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.


»Viele Kollegen von uns mussten Hartz IV beantragen«
»Many of our colleagues had to apply for Hartz IV social security«

by Wiebke Eymess, Jörg Burger (23 Sep 2020)
Original source: Die Zeit

With 80 performances a year, the cabaret duo "Das Geld liegt auf der Fensterbank, Marie", consisting of Wiebke Eymess and Friedolin Müller in the time before Corona, were able to finance themselves well. Together with their two children, the couple lives in the countryside and therefore has very reduced running expenses. Nevertheless the Corona crisis was a shock. As the couple was fully booked for two years in advance, Wiebke Eymess reacted to the cancellations with a panic attack in March. It took time for her to adjust to the new situation. She describe d her feelings and fears in a blog. The fact that the German radio station SWR3 now prints them twice a week as a column helps the family make ends meet. In addition, donations from loyal fans and craftsmanship help them keep their heads above water. The state support they received from the emergency aid programs was minimal. Even if the public has the impression that a lot is being done for culture, hardly anything of it is trickling down to the people affected. Although the ban on employment is being eased somewhat at the moment, and the first theaters and event venues have reopened, one can speak of it more as a hobby than as a job, due to the minimal fees involved. Also the incautiousness of politicians in their choice of language can have devastating consequences. Health Minister Jens Spahn warned of events recently, but actually meant family celebrations. The consequence: ticket sales for cultural events collapsed abruptly.

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tag Kabarett Berufsverbot Kulturförderung Soforthilfe Panikattacke
Performing Arts/ Cinema Interview

„Wo ist die Empathie des Herrn Spahn?“ . "Where is the empathy of Mr. Spahn?"

by Matthias Goerne, Manuel Brug (13 Sep 2020)
Original source: Welt

In an interview with the newspaper Die Welt, the successful lied singer Matthias Goerne expresses his displeasure about the treatment of the concert world during the Corona crisis. He recently took part in a discussion round with the Minister of Health Jens Spahn. The disappointment about the minister's behavior is great: His answers were only evasive; culture as an economy is still not recognized. Although there are subsidies for institutions, the many solo self-employed still look anxiously to the future. The clubbing and stabbing among the concert organizers has a lready started, as the agencies are also struggling to survive. The situation is very difficult at the moment, especially for the young professionals. Many of them will not succeed in gaining a foothold in the market. On the other hand, there are colleagues who have slipped into basic welfare and are now looking for a new job. There is no common voice on the music market. Goerne is even disappointed by the agencies, as they do not argue with sufficient power. Those who work as freelancers are getting more and more immoral offers, because the public houses can save money reducing the number of guests. Yet it is precisely these guests who attract the public.

Goerne shows particularly little understanding for the fact that distance rules do not apply in public transport, but that in concert halls large distances between visitor seats are required. The festival season and above all the Salzburg Festival, which was realized successfully and without infections, has demonstrated that the audience of concert events is highly disciplined and that seating arrangements in a checkerboard pattern can be implemented without danger. Being happy to attend concerts again, the visitors abtstain from conversations in the hall. In addition, many concert halls have excellent ventilation systems that minimize the risk of infection. Goerne cannot understand why the economic power of the industry is not taken into account here giving it a chance to generate income again. Instead, politicians are accepting the death of theater and opera on a large scale.

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tag Konzerte Konzerthäuser Konzertagenturen Solo-Selbständige Studierende stiller Tod Salzburger Festspiele Schachbrettmuster Jens Spahn
Music Interview

Macht die Theater zu – und fangt von vorne an . Theater als Gesellschaftslabor
Close the theaters - and start from scratch . Theater as social laboratory

by Björn Bicker (20 Jul 2020)
Original source: BR Kultur

Björn Bicker considers the slogan of the »crisis as an opportunity«, which is often used in connection with the Corona pandemic, to be one of the last possibilities to save the German-speaking publicly financed theater landscape. His analysis of the situation is unsparing: at the theaters, which are predominantly run by despots, plays are now only performed for a parallel society. The white, well-off middle class is having its theaters financed by an increasingly diverse society.
The compulsory pause, which was heralded by the lockdown, could have been used as a pause for reflection. The standstill was a chance to reflect on the conditions of their own work. But instead of devoting themselves to the question of what a theater of tomorrow might look like, many houses fell into a digital hyper-actionism. Readings, short scenes up to entire performances were put on the net. The opportunity is not yet gone. Instead of continuing to indulge in an actionism that does not reach society, performing theater should pause for a while. This time can be used not only to find a new togetherness in the houses, but also to seek dialogue with a diverse audience at round tables. In this way, concepts for a theater of tomorrow can be developed. The utopia that Bicker creates is that of the municipal theater as a prototype of social development. Whether it really remains a utopia is up to the institutions themselves.

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tag Theater Denkpause Krise als Chance
Performing Arts/ Cinema Zwischenruf

Die Buchbranche leidet und macht Verluste . Ein Virus namens Angst greift um sich
The book industry suffers and makes losses . A virus called anxiety is spreading

by Paul Jandl (17 Jul 2020)
Original source: Neue Züricher Zeitung

Even before the crisis, things did not look bright in the book industry. In recent years, the number of people who regularly buy a book has fallen steadily. The Corona crisis, during which many switched to other media and Amazon preferred to deliver toilet paper instead of books, reinforced this trend. At the end of May, the industry recorded a loss of 17.5 percent compared to the previous year. And so many publishers are reacting with a cost-cutting programme.
Just how hard the industry is struggling with its reinvention was shown by the squabbles surrounding the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. Many publishing companies have since cancelled their participation after the people in charge decided very early on to hold the Fair with an alternative concept. In Frankfurt, for example, people are now thinking about transforming the industry meeting into a creative festival where, besides literature, music, pop and gaming are also present. At the moment it is to be feared that anxiety is causing much more damage in the industry than the virus.

