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.


 

Leipziger Buchmesse abgesagt
Leipzig Book Fair canceled

by Martin Hoferick (29 Jan 2021)
Original source: Kulturzeit

A major event is currently hardly plannable and so it is not surprising that the director of the Leipzig Book Fair, Oliver Zille, announced this week with a heavy heart the cancellation of this year's fair. Precisely because Leipzig relies on so many forms of encounter, the fair is hardly safe to hold this year. A shift to the digital is out of question for the organizers, because here the personal encounter as a central element of the Leipzig fair cannot be adequately implemented. The format itself will definitely be retained in the coming years, the situation on th e book market is good despite the cancellation. Nevertheless, Andreas Rötzer from the publishing house Matthes und Seitz demands that support for the industry must be considered if other major events are cancelled in the course of the year. A vaccination center will now be set up in the exhibition halls this far.

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tag Buchmesse Buchbranche Digitalisierung Begegnung Großveranstaltungen
Literature/ Text Bericht

Here’s the first Africa-wide survey of the economic impact of COVID-19 on cultural industries

by Ribio Nzeza Bunketi Buse (28 Dec 2020)
Original source: The Conversation

This report refers to a study on the effects of the pandemic for the creative industry in Africa. Quantitative data from Senegal, D.R. Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia and South Africa are compared, but also qualitative data from further African countries evaluated.  The most affected subsector within the cultural industries in Africa was the performing arts whereas the non face to face media are more resilient. Predominantly the informal sector appears to be hit. Similar to reports of the effects in OECD countries a significant number of freelancers and very small siz e of companies are affected. Above all, precarious employments or short time jobs are disproportionately impacted.

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tag Afrika Prekariat Wirtschaftsfaktor informeller Sektor
All sections Bericht

»Es wurde zu viel abgesagt« . Kultur während Corona
»Too much has been cancelled« . Culture during Corona

by Axel Zibulski (26 Dec 2020)
Original source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Already after the spring lockdown, it was clear to many concert organisers of smaller events that they would be better off financially foregoing performances. The few places that could be allocated did not allow for cost-covering events. Nevertheless, many of them spared no effort to be able to offer events again, to bring artists on stage. The audience gratefully accepted the offer. The tickets for each concert were quickly sold out. Karl-Werner Joerg, who is in charge of several subscription series in the Rhine-Main region, criticises the fact that many organ isers have cancelled concerts in anticipatory obedience. Especially with the smaller concerts, hygiene concepts could be taken into account very well, which is why - unlike with a big rock concert - a cancellation did not seem necessary. This also shows the support he has received. Subscribers have largely supported him, some concerts could be made possible with special public payments or private donations.

For a freelance concert organiser who does not have his own venue, the emergency aid and bridging funds were not available during the lockdown. On the one hand, he has few fixed costs, on the other hand, he also had income from subscriptions during the lockdown, which he was, however, not allowed to use to finance the new season until the autumn.
In the current situation, he demands above all that smaller events be allowed to take place again and that the industry show more solidarity. If large spaces were opened up for smaller organisers, this would not only help them and the musicians, but would also send an important signal to the »culture industry«: As in agriculture or retail, it should be about promoting smaller initiatives so that in the end it is not only the big chains that survive.

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tag Konzertveranstalter Lockdown Planungssicherheit Solidarität Kulturindustrie
Music Bericht

Place de la Bastille, la culture crie sa colère face au “mépris” du gouvernement
Place de la Bastille, the culture cries out in anger at the government's »contempt«

by Sophie Rahal (15 Dec 2020)
Original source: Télérama'

The French government's recent decision not to reopen cultural institutions on 15 December is leading to nationwide demonstrations by cultural workers from a wide range of disciplines, from street art to contemporary music and visual artists. The discontent articulated in Montpellier or in the historic Place de la Bastille in Paris is directed against the »contempt« articulated in government conduct. But it expresses also the financial precariousness that affects many of them despite state aid measures. The cultural workers are not asking for special trea tment but lamenting the injustice because despite all the health precautions taken to keep audiences safe, theatres and cinemas remain closed while commerce and churches are allowed to reopen. Actor Samuel Churin warns: »But [...] since the government has made a political decision, [...] we have to go into resistance. We will invade churches, shopping malls, auction houses.... And we will put on shows there«. He is one of the co-initiators of an emergency motion to be set up at the Conseil d'État on 16 December demanding the reopening of the venues.

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tag Widerstand Frankreich Gleichbehandlung Prekariat Theater Kirche Kino
All sections Bericht

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

Sündenfall Bamberg: Kulturrat sorgt sich um Etatkürzungen der Kommunen
The Fall of Bamberg: Cultural council worries about budget cuts of the municipalities

by Olaf Zimmermann (26 Oct 2020)
Original source: SWR 2

The financing of culture is a voluntary task of the municipalities. When funds become very scarce, the only solution for the treasurers is often to cut the funds for culture and sports. This week, the city of Bamberg hit the headlines in this regard: the city's administrative treasury is 45 million euros short, which is why the culture budget must be drastically cut. But if culture is missing, we destroy the inner life of a city. Making the treasurers responsible for this situation does not solve the problem. The managing director of the German Cultural Council, Olaf Zimmermann, is calling for joint resistance, because in this emergency situation only the federal government can support the municipalities - even if this is not yet legally possible.
Basically Zimmermann assumes that the beacons will survive in the cultural life of the cities. However, the many smaller institutions, some of which are privately financed and often located outside the major centers, are in danger as a result of the crisis. At present, the aim is not to subsidize institutions that were already at risk before the crisis, but to help those that are well supported in normal times to survive the crisis. Nobody doubts at present that this support is necessary. Zimmermann considers the observation that audiences have been hesitant to attend cultural events in recent weeks to be a temporary problem. At the moment, it is mainly the restrictions on social contacts that are putting people under psychological strain. He is convinced that "culture will blossom again" next year.

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tag Bamberg Kämmerer Kommunen Bund Kulturfinanzierung Etatkürzungen psychische Belastung
Performing Arts/ Cinema Gespräch

Kultur in der Corona-Krise . Erwacht endlich aus der Schockstarre!
Culture during Corona Crisis . Finally wake up from freeze mode!

by Marco Frei, Christian Wildhagen (01 May 2020)
Original source: Neue Züricher Zeitung

Translation

tag Klassische Musik Konzerthäuser Gleichbehandlung Bundesliga Großveranstaltungen Onlineangebote Hygieneregeln
Music Beitrag

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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