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.


»Als ob Kultur nur Bespaßung wäre« . Louwrens Langevoort über Corona-Maßnahmen
. Louwrens Langevoort about Corona measures

by Louwrens Langevoort, Carsten Beyer (29 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

That's the perversion of the whole story. We are not a swimming center. It's not like we can close in one day and on December 1st we open again and the audience is back. The director of the Cologne Philharmonic has to cancel 30 events for November. Whether and when he will be allowed to reopen his house is still written in the stars. Since concerts require advance notice, he would have to know by now whether he will be allowed to play again on December 1, otherwise it would be impossible to organize a performance. Basically, a certain frustration is exp ressed in the conversation: even though Langevoort, as director of the Philharmonic, must expect the worst, he had hoped that the intensive advertising for the well-designed hygiene concepts in theaters, operas and concert halls, among others by the German Stage Association, would be noticed by politicians. The second lockdown for cultural institutions seems to him to be exaggerated, especially since he has the impression that politics does not do exactly that in those places where it would have to take consistent action. The fact that the Chancellor talks about having to reduce the total mass of encounters because of the incomprehensible chains of infection is completely understandable to him. Nevertheless, the disappointment is great - also about Markus Söder's statement that one does not want to offend anyone who has made an effort. The cultural industry feels that it suffers a snub in the face of current events.
Asked about the promised compensation payments, Langevoort is skeptical. Also in the spring support was promised. These were only implemented very slowly and many companies and solo self-employed persons did not benefit from them. He also points out that artists want to perform and not to become welfare recipients. In addition, the houses also see themselves as cultural institutions with an educational mission. They want to fulfill this mission even in times of pandemic.

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tag Konzerthäuser Philharmonie Köln Soforthilfe November-Lockdown Planungssicherheit Angela Merkel Markus Söder Deutscher Bühnenverein Bauernopfer
Music Interview

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

So werden wir die Welt nicht retten
This is not how we will save the world

by Cornelius Meister (29 Oct 2020)
Original source: Staatsoper Stuttgart

Failure of the German society is diagnosed by the General Music Director of the Stuttgart State Opera, Cornelius Meister, in his statement on the current situation in the Corona crisis. On the one hand the society did not manage to stop the virus, on the other hand it could not give the politicians any confidence that a differentiated decision would be handled responsibly. And so cultural institutions where no infections have been detected are now being taken into collective custody - worse still, they are being categorized under "leisure facilities". This blac k and white thinking is dangerous, and who if not culture could counteract it? The humanistic tradition, which Cornelius Meister advocates, means not only differentiated action on the part of politics, but at the same time a way of dealing with one another that is characterized by mindfulness. Only in this way can the physical and mental health of our fellow human beings be protected. A "cultureless November", on the other hand, will not save the world

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tag November-Lockdown gemeinsame Verantwortung schwarz-weiß Denken Freizeiteinrichtungen Kollektivhaft
Performing Arts/ Cinema Statement

Bildet Banden! . Warum der zweite Lockdown für Theater und Künstler*innen wie eine Ohrfeige wirkt
Create gangs! . Why the second lockdown is like a slap in the face for theater and artists

by Georg Kasch (28 Oct 2020)
Original source: Nachtkritik

The location of the theaters is desperate. Not only is a second lockdown imposed on them, they are also classified as "entertainment«, are in a row with gyms, betting shops and brothels. And this despite the fact that the theaters behaved so exemplarily during the lockdown. With streamings they entertained their audience, developed hygiene concepts, and replanned the new season three times. And now?, asks Gerog Kasch in his commentary. The houses have to close their doors again, although even virologists do not consider this step necessary. Can the closure rea lly be justified by the fact that the audience, after the consequent separation, meets in the stalls after the performance to discuss the evening?
If culture, unlike many other branches of the economy, is now being sacrificed as a pawn, then politics should pay for the industry's continued existence. Intendants, organizers and all those involved must insist on this. An appropriate financial compensation for the houses and a kind of basic income for the solo self-employed with loss of earnings should save the industry from the crisis.
In the meantime, however, the cultural workers should not sit back and relax, but rather tackle what was neglected in the spring: joining forces with others to raise the voice for culture together. Streaming, because those who are not visible are forgotten. However, we must not make the mistake of offering everything for free; intelligent payment concepts must be developed. His final appeal is directly addressed to the theater industry: Design the theater of tomorrow! If the experiences of the last few months are productively used for a new conception, then the lockdown makes sense for the arts.