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tag Buchbranche Buchmesse Neustart Kultur Umsatzeinbruch zweiter Frühling
Literature/ Text Bericht

Interne Anweisung: »Schauspieler über 60 bitte eliminieren«
Internal directive: »Please eliminate actors over 60«

by Stefan Grund (17 Jun 2020)
Original source: Welt

In the last days, a letter has become known that the production company Saxonia Media has sent to the scriptwriters of the popular series "In aller Freundschaft" commissioned by the first German national TV channel ARD. In it they were asked to use actors over 60 in a very reduced way or even not to cast them at all. After there have been only rumours up to now that production companies encourage their script writers to remove old characters, this is the first case in which such a procedure has been proven. The German association of actors 'Berufsverband Sc hauspiel" is investigating all suspicious cases, not only to clarify them, but also to warn against such action.

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tag Fernsehserien ARD Schauspieler*innen Berufsverband Schauspiel Drehbuch Altersdiskriminierung
Performing Arts/ Cinema Bericht

Solo-Selbständige: Unter Verdacht
Freelancers: Under suspicion

by Karin Finkenzeller (14 Jun 2020)
Original source: Zeit

The uncertainty related to the application for emergency aid is affecting many creative artists and cultural workers. As the regulations were initially all but transparent, it was not clearly communicated that it is not possible to apply for entrepreneurial salaries in every German federal state. Now, there hangs the accusation in the air, that artists are obtaining benefits from the state by fraud, which the state awarded far too carelessly. Rainer Bode, cultural advisor in Münster, and a few fellow campaigners have therefore sent an appeal for remediation to the B undestag Committee for Culture.

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tag Soforthilfe Solo-Selbständige Existenzangst Vera Klima
All sections Bericht

Kommunen, Verbände, Künstler - der »Kulturpolitische Salon« im DLF Kultur diskutiert verschiedene Sichtweisen auf das Kulturpaket. Fazit: Die langfristigen Folgen der Krise sind noch nicht absehbar. . Kann das Milliardenpaket des Bundes die Kultur retten?
Leaving the Corona crisis behind with a . Can the federal government's billion-euro package save culture?

by Skadi Jennicke, Ulrich Khuon, Dagmar Schmidt, Wolfgang Schmidt, Olaf Zimmermann, Hans Dieter Heimendahl (12 Jun 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

As part of the economic stimulus package, the German Federal Government has provided one billion euros for the protection of the infrastructure in the cultural and creative industries with its "Restart Culture" programme. In the new format of Deutschlandfunk, the "Cultural Policy Salon", representatives from various sectors are discussing about the significance of the government's cultural package in the current situation and how the exit strategy from the crisis could look like for the sector. The participants agree that the economic stimulus pac kage is an important signal for the sector, but it is still seen as a form of emergency aid. The crisis is far from over, many cultural institutions are still in test mode. As the municipalities and institutions are still reacting to the crisis, they hope for some deceleration, so that there is again time for a reflective approach to the demands of the new everyday life.

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tag Konjunkturpaket Neustart Kultur Kulturförderung Bundesregierung Verbände Kommunen
All sections Diskussion

»Die Künstler haben Angst« . Wird die Kunstwelt nach Corona eine andere sein und wenn ja, wie anders?
»The artists live in fear« . Will the art world have changed after Corona?

by Vincenzo de Bellis, Heinrich Schwazer (03 Jun 2020)
Original source: Neue Südtiroler Tageszeitung

The art world will change, but we will only be able to see it in a year. The reopening is currently a real test. Even if he assumes that many smaller galleries will not survive the crisis, de Bellis is not sure whether the art market will be affected by the economic crisis.

tag Kunstwelt
Visual Arts/Design 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

Kultur-Sofortprogramm: »Das reicht nicht aus«
Immediate Action Program for Culture: »This is not sufficient«

by Olaf Zimmermann, Jürgen Deppe (25 May 2020)
Original source: NDR Kultur

For small and medium-sized cultural institutions, the resumption of their program in compliance with the rules of hygiene entails expenditures. For this purpose, support can be applied for from the "Neustart" emergency program launched by the federal Ministers of State for Cultur, Monika Grütters. Last week, Grütters announced that the originally budgeted funds had to be doubled because of the high demand. Olaf Zimmermann welcomes this initiative of the Ministers of State for Culture and the gradual return to normality in the cultural sector, but also points out in an interview with the NRD that this program is not sufficient. On the one hand, it merely involves reallocated funds from the State Minister of Culture's budget that are currently not needed elsewhere, but on the other hand it also requires a specific culture pool to support the industry. Here he sees the federal government as having a duty. In the individual German states, the freelance artists have received support in very different ways, but this support will expire at the end of June. Here it is urgently required to think about new concepts, because the crisis is far from over for the cultural sector.

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tag Kulturförderung Monika Grütters Neustart Kultur
All sections Interview



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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