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

Kultur in Krisenzeiten: Mit Vernunft!
Culture in times of crisis: With reason!

by Axel Brüggemann (27 Oct 2020)
Original source: SWR 2

Where is the trust in current cultural policy? Axel Brüggemann focuses on this question in his commentary on the situation of the theatres in Germany. Despite various series of events accompanied by scientists, in which no infection with corona could be proven, the theaters and other cultural organizers are currently the victims of the political wobble. They can no longer see any sense in the regulations: With only 50 visitors left, as the current corona regulation in Bavaria stipulates when the incidence value of 100 infected persons per 100,000 inhabitants is exce eded, even a highly subsidized house is facing ruin. After some artistic directors had already resisted the closure of their houses during the spring with little success, a final rebellion of cultural workers seems to be taking place. That is dangerous. On the one hand, the cultural workers will look for other platforms, which may also be made available by corona deniers. On the other hand, the stages are important places for democratic discourse and fact-based debate. They are thought leaders, experimental fields and innovative institutions. If they can only play the play »Struggle for Survival«, then not only do they no longer fulfil their function, but they also fight on behalf of our open and enlightened society.
And if it should become unavoidable to close the theaters, Brüggemann demands that they be given another platform for discourse. Free streaming not only lacks the appreciation of artistic work, but is also not the right format for discussion in an open-minded society.

 

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tag Theater Hygieneregeln Bühne als Diskursraum Streaming Inzidenzwert Wertschätzung
Performing Arts/ Cinema Kolumne

»Die Ärzte« über Musik und die Pandemie
»Die Ärzte« über Musik und die Pandemie

by Bela B., Rod Gonzalez, Farin Urlaub, Ingo Zamperoni (23 Oct 2020)
Original source: Tagesschau

With the punk band ›Die Ärzte‹ there was an unusual guest on Friday evening in Germany's major news program Tagesschau. The aim of the guest's visit was to point out the situation of the event industry. Not only many musicians can still not perform, also the many solo self-employed behind the stage are for now 7 months to a large extent without commissions. Not only the importance of art in society must be made aware, but also the offers of help must be adapted to the situation of the industry. In conversation, the helplessness of even famous m usicians in the face of the crisis became apparent. Although ›Die Ärzte‹  support campaigns such as #AlarmstufeRot and an aid project for Berlin clubs, which turned out to be less successful than hoped for.

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tag Musikbranche Veranstaltungsbranche Solo-Selbständige Berufsverbot #AlarmstufeRot Existenzangst Wertschätzung
Music Interview

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

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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