bothers them about the political discussion is the disrespectful tone, because they all agree that the theater offers an important outlet for society. It is the place for a discourse on topics that are discussed by a broad audience. They consider it a luxury to be allowed to rehearse, yet the current situation costs a lot of energy - especially since for many actors who do not have a permanent contract with a theater, the income breaks off. The demand that the theaters be allowed to reopen soon is not only demanded by cultural workers, but also by the Senator for Culture in Berlin, Klaus Lederer.

The theater critic and author Simon Strauß developed the program for the ›Change of program‹. He points out that it is currently dangerous to over-adapt as theater and to play down one's own status. Subsidies and the standing of the theater as a psychological and humane institution could be lost.

An important experience for the actor Lars Eidinger was not being allowed to play for seven months. During this time he realized that for him, working on stage is the creative center of his work. For him, the central characteristic of theater is immediacy, which no other medium can achieve. However, he sees the theater not as a moral institution, but rather as a free space in which one does not have to distinguish between good and evil.  

However, there are also voices that demand that theater professionals use the crisis to reflect on their own position. Simon Strauß is one of these voices. He would like to see the creative people emerge from the crisis with a new form of consciousness. For the theaters this means, among other things, revising play programs, making them more diverse. But new formats must be developed on stage. He sees streaming only as a substitute, a consolation for the time until the houses can play again. For him theaters make an important contribution to the psychological edification of people with their immediacy, with their way of raising questions. This has to be defended self-confidently against politics, especially in view of upcoming budget cuts. Theater - as Strauß puts it - is more than systemically relevant, it is »decisive«.

In addition to the theaters, however, other cultural institutions are also threatened by the crisis. Although it is still allowed to perform in Switzerland, many institutions survive mainly because of their parallel cafe and bar operation. The few spectators who are admitted to a performance make it almost impossible to work economically.

One of the few cultural institutions that are allowed to open in Germany are the galleries. They enable the artists at least not to be completely forgotten - after all, they not only suffer from the threat to their existence, but also from not being allowed to show their works. Nevertheless, it is also difficult for galleries to assert themselves on the market at the moment, because new groups of buyers cannot be addressed at present. So the question here is also how art and culture can be valued and rewarded as an essential good for society in the future.

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tag November-Lockdown Theater Krise als Chance Unmittelbarkeit Streaming Simon Strauß Lars Eidinger Volksbühne Galerien Quo vadis ars
Performing Arts/ Cinema Kultursendung

»Wir sollten uns nicht hyperüberschätzen« . Amelie Deuflhard zum Theater-Lockdown
»We should not hyper-overestimate ourselves« . Amelie Deuflhard about the theatre lockdown

by Amelie Deuflhard, Vladimir Balzer (05 Nov 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

Planning reliability is what cultural institutions need most urgently at the moment. The employees at many institutions continue to work, but the feeling of producing into a void is a great burden for many. Amelie Deuflhard, artistic director of the 'Kampnagel' theatre in Hamburg, does not want to follow the suggestion of the artistic director of the Schaubühne, Thomas Ostermeier. Just in solidarity with the free theaters, the houses must continue to be played in, even if the situation is uncertain. Nevertheless, she would also like planning reliability, bec ause if a closure beyond November was already determined now, then the houses could consider alternative concepts for their spaces and use the closure for conceptual considerations. Although Deuflhard believes that many theaters in Germany are on the right track, she nevertheless warns that the theater in the present time still appeals to the educated middle classes. Developing new concepts here, also leaving the traditional spaces, addressing target groups and working on the diversification of the theater are some of the tasks that could be tackled. She even goes to that lenghts in times of crisis as to suggest other meaningful tasks for the theater staff - reading aloud in nursing homes, helping out at the health department.
Of course, the state-subsidized institutions in the present are much more likely to allow a positive view of the future than privately run institutions and solo self-employed persons. The precarious employments of the freelancers are also on Deuflhard's imaginary to-do list for crisis closure. Here, however, politics would also have to get involved and consider how to provide rescue for this group to help them survive such a crisis. Here, an unconditional basic income or a solidarity fund are just two ways of stabilizing the sector so that it does not collapse again if a new crisis occurs. It should also be borne in mind that bureaucracy can be reduced as much as possible.  
Finally, she points out that all international cooperation is currently frozen. This means that not only an important form of cultural exchange is missing, in many countries there is also no support for artists during the crisis.

