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 193 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

Ein Wort geht um auf deutschsprachigen Bühnen: der »Premierenstau«
A word is circulating on German-speaking stages: the »premiere backlog«

by Bernd Noack (29 Jan 2021)
Original source: Neue Züricher Zeitung

While the theatres had still hoped to reopen soon with the announcement of a lockdown light in November, the date for the start of productions seems to have receded into the distant future. While many theatres were still working on new productions in November and December, rehearsals have now largely stopped. Frustration in the ensembles is growing, as it is even less foreseeable than in the spring when a return to normal operations will be possible. As at the beginning of the season in autumn, audiences can then expect a flurry of premieres, as the new productions are j ust waiting to be presented. Until then, on the one hand, crisis management is in demand at the theatres, which - according to many theatre managers - is basically part of their everyday business. On the other hand, Nicolas Stemann from the Schauspielhaus Zurich asks the justified question of whether one can continue to plan with a theatre repertoire operation or whether the houses should not use the current situation to try out new formats and a new kind of artistic activity. 

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tag Theater Systemrelevanz Lockdown Premierenstau Quo vadis ars Planungssicherheit
Performing Arts/ Cinema Bericht

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

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

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

Corona-Pandemie: »Kultur merkwürdigerweise in dieser Krise marginalisiert«
Corona Pandemic: »Culture strangely marginalized during this crisis«

by Julian Nida-Rümelin, Änne Seidel (18 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

»Aufstehn für Kultur« [stand up for culture] is an appeal for a demonstration in Munich. The goal is to address as many people interested in culture as possible and to motivate them to participate in the demonstration. The importance of this is explained by one of the initiators, political scientist, philosopher and former Minister of State for Culture Julian Nida-Rümelin, in an interview with the German radio station Deutschlandfunk.
Politics reacts to public debates. Therefore, Nida-Rümelin is convinced that it is now necessary for eve ryone interested in culture to raise their voice now.  The cultural workers be only helped, if the public pressure by the cultural consumers grows. That is particularly important after seven months of stagnation, because anyone who decides to change careers now is lost to culture. This means that the unique cultural asset in Germany is permanently threatened. Even if the artists reacted very creatively to the crisis during the first lockdown, this must not obscure the existential need.
Even if politicians have tried to support cultural workers so far, it must be said that the programs that have been implemented so far are not sufficient. With regard to an unconditional basic income for artists, Nida-Rümelin explains that he considers it the task of politics to ensure that no existences are destroyed in the crisis. Anyone who has been able to live from art up to now can prove this, for example, through tax assessments. In addition to the economic and social cushioning, the former Minister of State for Culture also sees a problem in the fact that cultural life has been reduced to a minimum. If there are no cultural events and no debates, this has an impact on the constitution of society. Politicians must counteract this in order to limit the damage to immaterial values caused by the crisis as much as possible.
Nida-Rümelin does not consider a second, European lockdown to be feasible. The resulting costs cannot be mitigated a second time. The result would be a depression. In 1929 we saw what psychological, social and cultural consequences such a crisis can have. The foundations of coexistence and democracy would then be shaken. European society must prevent this danger at all costs.

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tag Grundeinkommen stiller Tod Systemrelevanz Aufstehn für Kultur Lockdown 1929 Depression Kulturstaat
All sections Gespräch

Große Säle, wenig Plätze: Lohnt sich das ganze Theater? . Corona-Schutzbedingungen
Large halls, few seats: Is the whole theater worth it? . Corona protection conditions

by Marc Grandmontagne, Anne Schneider, Karin Fischer (05 Sep 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

