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.


 

Ein Jahr ohne Werke . Was es für das Musikleben bedeutet, wenn Verlage um ihr Überleben kämpfen
A year without pieces . What it means for musical life when publishing houses fight for their survival

by Merle Krafeld (03 Feb 2021)
Original source: VAN Magazin für klassische Musik

Music publishers play an important role in the cultural ecosystem. Not only do they promote the work of composers, but they also produce well thought-out sheet music in individual parts, ensure good binding quality of the sheet music and produce new editions of historical works. To do this, they conduct study of sources and work with scientific precision. The publishers therefore generate income not only from the sale of sheet music, but above all from the lending of scores of mostly copyrighted works to orchestras and choirs. The rental fees are made up of various facto rs such as the length and instrumentation of the work, the number of performances and seats available for sale. Last year, the turnover from rental fees for music publishers collapsed by up to 80 per cent. In addition to lending fees, publishers and rights holders also lost income from distributions by the German Performing Rights Society (GEMA) and foreign collecting societies as well as the German Music Edition Society (VG Musikedition). Since royalties are usually only paid out in the following year, the loss of income will not be felt until 2021. Publishers who specialise in choral music are also particularly affected, as it is not foreseeable here when rehearsals can be resumed. In the lockdown, only the purchase of individual parts and chamber music with small ensembles boomed. Henle-Verlag, which serves this segment with an app, among other things, is the only publishing house that recorded an increase in turnover in 2020.
As long as there is no planning security in the cultural sector, the sale and rental of sheet music will not increase. The staff of the publishing houses are therefore currently on short-time work and at the same time working flat out to offer works with a small line-up.
Many publishers are currently falling through the cracks of the aid payments because they are either too small or too big. The Neustart Kultur programme can compensate for turnover losses from the rental sector, but only 30 per cent of the lost turnover from April to November 2020, against which aid already received, such as short-time allowance, must be offset. So in the end, the aid is just a drop in the ocean.

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tag Musikverlage GEMA Planungssicherheit Chormusik Leihverkehr Kurzarbeit Neustart Kultur
Music 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

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

»Unsere Politiker machen es sich zu einfach« . Harter Lockdown« für Kirche und Kultur
»Our politicians make it too easy for themselves« . Hard lockdown for the church and culture

by Christian Hillgruber, Michael Köhler (09 Dec 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

What about freedom of art and freedom of religion in the crisis? In an interview with the radio station Deutschlandfunk, Christian Hillgruber, an expert in constitutional law from Bonn, explains the relationship between the two and the protection of life, which is dominating the discussion in the Corona crisis. In principle, all fundamental rights must always be weighed against each other. None may categorically prevail and thus be used as a  ›killer argument‹.  Freedom of religion as well as freedom of art are highly valued by the Basic Constitut ional Law. Therefore, they must not be abridged arbitrarily. Limitless restrictions cannot be legally justified even with the protection of life. This plays an important role especially with regard to the Christmas season, because for the churches Christmas does not end on 26 December, but the Christmas celebrations continue in the Christian churches until 1 or 10 January. Especially in view of the impending ›hard lockdown‹, the question therefore arises whether the Basic Constitutional Law will be damaged if all other freedoms have to take a back seat to the protection of life.

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tag Kunstfreiheit Religionsfreiheit Weihnachten harter Lockdown
All sections Interview

Lockdown mit Nebenwirkungen . Kultur auf Abtand
Lockdown with side effects . Culture at bay

by Claudia Kuhland, Marion Ammicht (08 Nov 2020)
Original source: ttt - titel themen tempramente

After a week of lockdown for the arts, the ARD cultural magazine provides an overview of the reactions of cultural workers to the closure of the institutions. The opening quote by the Minister for Culture and Science in NRW, Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, is symptomatic of the way the scene is handled. Culture is accused of violating the social consensus; the existential needs of many freelance artists, but also of the many companies dependent on the industry and solo self-employed are hardly heard. It is therefore not surprising that theater directors, museum directors, and managers of concert halls are now harshly criticizing political decisions - especially since offers of discussion are not heard from their side. The fact that especially in »our attacked democracy« the voice of art and culture must not be overheard is something that theatre director Karin Beier, for example, warns against, and perhaps implicitly gives a reason why Germans currently prefer to be sent shopping rather than to the theater or museum.

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tag November-Lockdown #AlarmstufeRot #sangundklanglos Solidarität Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen
All sections Bericht

Stille mit Vorsatz . Verbale Aufrüstung schlägt nötige Differenzierung: zur Kritik der Kulturbranche am zweiten Shutdown
Silence with intent . Verbal armament beats necessary differentiation: on the culture industry's criticism of the second shutdown

by Hartmut Welscher, Christian Koch (04 Nov 2020)
Original source: VAN Magazin für klassische Musik

The fact that the November lockdown hits art and culture hard, even though excellent hygiene concepts were developed to protect the public, divides the cultural world in Germany. The displeasure was expressed in open letters and articles in newspapers and social media. Only a few balanced voices can be heard at present. Federal and state governments are not innocent of this situation, as they have caused displeasure by failing to provide adequate justification as to which cultural and economic sectors are to be closed and which may remain open. As was already the case in March, many cultural workers feel offended by politics being assigned to professions that are not systemically relevant. So they feel that their function for society is not valued. Many now joined the statement of the trumpeter Tim Brönner, who complained that the cultural industry had no lobby, and tried to make themselves heard. The verbal armament, however, conceals the fact that the pandemic constitutes a twofold threat to artists: in addition to the material threat, many of them increasingly find themselves in a crisis of identity when they are no longer allowed to perform or interact with an audience. And so artists are currently making themselves heard loud and clear, but are still unable to find their way around.This applies not only to culture, but also to politics, which is currently more likely to stumble forward than to steer the processes in a targeted manner.  And so the authors feel uncomfortable when Finance Minister Olaf Scholz keeps granting new aid programs. Public funds are limited, and the first municipalities are already making cuts.
For the cultural industry, the question now is where the development is heading. There will hardly be a return to the status quo-especially since it was not a good one before the crisis. At the beginning of the pandemic, many musicians were happy to have escaped the »hamster wheel of global competition and competitive pressure«. Can't quantity leave the field to quality? In this way, the cultural sector could at the same time make its contribution to solving the ecological question.