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tag Theater Planungssicherheit Privilegien Kultur als Chance Grundeinkommen Demokratisierung Solo-Selbständige
Performing Arts/ Cinema Gespräch

Kultur in Krisenzeiten: Mit Vernunft!
Culture in times of crisis: With reason!

by Axel Brüggemann (27 Oct 2020)
Original source: SWR 2

Where is the trust in current cultural policy? Axel Brüggemann focuses on this question in his commentary on the situation of the theatres in Germany. Despite various series of events accompanied by scientists, in which no infection with corona could be proven, the theaters and other cultural organizers are currently the victims of the political wobble. They can no longer see any sense in the regulations: With only 50 visitors left, as the current corona regulation in Bavaria stipulates when the incidence value of 100 infected persons per 100,000 inhabitants is exce eded, even a highly subsidized house is facing ruin. After some artistic directors had already resisted the closure of their houses during the spring with little success, a final rebellion of cultural workers seems to be taking place. That is dangerous. On the one hand, the cultural workers will look for other platforms, which may also be made available by corona deniers. On the other hand, the stages are important places for democratic discourse and fact-based debate. They are thought leaders, experimental fields and innovative institutions. If they can only play the play »Struggle for Survival«, then not only do they no longer fulfil their function, but they also fight on behalf of our open and enlightened society.
And if it should become unavoidable to close the theaters, Brüggemann demands that they be given another platform for discourse. Free streaming not only lacks the appreciation of artistic work, but is also not the right format for discussion in an open-minded society.

 

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tag Theater Hygieneregeln Bühne als Diskursraum Streaming Inzidenzwert Wertschätzung
Performing Arts/ Cinema Kolumne

Große Säle, wenig Plätze: Lohnt sich das ganze Theater? . Corona-Schutzbedingungen
Large halls, few seats: Is the whole theater worth it? . Corona protection conditions

by Marc Grandmontagne, Anne Schneider, Karin Fischer (05 Sep 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

The format "Streitkultur" at the German radio station Deutschlandfunk juxtaposes two opposing positions, which are represented in the dialogue. The aim is to give listeners the opportunity to examine a complex topic from different angles and then form their own opinions. The question of the current situation of the theaters in Germany offered little potential for debate for the two guests of the program - Anne Schneider, managing director of the Federal Association of the Free Performing Arts, theater director and festival organizer, and Marc Grandmontagne, man aging director of the German Stage Association (Deutscher Bühnenverein). Both agreed that the German theaters need to close ranks at the moment in order to jointly point out their situation and maintain public support.
The discussion thus offered insights into the current situation at the theaters. The demand of the Bühnenverein to allow the cast to follow the chessboard pattern in the theaters, since the danger of infection is demonstrably very low at cultural events with fixed seats, was also presented, as was the plight of the privately run houses. The funds to be distributed within the framework of the Neustart Kultur program will mainly benefit the non-publicly run institutions - however, many program areas have not yet been advertised, since the allocation of funds and the budgetary review of their use still have to be clarified.
Marc Grandmontagne pointed out that one should not be mistaken about the fact that Corona has hardly created any new problems, but rather acts as a catalyst that has brought to light the precarious conditions in many theaters and venues. The situation will not become any easier in the coming years when the public budgets are empty. Nevertheless, one must not forget that culture is a central task of the state. Public institutions such as day-care centers, swimming pools or municipal theaters must not be played off against each other because they are all important for society, its development and cohesion. In addition, no budget can be consolidated at the expense of culture. Rather, the potential that these facilities offer should be used and even unusual approaches should be pursued to shape the future.

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tag Theater Schachbrettmuster Streaming Neustart Kultur Kulturförderung Systemrelevanz
Performing Arts/ Cinema Interview

Lieber Maler, male mir! . Diskussion über Kunst in Coronakrise
Dear painter, paint for me! . Discussion on art during Corona crisis

by Ingo Arend (08 Jul 2020)
Original source: TAZ

Under the title »Painting by Numbers - Art in the Corona Crisis«, the Green Party in the German Bundestag invited to a discussion about a group that currently plays hardly any role in the public discourse about the Cornona Crisis: the visual artists. At the moment, there is great concern that the money from the economic stimulus package will flow into the support of museums and cultural institutions, but that the artists themselves will go away empty-handed.
The author Ingo Arndt is somewhat irritated by the fact that in the discussion about possible s olutions to the precarious situation of  artists, the idea of a New Deal, which Hans Ulrich Obrist brought up in April, has not been taken up. A large-scale acquisition project for museums and public institutions launched by the German government could offer a way out of the crisis by commissioning visual artists.

 

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tag Grundeinkommen Neustart Kultur Konjunkturpaket Die Grünen Lobby New Deal Erhard GrundlHans Ulrich Obrist
Visual Arts/Design Bericht

Pro: Kunst ist Kulturverständigung - und deshalb politisch . Pro und Contra Kulturreisen
Pro: Art is cultural understanding - and therefore political . The pros and cons of cultural travel

by Nicolas Freund (05 Jul 2020)
Original source: Süddeutsche Zeitung

Cultural trips are more than luxury? Historically, art has long been reserved only for the ruling classes. If one follows the thesis formulated by the writer John Berger in his essay "Ways of Seeing", the consideration of art is not only a democratic act, but also a place of confrontation with the past precisely because of the detachement of the ruling caste. The change of perspective in the present makes art at the same time an ideal place for the negotiation of social discourses. Therefore, one should not recklessly give up the privilege of participating in a rt events, just because it is a little more difficult to reach exhibition cities at the moment.