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tag November-Lockdown Unterhaltung Hygienekonzepte Bestandssicherung Grundeinkommen Bauernopfer Krise als Chance Streaming
Performing Arts/ Cinema Kommentar

Jagt den Krimi in die Luft! . Literatur und Corona
Blow up the thriller! . Literature and Corona

by Simone Buchholz (28 Oct 2020)
Original source: Zeit

Crises freeze time for a moment and divide our experience into a before and after. One of the central tasks of art is to tell about such times of crisis. One genre for which the crisis is a core element is the crime fiction,novel, and so it is not surprising that the German crime novelist Simone Buchholz reflects on a new orientation of the genre in the weekly newspaper »Die Zeit«.
In order to finally gain a firm place in the genre of society novels, the crime fiction would have to throw overboard a whole range of its previous characteristics, above al l a simplistic narrative and the German idyll. Instead, the new crime fiction must shake at the genre's boundaries, leave every safe haven and devote itself to the completely unknown. Only the individual can be at the center of such a new novel. The characteristics that Buchholz now lists are the human striving for knowledge, his sense of solidarity and an idea of social cohesion. This reads as if Faust was crossed with Gretchen. The new crime fiction novel should also be a contemporary witness and, in addition to documenting the state of the crisis, it should also document how the crisis was withstood.  
Is the genre abolishing itself? asks the experienced crime novelist at the end of her dream of a new crime fiction novel. We will know when her new novel is published.

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tag Corona-Roman Kriminalroman Neuausrichtung von der Krise erzählen Quo vadis ars
Literature/ Text Reflexion

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

Theater, Opern- und Konzerthäuser sind keine Infektionsorte
Theaters, opera houses and concert halls are not places of infection

by Deutscher Bühnenverein (27 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutscher Bühnenverein

In an urgent letter, Ulrich Khuon as President and Marc Grandmontagne as Managing Director of the German Stage Association address the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the State Premiers. As they have already pointed out several times in the media over the past few days, they once again underline that, for physical reasons, mass contagion in theaters, opera houses and concert halls is not possible. They therefore ask that a reasonable decision is taken during the consultations of the Ministerial Conference and that the venues do not close. These are indispensable cult ural spaces for society. Therefore, it is not only important not to lose the trust of the public that has just been regained, but also to save small and medium-sized institutions from ruin.

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tag Hygienekonzepte Ansteckungsgefahr Schließungen Verhältnismäßigkeit Gefährdung der Kulturnation
Performing Arts/ Cinema Offener Brief

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

Eight Small New York Theaters Sue Cuomo Over Pandemic Restrictions

by Michael Paulson (26 Oct 2020)
Original source: New York Times

Eight smaller New York theaters with less than 200 seats are suing the Governor and Mayor of New York and claiming their right to equal treatment, as bowling alleys, casinos, gyms and shopping malls have already been allowed to reopen. The theaters are represented by attorney James G. Mermigis, who has already successfully sued for the reopening of the Catholic Diocese of New York and the gym.

tag New York Theater Rechtsweg Gleichbehandlung Verhältnismäßigkeit
Performing Arts/ Cinema Bericht

Was braucht es, um wieder Kontrolle über die Pandemie zu bekommen?
What does it take to regain control of the pandemic?

by Gunter Gebauer, Julius Stucke (24 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

In an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio, philosopher Gunter Gebauer asks the question of what significance culture still has today. A lot can be accessed and consumed within our own four walls. The way out is therefore no longer so important. The crisis could thus also result in a clear-cut, based on reduced demand. Many cultural workers already have to look at how they earn their living. Gebauer reports, for example, about an opera director who gives rhetoric courses. The concern Gebauer expresses is not only that these many drop-outs will not come back, but that the demand for culture will decline fundamentally because people have become accustomed to everyday life without cultural events. Interestingly, Gebauer does not ask what effects this will have on our economy, since he contradicts Julian Nida-Rümelin's thesis that we are in a situation similar to that of 1945, in which the country would have clearly oriented itself towards the Deutschmark and the economy.
Another topic is the appearance of the punk band »Die Ärzte« in the Germany's major news program »Tagesthemen« on Friday evening. Julius Stucke, moderating the interview with Gebauer, criticizes that the dramatic situation of the industry could not really be conveyed seriously during the program because everything appeared so »neat«. Gebauer contradicts this, because he considered the power of punk culture, which the three musicians brought to the stage, as important to convey the seriousness of the situation. The philosopher felt that it was particularly important that the ›old hands‹ stood up for all the employees in the background in order to point out their situation.

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tag Aufstehn für Kultur stiller Tod Streaming Krise als Chance Solo-Selbständige Die Ärzte Tagesthemen Punk Julian Nida-Rümelin
All sections Gespräch



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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