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.


„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

Culture shock: COVID-19 and the cultural and creative sectors . OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

by Ekaterina Travkina, Pier Luigi Sacco, Benedetta Morari (07 Sep 2020)
Original source: OECD

The 50-pages long report of the OECD analyzes the serious socio-economic consequences for the cultural and creative industries, which are the most affected by the crisis besides tourism, using extensive sources and figures.  The effects vary regionally and according to sub-sectors. Whereas many performing artists are currently without employment, the game industry is booming.  Aglomerations in particular are affected, and with them the ecosystem of countless freelancers and suppliers, which is particularly threatened - implying long-term consequences.
In addition to this detailed analysis, the authors also provide examples of various public and private measures to support the sectors. The authors emphasize that public measures are often inappropriate because the creative workers do not fit into classical support frameworks. In the appendix, the measures are compared in tabular form, sorted by country.
The authors not only point out the economic importance of the cultural and creative industries, but also, especially in view of a Postcovid19 era, the immaterial importance as a driver of innovation in the economy and society as a whole, with synergies especially for education and health.

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tag OECD Wirtschaftsfaktor postcovid19 Bildung Ballungszentren
All sections Wissenschaftliches Paper

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

Ein bisschen Event geht immer . Klassik & Corona
A little bit of event always works . Classical music & Corona

by Manuel Brug (20 Jun 2020)
Original source: Welt

The friends of classical music would currently be preparing for an exciting festival summer if Corona did not prevent pretty much everything that inspires the classical world. In his article, Manuel Brug gives an overview of the plans for the summer and the start of the season. While the start of the season has already been postponed to January at the major opera houses in the USA, the Paris Opera is struggling with a 40 million deficit. In Germany, the new season is being celebrated with smaller productions, only the Bavarian State Opera does not want to miss a per formance with Marina Abramovic.

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tag Klassische Musik Oper Konzerthäuser Spielplan Festivals USA Paris Streaming Marina Abramovic
Music Bericht

How we can save our theatres . Britain’s powerhouse cultural sector needs investment, not charity

by Sam Mendes (05 Jun 2020)
Original source: Financial Times

With regards to the grave situation for theatres in the UK Sir Sam Mendes believes to have a plan how to help this rich culture to survive. The British film and stage director underlines the economic factor of the UK as cultural »soft super power«: Here live theatre not only generates ticket revenues, but is breeding new talents for film industry. To save the »multi-faceted organism« of live theatre he provides a mixture of recipes. First off all he pleas to sustain the workforce. Above all he proposes a tax relief increased from 20 per cent to 50 per cent for the next three years. Finally, he introduces a new model for governmental support:  He proposes the state to function as an »Angel« similar to a private investor co-producing new programs. So the government does not provide subsidies, but functions as public investor getting also share of the revenue in case of a successful production.

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tag Theater Sam Mendes Steuererleichterung Kulturförderung
Performing Arts/ Cinema Statement

Elend und Energie . Musik in Corona-Zeiten
Misery and Energy . Music in Times of Corona

by Eva Blaskewitz (02 Jun 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

Eva Blaskewitz takes the listeners of the  radio broadcast Music Scene at Deutschlandfunk on a journey through the music landscape during the corona crisis. Both individual musicians and orchestras are currently developing diverse new formats in order to keep in touch with their audience. But the costs for events that have not taken place are high, the self-employed musicians fear for their existence.

tag klassische Musik Absagen Honorare Konzerthäuser Konzertagenturen Onlineangebote Balkonkonzerte Idagio
Music Bericht

Was wir im Lockdown über das Digitale gelernt haben

by Anika Meier (02 Jun 2020)
Original source: Monopol

The corona crisis has accelerated the shift to the digital world. Art exhibitions were also presented online in times of lockdown. If there is no other choice, even these institutions who have tended to avoid online media are now turning to social media to communicate and exchange ideas. In her column, Anika Meier examines what we have learned with regard to the digital world during the crisis, presenting various activities of the recent months, from livestreams via Instagram to online viewing rooms and augmented reality. In doing so, she urges art critics to think about new standards for evaluating art on the Net. Naive euphoria or unreflected criticism of the fact that virtual exhibitions cannot replace real museum visits do not do justice to either the artistic-curatorial claim or the medium.

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tag Online Viewing Room Streaming Augmented Reality Hans Ulrich Obrist Iwan Wirth Koo Jeong A Krise als Chance
Visual Arts/Design Kolumne

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

Zurück aus dem Netz: Theater unter Corona-Auflagen
Back from the Web: Theatre under Corona Constraints

by Susanne Burkhardt, Elena Philipp (22 May 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

In the »Theatre podcast« by Deutschlandfunk, Susanne Burkhardt and Elena Philipp, theater critic Cornelia Fiedler and actor Matthias Wuttke investigate the limitations of the crisis and the opportunities that the reopening of houses can bring. Few houses have found ways to show current productions under the conditions of the lockdown. It turns out that theaters in Germany have developed many formats in recent decades that now enable corona-compatible forms of theater.

tag Theater Theaterformen Onlineangebote Hygieneregeln Cornelia Fiedler Matthias Wuttke
Performing Arts/ Cinema Podcast

Wenn der Atem nach Freiheit dürstet . Endlich wieder im Konzert
When the breath thirsts for freedom . Finally in concert again

by Manuel Brug (20 May 2020)
Original source: Welt

For eight weeks and two days, Manuel Brug, the feuilleton contributor to the German newspaper Welt, did not attend any more cultural events. For the first live concert in Corona times he is travelling to Wiesbaden for the slimmed-down May Festival, which opens with the world-class bass and Corona rebel Günther Groissböck. Even though it was painfully experienced during the Corona era that culture is not relevant to the system and that politics is merely settling between gambling and brothel, this field report encourages the belief that the cultural industry can slowly reboot.

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tag Klassische Musik Konzert Systemrelevanz Günther Groissböck Hygieneregeln Wiesbaden
Music Erlebnisbericht



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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