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.


 

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

Der deutsche Staat verachtet Selbstständige und Kreative
The German state is contemptuous of self-employed and creative people

by Sascha Lobo (09 Dec 2020)
Original source: Der Spiegel

Why do solo self-employed people receive so little support from the GroKo during the crisis? This is the question that author and strategy consultant Sascha Lobo addresses in his column. Based on an interview with the SPD politician and Lower Saxony's Minister President Stephan Weil, in which he pointed out that Corona aid is a means of solidarity. Since the self-employed have not paid into any unemployment insurance so far, they are now dependent on transfer payments from the state.  For this reason, he calls in the interview for compulsory insurance for the se lf-employed.
What sounds plausible at first glance turns out, on closer inspection, to be an attempt to curb self-employment in Germany. In principle, the self-employed make an important contribution to the community of solidarity. For years, one-third of the pension fund has been replenished with tax revenues, since the pension insurance would otherwise be bankrupt. In other words, the self-employed pay for a benefit that they themselves do not receive. Unemployment insurance for the self-employed has been discussed time and again since the turn of the millennium, but it has never been implemented. The failure to include non-permanent employees in social systems is now being used to the opposite effect, however, as the solo self-employed in particular are being accused of taking advantage of transfer payments - i.e. benefits without receiving anything in return. The fact that the self-employed are also taxpayers is tacitly passed over. Even the comment by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz that the solo self-employed, who have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, are being supported with all their might is no more than lip service. They are being offered a total of 5,000 euros until next summer to cushion their massive sales losses. November aid is only available to self-employed workers who are directly affected. But because the self-employed in particular are diversely positioned, they quickly fall below the 80 percent threshold, which means that if they have generated less sales with companies directly or indirectly affected by Lockdown, they will not receive any assistance. Yet it is precisely the solo self-employed who drive the economy forward with innovations and, under certain circumstances, lay the foundation for large companies. But it is only when the self-employed generate permanent jobs that they receive recognition from the state in the form of billions in aid, state loans or short-time work.
Lobo uses the example of author and director Anika Decker to show how little the work of creatives and the self-employed is respected. She wrote the book for the mega-successful film  »Keinohrhasen« (No Ears), but was not given a share of the success by the production company. The commercializing company has now been sentenced to pay for the author's creative work, but the example shows how little creativity is valued in Germany.
Why does self-employment still have the reputation in Germany of being unsound and somehow unserious? Permanent employment, on the other hand, is considered sacred? One important reason is that too many self-employed people could bring down our social security systems. From 50 percent tax contribution to the pension fund, the self-employed could overturn the pension system, since it violates the equal treatment system of the German constitution. Thus, they will probably not be offered a worthy instrument for old-age security in the future either, and instead they will have to accept accusations of unsolidarity.

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tag Festanstellung Stephan Weil Solidarität Solo-Selbständige Arbeitslosenversicherung Olaf Scholz Novemberhilfe Wertschätzung Konzerne
All sections Statement

Eight Small New York Theaters Sue Cuomo Over Pandemic Restrictions

by Michael Paulson (26 Oct 2020)
Original source: New York Times

Eight smaller New York theaters with less than 200 seats are suing the Governor and Mayor of New York and claiming their right to equal treatment, as bowling alleys, casinos, gyms and shopping malls have already been allowed to reopen. The theaters are represented by attorney James G. Mermigis, who has already successfully sued for the reopening of the Catholic Diocese of New York and the gym.

tag New York Theater Rechtsweg Gleichbehandlung Verhältnismäßigkeit
Performing Arts/ Cinema Bericht

»Die virtuelle Welt hilft uns leider nicht« . Star-Geigerin Anne-Sophie Mutter über Corona
»Unfortunately the virtual world does not help us at all« . Star violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter on Corona

by Anne-Sophie Mutter, Gero Schließ (20 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutsche Welle

Already in the summer, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and her colleagues wrote an open letter calling for support from the society for musicians. Now she is using the Opus Klassik award to draw attention to the precarious situation of many artists in the Corona crisis. In an interview with Deutsche Welle, she once again expresses her position. She herself is doubly affected by the pandemic. Not only are most of her concerts cancelled for 2020, but in March she had to cancel her tour because she herself had fallen ill with the corona virus.
The violinist reacts with incomprehension to the current actions of politics. At concerts and cultural events, there are extremely strict rules of hygiene, while in restaurants people are allowed to celebrate without distance. The fact that this not only discriminates against a single profession, but also against a high-turnover industry and thus the entire German cultural landscape is on the verge of collapse, hurts her very much. She does not want her concerns to be understood as criticism of the work of the Minister of State for Culture, with whom she is in close contact. Rather, she hopes for new aid measures for all solo self-employed people in the cultural industry so that it can be saved through the crisis. If this does not happen, the industry must raise its voice in demonstrations.
For Mutter, there is no question that art and culture are important as sources of consolation, especially in times of crisis. To rely on streaming as self-exploitation of artists in this time is no solution for society as a whole. Even if concerts are currently taking place, the musicians usually play without a part of their fee, since they usually give two concerts each in front of a hall that is at most half full. Mutter suggests that one should follow the example from Salzburg, where with the chessboard pattern and consistent testing the festival could be carried out as usual. The gratitude of the audience, which she experienced in autumn, shows her how important music is during a crisis.

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tag Klassik Streaming Schachbrettmuster Salzburger Festspiele Honorar Gleichbehandlung Monika Grütters
Music Interview

Eine Frage der Klimaanlage? . Corona und Kulturveranstaltungen
An air-conditioning issue? . Corona and cultural events

by Reinhard J. Brembeck (22 May 2020)
Original source: Süddeutsche Zeitung

Even before the crisis, the promotion of the independent art scene was not very lavish. Currently, the survival of the arts are not considered to be of relevance in politics. While aid for Lufthansa and the easing of restrictions for football matches are being discussed, support for artists is only hesitant. Even large orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra are going into short-time work. Although the concert halls don't want to become a virus hotspot, the ban on exercising their profession is ruining them financially. Houses like the Festspielhaus in B aden-Baden or the Berlin Philharmonic have to generate a large part of their income themselves. Even rich institutions soon go bankrupt. In this situation, the commentator asks the question whether the artists should not put forward their demands just as shamelessly as other commercial enterprises.

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tag Konzerthäuser Berufsverbot Fluggesellschaften Hygieneregeln
Music Kommentar

Kultur in der Corona-Krise . Erwacht endlich aus der Schockstarre!
Culture during Corona Crisis . Finally wake up from freeze mode!

by Marco Frei, Christian Wildhagen (01 May 2020)
Original source: Neue Züricher Zeitung

Translation

tag Klassische Musik Konzerthäuser Gleichbehandlung Bundesliga Großveranstaltungen Onlineangebote Hygieneregeln
Music Beitrag

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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