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

Aufgestaute Kreativität . Klassik-Profis in der Pandemie
Pent up creativity . Classic professionals in the pandemic

by Frederik Hanssen (02 Feb 2021)
Original source: Tagesspiegel

At the annual press conference of the German Orchestral Association this year, everything revolved around the nationwide silence in theaters and concert halls. Although short-time work is securing jobs in many city and state theaters and, with the exception of a few municipalities, no budget cuts have yet been felt this year, managing director Gerald Mertens urges that the houses must be opened as soon as possible. Thereby not country-wide incidence values should be taken as a basis, but those of the respective district. This early new start is especially important for f reelance musicians, who have been without income for almost a year. According to a representative survey, around 30 percent are already considering a change of profession. A temporary suspension of the artists' social security fund could help this professional group through the crisis. In the long term, an unemployment insurance system should be considered, which could be modeled according to the bad weather allowance of the construction industry, in order to avoid a similar critical situation in the future.

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tag Deutschen Orchestervereinigung Kurzarbeit stiller Tod Planungssicherheit Inzidenzwert Künstlersozialkasse Arbeitslosenversicherung
Music Bericht

»Die freien Schauspieler sind überhaupt nicht abgesichert« . Metropoltheater München in der Coronakrise

by Jochen Schölch, Maja Ellmenreich (29 Dec 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

Independent theatres are particularly affected by the crisis. The Metropoltheater itself, as Jochen Schölch, artistic director and founder of the Metropol, reported in an interview with Deutschlandfunk, will get through the crisis thanks to a grant from the city of Munich. Nevertheless, the theatre is currently short about 450,000 euros, which were financed from reserves from previous years. The shortfall is due to the fact that the theatre pays the actors, all of whom are only booked for individual productions, the equivalent of short-time allowance, to which actor s working on freelance contracts are not entitled. Since actors often switch between permanent employment and freelance contracts, they currently fall through the cracks of state aid. In addition to the city of Munich, the theatre is supported by non-refunded tickets and donations from the Friends of the Theatre.
Even though the theatre has come through the crisis well so far, the artistic director is still worried whether the audience will return to the theatre after the lockdown or whether they have become so accustomed to Netflix and the like that they will no longer leave the house to visit the theatre in the evening. The question of whether actors will still be available is also on his mind. Those who have the opportunity are currently signing a contract for a television series in order to be able to fall back on a permanent income.
In an online presentation with short, associative video clips, the Metropoltheater has reflected on what theatre after Corona could look like. There is no streaming offer, however, as they are convinced that theatre can only be experienced in analogue form. 

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tag Theater Schauspieler*innen Streaming Unterstützung Finanzierung Kurzarbeit Quo vadis ars
Performing Arts/ Cinema Interview

Auktionshäuser sind die Gewinner in der Krise
Auction houses are the winners in the crisis

by Christian Herchenröder (17 Dec 2020)
Original source: Handelsblatt

The corona-induced shrinkage of 30 to 40 percent is distributed differently among the players in the art market. While 2020 art fairs and galleries with virtual art fairs and exhibitions were only able to score with the public to a limited extent, the auction houses recorded strong sales increases with online-only auctions. In particular, they were able to encourage first-time buyers, especially from America and China, to bid for high-priced art, especially in the contemporary sector.

tag Kunstmarkt Galerien Auktionshäuser Online-Ausstellung Kunstmesse Rezession
Visual Arts/Design 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

»Wir sollten uns nicht hyperüberschätzen« . Amelie Deuflhard zum Theater-Lockdown
»We should not hyper-overestimate ourselves« . Amelie Deuflhard about the theatre lockdown

by Amelie Deuflhard, Vladimir Balzer (05 Nov 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

