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.


 

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

Die Seele leidet - Weihnachtszeit ohne Kulturveranstaltungen
The soul suffers - Christmas time without cultural events

by Maria Ossowski (26 Nov 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

The extension of the Lockdown light into December means renunciation for many people. By this, journalist Maria Ossowski does not primarily mean the cultural workers and restaurateurs, who are not allowed to offer their services in the last month of the year either. She is referring to the approximately nine million museum visitors or one and a half million people who attend an opera, theater, concert or reading in Germany each month - which they are currently not allowed to do, despite excellently prepared hygiene concerts. The cultural workers themselves - according to the subtext of the admonition of the North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Culture Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen not to demand a special treatment again - are not entitled to defend themselves against the recent professional ban. After all, the November subsidies will be paid out at some point.

Ossowski proves that this argumentation is wrong. It is not a question of prohibition to work, nor is it a question of how Christmas can be celebrated in the family circle. Because this argumentation overlooks the fact that Christmas does not mean pure happiness for everyone. People who have to cope with family losses or separations, who live alone or are ill, often find the Christmas season a great emotional burden. For these people, culture provides solace in the pre-Christmas period. Many would therefore have done anything to give the pre-Christmas season an inner meaning through cultural events. The mental needs of these humans are put aside in favor of gifts and Christmas goose in the family circle, thereby we should be particularly concerned in the Advent about their well-being.

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tag Dezember-Lockdown Kulturveranstaltungen Advent Einsamkeit Trost Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen
All sections Kommentar

Herbert Grönemeyer will die Reichen schröpfen
Herbert Grönemeyer wants to fleece the rich

by Rainer Hank (15 Nov 2020)
Original source: FAZ

In the business section of the FAZ, Herbert Grönemeyer's suggestion to millionaires in Germany for a solidarity contribution in the Corona crisis is critically examined. Already the reasoning does not convince the journalist Rainer Hank. To pay a contribution for the victims of the crisis solely because of family resemblance is not a conclusive argument. In addition, one has to consider, the musician is quoted as saying, that 75 percent of the previous year's turnover for the month of November is not enough to support the artists. Only a permanent monthly ba sic income can get them through the crisis.
Is an artist like Grönemeyer, who is certainly one of the Corona profiteers because of the royalties for streamed songs, allowed to rise to the position of »lawyer for the disenfranchised«? Especially since the profits are likely to continue even after the crisis. Aren't artists suffering in the pandemic rather from the fact that they cannot perform their art in front of an audience? Shouldn't we therefore stop stylizing art and artists as victims of the pandemic and ask the rich to pay for it? Doesn't this turn cultural workers into a "special-purpose and employment society of the nation", a subdivision of the public service for which the state has to provide?
Looking at the political decisions of the last few months, cultural workers are not only protected by compensation payments from Corona Aid, but also have a lobbyist in the government in the person of Monika Grütters. Tax money for culture is permanently secured. And, according to Hank's argumentation, more than 50 percent of it is borne by the rich. It is therefore not possible to ask them to pay once again.
If the creative artists claim more and more state for themselves, then they regard it as "artist's pension fund". This contradicts the idea of the artistic avant-garde, which propagated an entrepreneurial existence of the artist. For this reason, artists should do without lawyers like Herbert Grönemeyer, who, instead of emphasizing creativity, ingenuity and curiosity, degrades the creative industry to a "public fun industry".
Even though Hank is quite agreeable when he emphasizes that there are winners of the pandemic in the cultural industry as well, it should be remembered that Grönemeyer is not concerned with himself when he calls for the support of the rich. He speaks for the many cultural service providers, e.g. light, sound and event technicians, concert organizers, caterers,....., who have lost their income for months and whose reserves have been used up after 8 months of pandemic. A flourishing industry, which normally does not need any support from the state, but was robbed of its income by the prohibition to work and now needs bridging assistance.

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tag Novemberhilfe Millionäre Tantieme Corona-Gewinner Herbert Grönemeyer
All sections Kommentar

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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