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.


 

Kultur ist kein Sahnehäubchen . Warum wir Theater, Kino und Buchhandlungen jetzt sofort öffnen müssen
Culture is not icing on the cake . Why we need to open theaters, cinemas and bookstores right now

by Alexander Skipis (23 Feb 2021)
Original source: FAZ

Applying the concept of catharsis introduced by Aristotle in his Poetics, Alexander Skipis, Chief Executive of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association, goes back very far in cultural history to describe the impact of the pandemic on the population. The release of strong feelings through reflection and witnessing in art and literature is only possible to a very limited extent during the lockdown. Even as policymakers attempt to compensate for the economic losses suffered by cultural producers, they fail to provide the consumer relief functions paraphrased by t he term catharsis. Skipis therefore combines his plea for the rapid opening of cultural institutions and bookstores with a warning about the mental damage to society that the pandemic has already triggered and the extent of which cannot yet be foreseen.

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tag Lockdown Systemrelevanz Katharsis
All sections Kommentar

»Bei Öffnungen muss die Kultur dabei sein«
»Easings need to include culture«

by Carsten Brosda, Daniel Kaiser (11 Feb 2021)
Original source: NDR Kultur

The politicians' promise to present a step-by-step plan for a way out of the lockdown in mid-February was not fulfilled. Some ministers of culture have submitted a proposal that was not taken into account in the federal and state consultations. The question of how efficient the lockdown and the measures associated with it are is being raised more and more loudly. In an interview with NDR, Hamburg's Senator for Culture calls for a little patience. He hopes that the proposed gradual regulation for the opening of cultural institutions will also be implemented in par allel with retail and restaurants, also because of the excellent hygiene concepts in the institutions, so that culture is not disadvantaged as it was last autumn. In this context, he can hardly understand why the opening of hairdressing salons is currently being given priority. At the same time, he is concerned about the long-term consequences for cultural workers of the extension of the lockdown. At least in Hamburg, he does not see the financing of cultural institutions in jeopardy for the next two years. However, there will be no return to a cultural landscape like before the crisis, if only because the ranks of the players are thinning out.

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tag Lockdown Öffnung Kulturfinanzierung Friseursalons stiller Tod Perspektive
All sections Interview

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

Unterschätztes Schwergewicht in EU . Kultursektor mit 199 Milliarden Verlust
Underestimated heavyweight in EU . Cultural sector with 199 billion loss

by Stefan Weiss (26 Jan 2021)
Original source: Der Standard

That the cultural sector makes an important contribution to value creation in EU countries is no secret, nor is the fact that it has been hit disproportionately harder than other sectors of the economy in the Corona crisis. The »Rebuilding Europe« study commissioned by collecting societies now provides the figures on the crisis for the first time. Looking at the industry as a whole, there is a 31 percent drop in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019. In individual sectors such as theater or opera, with a minus 90 percent (37 billion euros), and music, with a minus 76 percent (18 billion euros), the losses are even more dramatic. This means that the cultural sector has been hit much harder by the crisis than, for example, tourism (minus 27 percent) or the automotive industry (minus 25 percent). Not only is there currently no end of the crisis on the horizon, but the industry is also concerned with the question of whether the public will quickly regain its trust in cultural institutions after the crisis. The demand is therefore that the current support programs should continue to run generously after the crisis.

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tag Rebuilding Europe EU-Studie Bruttowertschöpfung Kulturbranche Umsatzeinbruch
All sections Bericht

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

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

Kino in Corona-Zeit . Rückblick aufs (Katastrophen-) Filmjahr
Cinema in times of Corona . Review of the (disaster) film year

by Walli Müller (20 Dec 2020)
Original source: NDR

The annual reviews begin in mid-December. The film industry and cinema operators were particularly hard hit in 2020. While the start of the year with the 'Kangaroo Chronicles' still looked quite good, the Corona pandemic led to a 70 percent drop in sales for the year as a whole. The reason for this are not only the Hollywood blockbusters, which will not be screened until next year, and the competition from streaming providers, but above all the reduced space available and the renewed lockdown in November. German productions like 'Undine' and 'Berlin A lexanderplatz' reached only a small audience despite awards and good reviews. Only the children's film was able to show good attendance figures with 'Jim Knopf und die Wilde 13', despite the small amount of space available, November started promisingly.

On a positive note, 2020 saw the revival of drive-in cinemas and hybrid film festivals that made it open to more than just local visitors through online access. Nevertheless, the closures and the competition from streaming platforms are making it difficult for cinemas to operate. Three cinemas had to file for insolvency this year due to corona; whether these are the only victims of the industry will become clear in 2021.

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tag 2020 Kino Filmstarts Umsatzverlust Streaming Insolvenz
Performing Arts/ Cinema Jahresrückblick

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

»Ich empfinde die Schließung der Theater als reine Willkür«
»I consider the closure of the theatres as purely arbitrary«

by Dieter Hallervorden, Susanne Lenz (09 Nov 2020)
Original source: Berliner Zeitung

Not proportionality, but arbitrariness is a characteristic feature of the current corona resolutions. Based on this view, the German actor and comedian Dieter Hallervorden has enormous doubts as to whether the closure of the theaters this fall is actually legal. Therefore, as the owner of the Schlosspark Theater in Berlin, he has filed an expedited motion with the Administrative Court against the closure of his theater. In an interview with the Berliner Zeitung, he points out that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has called the theaters "safe places". Basi cally, people come closer to each other at a hairdresser than in a playhouse. He therefore does not see the proportionality that is a prerequisite for the restriction of basic rights. In his expedited motion, he refers to the freedom of the arts as laid down in the German constitution, which he sees endangered by the closure of the theaters. Although he himself has had to contribute a great deal of money in recent months to cover the running costs of the Schlosstheater, the financial loss hurts at most his son, whose inheritance is diminished by this. The successful actor does not seem to be in financial straits for a long time yet.
Hallervorden, who characterizes himself as a rebel, is particularly pleased that he has received a great deal of recognition and approval from the audience. Disappointment is read between the lines when he confirms that although many colleagues wished him success in his application, there was very little active solidarity.

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tag Theater November-Lockdown Verhältnismäßigkeit Eilantrag Grundgesetz Kunstfreiheit Schlosspark Theater
Performing Arts/ Cinema 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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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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