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.


 

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

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

Corona zum Weihnachtsgeschäft: Wie es dem Buchhandel in der Krise geht
Corona for the Christmas business: How the book trade is doing in the crisis

by Michael Wurmitzer (09 Nov 2020)
Original source: Der Standard

Actually, the sales figures for the Austrianbook industry in Corona times look good. Following slumps of minus 41 and minus 65 percent in March and April respectively, the  figures for the fall were actually slightly higher than the previous year. But if you take a closer look at the figures,  like Helmut Zechner from the bookshop Heyn in Klagenfurt and Chairman of the Austrian Booksellers Association, the situation looks different. If you take the online giant Amazon out of the statistics, the bookstores are left with an annual minus of twelve percent. The can cellation of the Buch Wien book fair and the lockdown now give booksellers reason to fear the worst, as the industry in Austria generates a third of its annual sales in November and December. Contemporary literature in particular is now suffering from the lack of attention to new publications. It is difficult to say whether the lack of readings and events is actually the cause of the drop in sales. Small publishing houses in particular are making a living from live events, while the large corporations have currently stepped up their social media activities and are increasingly offering online readings. On the other hand, small publishers in particular have a more loyal core audience. In addition, many publishers have slimmed down their fall program considerably, while large bookstore chains like Thalia are increasingly focusing on hygiene concepts. Thalia even offers pick-up machines in Vienna to provide customer-friendly service during the crisis. The reduction in value-added tax is also currently a great help to the industry - although there are already indications that this will not be extended beyond the turn of the year. So the only thing that remains to be hoped for is a good Christmas business so that the book industry in Austria can get through the crisis well.

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tag Buchhandel Verlage Buchmesse Amazon Umsatz Weihnachtsgeschäft Hygienekonzept
Literature/ Text Bericht

Frankfurter Buchmesse: Was ist das Buch ohne die Menschen?
Frankfurt Book Fair: What would books be without people?

by Felix Stephan (17 Oct 2020)
Original source: Süddeutsche Zeitung

How do you measure the social value of a book? How do you recognize the importance of the Frankfurt Book Fair? Felix Stephan examines these questions based on the debates triggered by the recent Book Fair. Based on Saša Stanišić critique of the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Peter Handke formulated in occasion of his acceptance speech at the awarding ceremony of the German Book Prize, Stephan shows how debates evolve. Suddenly it was no longer about the text itself, but about the foreign secretary Hans-Dietrich Genscher and the role of the Germans in the K osovo war. Such debates are important because they determine the social climate and encourage critical thinking. The starting point is the written text, but it needs the public forum of the Book Fair to unfold its potential.
Such debates cannot arise in the medial silence of the digital book fair. Nevertheless: the book as a commodity is attractive. Even though the Fair is largely taking place online this year, the publishers are not doing badly. The pandemic tempts people to read. In the area of children's and youth literature, sales figures have even risen by 13 percent compared to the same period last year. The large publishing houses are already starting to think about whether a physical stand at the Book Fair is still worthwhile. Expenditure is high, but it is difficult to quantify the successes. The licensing business does not need the fair. So why not decouple the book industry from the public? The example of America shows how profits fizzle out in a vacuum when the book is seen only as a commodity and even mega-bestsellers like Michel Obama's autobiography no longer trigger discussion. According to Felix Stephan, not only would the book lose its role as a leading medium, but our public sphere would lose an important forum for its culture of debate.

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tag Buchbranche Buchmesse Leitmedium Debattenkultur Einsparpotential digitale Stille
Literature/ Text Bericht

Ein Weiter so wird es nach der Pandemie nicht geben . Literaturagentin Ruge zur Frankfurter Buchmesse
There won't be business as usual after the pandemic . Literary agent Ruge at the Frankfurt Book Fair

by Elisabeth Ruge, Christopher Ricke (13 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

This year, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest meeting place for the book trade, will be held primarily in digital form due to the pandemic. Instead of wandering through the corridors of the exhibition halls and meeting colleagues and contract partners, publisher and cultural agent Elisabeth Runge is sitting in front of the screen this year. Here she follows events and conducts negotiations for her authors. She only uses the online platform set up by the Book Fair for the allocation of film rights. All other meetings were organized independently. In an interview with De utschlandfunk Kultur, Runge reports on her impressions of this year's book fair. She criticizes the sterile atmosphere at the German Book Prize awards ceremony, where only the shortlisted nominees were present with two guests each. Otherwise, she praises those responsible for organizing the fair, which has largely shifted to the digital domain. At the same time, she warns that Messe Frankfurt must consider a new concept for the industry meeting in the coming years. For the large publishing houses and corporations in particular, the cancellation of the Book Fair also resulted in huge savings. They will show little interest in returning to the previous form of the fair after the end of the pandemic. There must therefore be an offer here that makes the Fair attractive again for all involved parties.

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tag Buchmesse Buchpreis Rechtehandel Digitalisierung Elisabeth Ruge Streaming virtuelle Präsenz
Literature/ Text Interview

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

Corona-Chronik (8) . Krise als Chance, Theater zu Parkhäusern, Abgase zu Frischluft
Corona Chronicle (8) . Crisis as Chance, Turning Theatres to Parking Garages, Exhaust Gases to Fresh Air

by Nicolas Stemann (11 May 2020)
Original source: Neue Züricher Zeitung

tag Theater Autokino Krise als Chance Hygieneregeln
Performing Arts/ Cinema Corona-Chronik

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.

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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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