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tag Klassik Musikbranche November-Lockdown Lagerbildung Lobby Sinnkrise Existenzkrise Quo vadis ars Stille Hamsterrad
Music Bericht

Stellungnahme der Kunstmuseen zur geplanten coronabedingten Schließung
Statement of the art museums on the planned closure due to corona

by Kunstmuseen (01 Nov 2020)
Original source: art-in.de

German museum directors, mainly from North Rhine-Westphalia, take a clear stand on the unexpected lockdown.For them, the closure of the museums, which they see primarily as educational institutions, is merely a »symbolic gesture« and ultimately a »wrong decision«, since museums are among the safest public places because of the measures taken.

tag Museen November-Lockdown Verhältnismäßigkeit
Visual Arts/Design Statement

»Gottesdienst der Künste« im Thalia Theater

by Daniel Kaiser (01 Nov 2020)
Original source: NDR

Creative protests against the November lockdown started in Hamburg on November 1. Together with the two churches, Hamburg's cultural institutions celebrated a "cultural service" at the Thalia Theater. The structure of the service was recorded and imaginatively filled with artistic and religious content. Since the cultural institutions will be closed for the next few weeks, the religions, whose task it has always been to provide comfort and confidence in times of mourning, were now called upon. In his sermon, Sieghard Wilm pointed out that the virus should n ot drive people into loneliness, but rather should encourage them to be together and love their neighbor. In the intercessions, the Senator for Culture, Carsten Brosda, made his pleas to society - including the hope that the role of the arts would also be recognized in Bavaria and the Uckermark region. Criticism of politics was also expressed in other respects. The fact that cultural institutions were mentioned in the same breath as amusement parks and brothels hurt the pride of the scene. In Hamburg, anger, desperation, rebellion and comprehension were creatively transformed into a convincing artistic project. It is comforting to know that culture does not go into freeze mode, but uses its means to defend itself.

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tag Theater Kultur-Gottesdienst Solidarität künstlerischer Protest November-Lockdown Hamburg Carsten Brosda
Performing Arts/ Cinema Bericht

Kultur ist nicht für alle da . Corona-Maßnahmen und Kultur
Culture is not there for everyone . Corona measures and culture

by Tobi Müller (29 Oct 2020)
Original source: Zeit

With Till Brönner and the band 'Die Ärzte', prominent representatives of the music industry issued statements talking about the existential needs of many musicians, but also of the workers important to the industry, from event technology to gastronomy.  In his contribution, Tobi Müller is right to criticizes the wrong figures and thus the economic power that the players in the industry are referring to. However, his comparison with employees, who would also be in a bad way, is misleading. After all, these employees may receive short-time compe nsation and, in the worst case, unemployment benefits. The solo self-employed person may request however directly social welfare assistance Hartz IV.
But Müller also complains that the statements conceal the fact that there are areas in the cultural industry that are affected more and which less. Music is undoubtedly one of the hardest hit economic sectors. However - according to Müller's central argument - the culture Brönner is talking about is that of the upper middle class, which can loudly stand up for the rights of artists. Especially in view of the fact that the punk band 'Die Ärzte' has ventured into the 'Tagesthemen' to raise its voice, the concept of culture that Müller represents in his contribution is remarkable. It is based primarily on concert halls, stages and museums, for which the jazz trumpeter Till Brönner is a symbolic figure, and not on the areas of culture such as folk music, hits or punk.
The suggestion that Tobi Müller has for the industry looks in the current situation rather strange: Not to always only bale the state into responsibility, but to show solidarity with one another.  Why not open the large theater halls for concerts or enter into cooperation with museums, which usually have large, airy rooms. And as a sign of charity, churches could also offer the doors for theater and music professionals.

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tag Musikbranche Till Brönner Die Ärzte Solidarität Wirtschaftsfaktor Staat Publikum Hartz IV Kulturbegriff
Music Kommentar

DOV: In der Klassik fallen viele durch alle Förderraster . Corona-Hilfen für die Musik
DOV: In classical music, many fall through all the funding cracks . Corona aids for music

by Gerald Mertens, Jörg Biesler (02 Aug 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

Funding conditions for the music sector were extended by the federal government. Living costs can now also be taken into account. Nevertheless, the support is far from sufficient to compensate for the billions lost in the industry - especially since all employment routes for musicians have been cut off at the same time.
Gerald Mertens, Managing Director of the German Orchestra Association (DOV), describes the current situation of artists and orchestras in an interview. He predicts that many musicians will look for other jobs because they cannot cover 12 months of loss of income from reserves. He formulates the demand that the federal and state governments must give more support to classical music, which is currently falling through all the cracks.

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tag klassische Musik Orchester Berufsverbot Initiative Musik Umsatzeinbruch Kulturförderung
Music 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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