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.


 

Beendet den kulturellen Notstand! . 100 Tage Kultur im Lockdown
Stop the cultural emergency! . 100 Days of Culture in Lockdown

by René Schlott (08 Feb 2021)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

Cultural institutions in Germany have been closed for 100 days. The representatives of the interests of those working in the cultural sector are barely succeeding in making their voices heard. Emergency decisions such as the closure of all Berlin theaters until Easter are hailed as a victory for planning security, rather than a loss of cultural participation. Instead - as historian René Schlott notes with surprise - statements that fuel the closure of the theaters are increasingly heard in the media. For example, the cancellation of the Leipzig Book Fair was greet ed with hope in a Berlin newspaper as a sign that other major events will soon be canceled.Positive examples such as the successful staging of the Salzburg Festival are no longer mentioned.  On the last weekend in January, the mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan, declared a »cultural state of emergency« as part of the »Théatres Ouverts« initiative. This must also be ended as quickly as possible in our country.

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tag kultureller Notstand Lockdown Theater Museen Planungssicherheit Benoît Payan Théatres Ouverts Berichterstattung
All sections Appell

Kulturaufstand in Frankreich . Eine Stunde Theater trotz Lockdown
Cultural Uprising in France . One hour theatrer despite lockdown

by Eberhard Spreng, Eckhard Roelcke (30 Jan 2021)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

The mayor of Marseille Benoît Payan, together with other cities and independent theaters, has called for civil disobedience: Theaters should play for one hour in the afternoon. The initiative »Théatres Ouverts«  originally comes from smaller theaters. The mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan, took up the initiative and thus ensured a large public. In Avignon, where the initiative originated, the short-term opening of the theater was prevented by the police. In other places, poems were read or tango danced.
The contribution of Beno&i circ;t Payan is the announcement of a manifesto that advocates the opening of theaters. The idea is to play mainly outdoors in the south of France to minimize the risk of contagion. The »hour of disobedience« is directed primarily against the government in Paris and here above all against President Emmanuel Macron, who currently pays little attention to culture. However, the attitude of Benoît Payan is very ambivalent, since in the middle of the week he was still urging to follow the rules to contain the pandemic due to the increase in infections.

 

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tag Theater Freie Szene ziviler Ungehorsam Théatres Ouverts Benoît Payan
Performing Arts/ Cinema Interview

Zauber der lebenden Bilder . 125 Jahre Kino
The magic of tableaux vivants

by Andreas Busche (28 Dec 2020)
Original source: Tagesspiegel

To mark the anniversary of the first cinema showing on 28 December 1895, cinemas will be closed in almost all countries this year. The industry is therefore not in the mood to celebrate. In the Tagesspiegel, Andreas Busche reflects on the current situation of the industry on the occasion of the anniversary.
A premiere took place at Christmas: Warner and Disney released films without a theatrical release for the first time. The era of the blockbuster is thus coming to an end. Whether the new James Bond will draw audiences to the cinema next year remains open to que stion. In 2020, the combination of streaming services and the pandemic has taken an extreme toll on the industry. Currently, film theatres are only getting through the crisis with state support. This is not only because the film theatre has lost the aura that surrounded it in the early 20th century. At present, instead of euphoria, there is often a sense of mistrust towards the people sitting in the cinema with them. However - as Busche reminds us - cinema has always depended on a mixed calculation. For example, the factory owner Stollwerk realised early on that selling chocolate in the cinema hall would boost business. Today, cinema operators have to offer chocolate, nachos and cola to survive because ticket sales alone do not pay off.
The crisis of the cinema is proclaimed at regular intervals. Busche is therefore sure that it will survive this crisis, too - but he is not one of the optimists who hope that the pandemic could be a corrective for undesirable developments of past decades.

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tag Kino Streaming Blockbuster Misstrauen Krise als Chance
Performing Arts/ Cinema Bericht

Place de la Bastille, la culture crie sa colère face au “mépris” du gouvernement
Place de la Bastille, the culture cries out in anger at the government's »contempt«

by Sophie Rahal (15 Dec 2020)
Original source: Télérama'

The French government's recent decision not to reopen cultural institutions on 15 December is leading to nationwide demonstrations by cultural workers from a wide range of disciplines, from street art to contemporary music and visual artists. The discontent articulated in Montpellier or in the historic Place de la Bastille in Paris is directed against the »contempt« articulated in government conduct. But it expresses also the financial precariousness that affects many of them despite state aid measures. The cultural workers are not asking for special trea tment but lamenting the injustice because despite all the health precautions taken to keep audiences safe, theatres and cinemas remain closed while commerce and churches are allowed to reopen. Actor Samuel Churin warns: »But [...] since the government has made a political decision, [...] we have to go into resistance. We will invade churches, shopping malls, auction houses.... And we will put on shows there«. He is one of the co-initiators of an emergency motion to be set up at the Conseil d'État on 16 December demanding the reopening of the venues.

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tag Widerstand Frankreich Gleichbehandlung Prekariat Theater Kirche Kino
All sections Bericht

Martin Meyers Buch »Corona« – die Pandemie wird Literatur
Martin Meyer's book "Corona" - the pandemic becomes literature

by Christoph Leibold, Martin Meyer (19 Jul 2020)
Original source: BR24

The Swiss journalist and longtime NZZ columnist Martin Meyer has published with  »Corona« one of the first Corona novels at Kein & Aber publisher. The text was developed from an idea during the lockdown. For the author, the subject of Corona is particularly interesting - as he describes it in an interview - because it asks basic questions and throws the individual back on his or her own ego. The examination of such existential situations is a characteristic of literature.
The old main character Matteo is also in a lockdown. The name of the dis ease that made the state of emergency necessary is not mentioned. Matteo reads epidemic literature to deal with his situation. The literature from the Bible to Albert Camus leads to philosophical activity. Martin Meyer understands the fact that the novel itself is entitled  »Corona« as a reference to man as the pride of creation (in German: crown of creation). But the crown, according to Meyer, can also be seen as a crown of thorns, considering how fragile human existence is.
Asked whether literature does not need distance from an event in order to be able to reflect on it, Meyer makes a different claim. Literature can also emerge from personal affection.

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tag Corona-Roman Seuchenliteratur Martin Meyer Albert Camus Pest
Literature/ Text Interview

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

Künstler schweigen für faire Bezahlung
Artists fall silent for fair payment

by Lukas Möschl (17 Jun 2020)
Original source: ORF

On Wednesday evening, Salzburg artists stood in silence on the Residenzplatz. With their demonstration they wanted to point out the situation of the cultural sector in the Corona crisis.  In contrast to Germany and France, the artists in Austria feel abandoned by the black-green federal government, because it is currently hardly possible for freelancers to receive unemployment benefits or a minimum income.

tag Honorar Kulturförderung Solo-Selbständige
All sections Bericht

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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