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tag Bildende Kunst Kulturtourismus Original Demokratie Austausch
Visual Arts/Design Diskussion

Zerreißprobe für die Buchmesse
Ordeal for the book fair

by Sandra Kegel (04 Jul 2020)
Original source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The Frankfurt Book Fair is not only an important economic factor for the industry, it is also a historical institution, as it can look back on an intellectual tradition and five hundred years of history. In the current crisis, the fair management, together with the Börsenverein, has decided to hold the fair this year, but to distribute many events throughout the city. Now it has become known that the city of Frankfurt wants to expand the trade fair concept for 2021 to include music and gaming. The outcry in the book industry is huge. It is to be hoped that the book fair concept will survive this crisis as well.

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tag Literatur Buchmesse Frankfurt
Literature/ Text Bericht

Event- und Konzertveranstalter in Not . Aktion „Night of Light“
Event and concert organizer in distress . Campaign: „Night of Light“

by Tom Koperek, Stephan Karkowsky (22 Jun 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

On the evening of 22 June 2020 concert halls, theatres and live clubs are taking part throughout Germany: Their buildings illuminated in red did draw attention to the problems of the event industry at the "Night of Light". Since the event industry is a very heterogeneous branch of industry with over 150 subsections, it is difficult to make them visible in the political discourse.

tag Night of Light Veranstaltungsbranche Berufsverbot Solo-Selbständige Soforthilfe
All sections Interview

A subtle vision welcomes visitors on the front page of facing arts: an animation of black and white artist portraits that have a questioning, challenging or just curious eye on the visitors. In the foreground changing quotes from the commented collection of articles »Quo vadis ars?« are sliding. These short highlights give an overview of the current discussion about the arts in times of Corona. The names of the cited persons link to the respective text in the review collection. Facing arts documents the diversity of the cultural landscape and at the same time opens up a discourse space reflecting the importance of the arts in the present.

Facing Arts - «Fear Eats the Soul»

Closed concert halls, theaters, museums, literary houses, libraries and cinemas are not only an expression of a society in a state of emergency, but also a sign of a crisis that is particularly hard on the creative industry. For artists, the closure of all public and private cultural institutions does not only mean a ban on work, which for most people goes hand in hand with an immense drop in sales. At the same time, the prescribed social distancing also means that personal exchange and interaction, as they are not only important for musicians, actors, writers and acrobats with colleagues, and the public, but also at the same time the development of new project ideas and thus the acquisition of new orders for the coming months is hardly possible. It is the crisis after the crisis that has l left many cultural professionals in a state of shock. With reference to Rainer Werner Fassbinder's film Angst essen Seele auf [engl. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul], the chairman of the German Cultural Council Olaf Zimmermann has found a fitting picture for the current situation. The aim of facing arts is to counteract this rigidity,

Artists showing their face – 25 times per second

In facing arts, the many hard-to-understand faces of creative artists in Germany and beyond condense. The projection thus creates a new form of publicity at a time when Article 8 of the German constitution is largely overridden and public demonstrations are not possible. Artists gather here virtually, not only to draw attention to their situation, but also to demonstrate their right to practice freely. In this way, the public also becomes aware of how large the anonymous number of solo soloists in the cultural sector actually is. 188,332 active artists are registered in Germany's Artists' Social Welfare Fund (KSK) alone.

Quo vadis ars? – »cultural« memory of the crisis

But speed does not only play a role in the facial animation, but also in public discourse. Who remembers at the beginning of June 2020 how the situation of the artists was assessed in March. What forecasts were made and which artistic genres are currently being given special consideration in the discussion, in other words, who is supported by the media and thus receives a voice and who does not? The commented collection of contributions "Quo vadis ars?" is intended to trace the development of the discussion. The question raised again and again about the function of art and culture in society can thus be answered.
In the quotations on the front page of facing arts, individual actors have their say. The short statements are taken from the collection of articles. Each time the page is called up, nine portraits and five quotations are called up at random. The animation with the black-and-white portraits in the background of the page is meant to arouse curiosity about the project facing arts and at the same time to make people think about the individual fates of the artists in the face animation collective.

Facing arts gives culture a face. Therefore everyone working artistically in the broader sense is invited to participate. At times when there is a debate about whether the cultural sector has a lobby, our goal is to show how many and how diverse we are.

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The Team

Facing arts is a projet by STORM.

STORM is an acronym playing with the initials by Miriam Seidler & Tim Otto Roth, who are hit both by the Corona crisis. Dr. Miriam Seidler is a scholar in German literature and currently works as specialist in public relations. Dr. Tim Otto Roth is a scholar in art and science history and works as a conceptual artist and composer. He is known for his huge projects in public space, cooperations with leading scientific institutions and his immersive sound and light installations. Miriam and Tim collaborate regularly for years. With facing arts they reaslize their first common art project.
You find more informatin on both initiators on www.miriamseidler.de and www.imachination.net.

Special thanks to Paco Croket for the tag cloud programming!

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