The format "Streitkultur" at the German radio station Deutschlandfunk juxtaposes two opposing positions, which are represented in the dialogue. The aim is to give listeners the opportunity to examine a complex topic from different angles and then form their own opinions. The question of the current situation of the theaters in Germany offered little potential for debate for the two guests of the program - Anne Schneider, managing director of the Federal Association of the Free Performing Arts, theater director and festival organizer, and Marc Grandmontagne, man aging director of the German Stage Association (Deutscher Bühnenverein). Both agreed that the German theaters need to close ranks at the moment in order to jointly point out their situation and maintain public support.
The discussion thus offered insights into the current situation at the theaters. The demand of the Bühnenverein to allow the cast to follow the chessboard pattern in the theaters, since the danger of infection is demonstrably very low at cultural events with fixed seats, was also presented, as was the plight of the privately run houses. The funds to be distributed within the framework of the Neustart Kultur program will mainly benefit the non-publicly run institutions - however, many program areas have not yet been advertised, since the allocation of funds and the budgetary review of their use still have to be clarified.
Marc Grandmontagne pointed out that one should not be mistaken about the fact that Corona has hardly created any new problems, but rather acts as a catalyst that has brought to light the precarious conditions in many theaters and venues. The situation will not become any easier in the coming years when the public budgets are empty. Nevertheless, one must not forget that culture is a central task of the state. Public institutions such as day-care centers, swimming pools or municipal theaters must not be played off against each other because they are all important for society, its development and cohesion. In addition, no budget can be consolidated at the expense of culture. Rather, the potential that these facilities offer should be used and even unusual approaches should be pursued to shape the future.

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tag Theater Schachbrettmuster Streaming Neustart Kultur Kulturförderung Systemrelevanz
Performing Arts/ Cinema Interview

Das Eine-Milliarde-Euro-Baby
The One-Billion-Euro-Baby

by Dirk Peitz (05 Jun 2020)
Original source: Zeit

Dirk Peitz explores the question of how the crisis of culture in Germany can be described exactly and who is currently bearing the costs that arise in the cultural sector. The »latent lack of systemic relevance« could become a problem for the industry if the economic crisis becomes more severe or lasts longer than currently expected. While the approximately 1.7 million employees are currently an argument in favour of artists, cultural funding could be discontinued very quickly in times of tight budgets.

tag Monika Grütters Konjunkturpaket Kulturförderung Systemrelevanz
All sections Analyse

Schauspielerin Stephanie Lexer über Art ist relevant . Wie wichtig ist Kunst?
Actress Stephanie Lexer on the initiative Art is relevant . How essential is art?

by Stephanie Lexer (31 May 2020)
Original source: Nachrichten München

Art and culture are constantly present in our everyday life. Whether it is the music we listen to on the radio, the series we watch in the evening or the book we read. During the Corona crisis many of the actors felt to exist under the radar. Not only were art and culture not considered to be systemically relevant, individuals also felt that their work was not appreciated. The initiative "Art is relevant" sees this as a symptom of our time, which is reinforced by the Corona crisis. The appreciation for art and culture is declining more and more in the present. This must change! At the same time, however, the industry must also become aware that it has a decisive influence on the way society thinks and acts and thus also has the responsibility to think about what our world should look like.
The actress Stephanie Lexer is co-initiator of the initiative "Art is relevant", which, however, does not want to see itself as a pure Corona initiative, but will also be committed to the interests of art and culture beyond that. One example is the critical questioning of online offerings. Often the impression arises that the work of artists of all disciplines can be regarded as a hobby that can easily be made available online. However, this is also a profession with which one has to earn a living.

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tag Systemrelevanz Wertschätzung Onlineangebote Filmproduktion Stephanie Lexer Kulturförderung
All sections Video-Interview

Überraschung oder Enttäuschung . Was steckt drin im Kulturpaket?
Surprise or disappointment? . What comprises the stimulus package for culture?

by Felicitas Twickel (29 May 2020)
Original source: Aspekte

In the coming week, the German federal government is to adopt an economic stimulus package for the cultural and creative industries. The hopes for support are high. Felicitas Twickel spoke to representatives of the industry who were particularly affected by the pandemic. In addition to the organizers of festivals, which will lose all income in 2020 without replacement, the freelancers in particular are affected by the crisis. If it is not possible to promote them with the announced cultural package, then the diversity of culture and music in Germany is in peril.

tag Konjunkturpaket Berufsverbot Soforthilfe Hygieneregeln Solo-Selbständige Existenzangst
All sections Beitrag



The signet of facing arts joining the faces of STORM.

Facing arts is a non-profi project. Feel free to support it and get in touch with us!

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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