Planning reliability is what cultural institutions need most urgently at the moment. The employees at many institutions continue to work, but the feeling of producing into a void is a great burden for many. Amelie Deuflhard, artistic director of the 'Kampnagel' theatre in Hamburg, does not want to follow the suggestion of the artistic director of the Schaubühne, Thomas Ostermeier. Just in solidarity with the free theaters, the houses must continue to be played in, even if the situation is uncertain. Nevertheless, she would also like planning reliability, bec ause if a closure beyond November was already determined now, then the houses could consider alternative concepts for their spaces and use the closure for conceptual considerations. Although Deuflhard believes that many theaters in Germany are on the right track, she nevertheless warns that the theater in the present time still appeals to the educated middle classes. Developing new concepts here, also leaving the traditional spaces, addressing target groups and working on the diversification of the theater are some of the tasks that could be tackled. She even goes to that lenghts in times of crisis as to suggest other meaningful tasks for the theater staff - reading aloud in nursing homes, helping out at the health department.
Of course, the state-subsidized institutions in the present are much more likely to allow a positive view of the future than privately run institutions and solo self-employed persons. The precarious employments of the freelancers are also on Deuflhard's imaginary to-do list for crisis closure. Here, however, politics would also have to get involved and consider how to provide rescue for this group to help them survive such a crisis. Here, an unconditional basic income or a solidarity fund are just two ways of stabilizing the sector so that it does not collapse again if a new crisis occurs. It should also be borne in mind that bureaucracy can be reduced as much as possible.  
Finally, she points out that all international cooperation is currently frozen. This means that not only an important form of cultural exchange is missing, in many countries there is also no support for artists during the crisis.

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tag Theater Planungssicherheit Privilegien Kultur als Chance Grundeinkommen Demokratisierung Solo-Selbständige
Performing Arts/ Cinema Gespräch

Geld ist im Übermaß vorhanden . Corona-Hilfen für Künstler
Money is available in abundance . Corona aids for artists

by Herbert Grönemeyer (04 Nov 2020)
Original source: Zeit

The musician Herbert Grönemeyer reevaluates the »Unterhaltung« as German expression for entertainment,  interpreting  the term as "holding from below". Here people find help and confidence when they are sad or frustrated. But they can also express their joy. Due to the absence of live performances, the audience is deprived of this valve. No more refuge or substitute world. Reality remains and with it spaces for stupidity and crude theories. The soul of the society is endangered and consequently the social cohesion as a whole. The impa ct on the existence of the many workers who make live events possible in the first place is in this understanding only a symptom of the erosion of society. How to counteract this process? How to ensure that live events are possible again after the crisis? This is where Grönemeyer now becomes very concrete: These people must not be forced to touch their old-age provision. Help must be available to them quickly and without complications.
But how could this help look like? In this case Grönemeyer is not asking the state to help, but is suggesting an alternative: Just as in a natural catastrophe the family helps a person affected, so in the current crisis a sign of solidarity is needed. According to the musician, this should come from the 1.8 million millionaires in Germany.This gesture would not only help the cultural workers whose existence is threatened, but it would also strengthen social cohesion and counteract the division that has been observed for decades.
Interestingly, Grönemeyer's statement lacks a convincing argument: He would have to set a shining example of solidarity by making a generous donation - he too is one of Germany's millionaires....

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tag Kulturbetrieb Solidarität Millionäre Seele der Gesellschaft Zusammenhalt Liveevent Quo vadis ars
All sections Kommentar

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

Ein Lebenszeichen aus der Szene, die am Abgrund tanzt . »Tag der Clubkultur« am 3. Oktober
A sign of life from the scene dancing to the precipice . "Day of Club Culture" on 3 October

by Jakob Bauer (02 Oct 2020)
Original source: rbb24

On October 3, the "Day of Club Culture" is celebrated in Berlin. In times of Corona there is no dancing to live music in a confined space, but the clubs have come up with creative concepts to draw attention to their situation. For example, there are two live concerts for 16 visitors at the Schokoladen. The tickets were raffled off on Facebook, the visitors sit on bar stools at bar tables to control the distances. A dinner with music accompaniment awaits the guests at the Ritter Butzke. At all events, consistent attention is paid to the adherence to hygiene conc epts. In this way, the club committee together with Berlin's Senator for Culture Klaus Lederer wants to set an example: Currently, the impression is often created that the danger of infection is particularly high in clubs - without being able to prove it. Since the clubs also have hygiene concepts in place, the organizers are convinced that the risk of infection is much higher at parties in the park than in their rooms. And so the "Day of Club Culture" is a sign of life for an industry that is one of the big losers of the Corona crisis. In Berlin, Klaus Lederer is fighting for their survival; in other cities, clubs receive less support.

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tag Clubszene Hygienekonzepte Klaus Lederer
Music 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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Facing arts is supposed not only to be a web platform. To give the cultural landscape literally a face, facing arts will present the faces of the arts in public space. Every place is possible putting pictures in motion: from the cinema screen to tours in museums and galleries to large-scale projections in public space.


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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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