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.


»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

Bayerische Theater entsetzt über neue Corona-Regeln
Bavarian theaters appalled by new corona regulations

by Christoph Leibold (22 Oct 2020)
Original source: BR24

Following the announcement last week in North Rhine-Westphalia of a limit on the number of spectators for theaters due to rising corona infections, Bavaria is now following suit. Bavarian State Premier Markus Söder announced that regardless of the size of a house, when an incidence rate of 100 infections per 100,000 inhabitants is reached, only 50 participants will be allowed to attend a cultural event.
In Bavaria's theaters, the outcry is great. Up to now, the rules of distance have been generously adhered to, and every house has a well-developed hygiene concept. In Bavaria, too, there are no infectious diseases among visitors to cultural events. Instead of recognizing this success, the new decree destroys it. Those involved in culture accuse the State Chancellery of not having gained an impression of the situation in the houses so far. Even the »representatives of the cultural scene« apparently involved in the decision could not be identified so far. No director of the large Bavarian theaters was asked to comment. So it is not surprising that the director of the Kammerspiele, Barbara Mundel, accuses the state premier of »purely symbolic politics« at the expense of the cultural institutions. For these institutions, the new decree is tantamount to a new lockdown. Another aspect that Mundel addresses should not be forgotten in the current situation: Theater and other open spaces of art offer the opportunity for exchange and reflection. This is the place to reflect on the consequences of the Corona crisis for our society.

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tag Theater Inzidenzwert Hygieneregeln Bayern Markus Söder
Performing Arts/ Cinema Bericht

»Die virtuelle Welt hilft uns leider nicht« . Star-Geigerin Anne-Sophie Mutter über Corona
»Unfortunately the virtual world does not help us at all« . Star violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter on Corona

by Anne-Sophie Mutter, Gero Schließ (20 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutsche Welle

Already in the summer, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and her colleagues wrote an open letter calling for support from the society for musicians. Now she is using the Opus Klassik award to draw attention to the precarious situation of many artists in the Corona crisis. In an interview with Deutsche Welle, she once again expresses her position. She herself is doubly affected by the pandemic. Not only are most of her concerts cancelled for 2020, but in March she had to cancel her tour because she herself had fallen ill with the corona virus.
The violinist reacts with incomprehension to the current actions of politics. At concerts and cultural events, there are extremely strict rules of hygiene, while in restaurants people are allowed to celebrate without distance. The fact that this not only discriminates against a single profession, but also against a high-turnover industry and thus the entire German cultural landscape is on the verge of collapse, hurts her very much. She does not want her concerns to be understood as criticism of the work of the Minister of State for Culture, with whom she is in close contact. Rather, she hopes for new aid measures for all solo self-employed people in the cultural industry so that it can be saved through the crisis. If this does not happen, the industry must raise its voice in demonstrations.
For Mutter, there is no question that art and culture are important as sources of consolation, especially in times of crisis. To rely on streaming as self-exploitation of artists in this time is no solution for society as a whole. Even if concerts are currently taking place, the musicians usually play without a part of their fee, since they usually give two concerts each in front of a hall that is at most half full. Mutter suggests that one should follow the example from Salzburg, where with the chessboard pattern and consistent testing the festival could be carried out as usual. The gratitude of the audience, which she experienced in autumn, shows her how important music is during a crisis.

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tag Klassik Streaming Schachbrettmuster Salzburger Festspiele Honorar Gleichbehandlung Monika Grütters
Music Interview

Corona-Pandemie: »Kultur merkwürdigerweise in dieser Krise marginalisiert«
Corona Pandemic: »Culture strangely marginalized during this crisis«

by Julian Nida-Rümelin, Änne Seidel (18 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

»Aufstehn für Kultur« [stand up for culture] is an appeal for a demonstration in Munich. The goal is to address as many people interested in culture as possible and to motivate them to participate in the demonstration. The importance of this is explained by one of the initiators, political scientist, philosopher and former Minister of State for Culture Julian Nida-Rümelin, in an interview with the German radio station Deutschlandfunk.
Politics reacts to public debates. Therefore, Nida-Rümelin is convinced that it is now necessary for eve ryone interested in culture to raise their voice now.  The cultural workers be only helped, if the public pressure by the cultural consumers grows. That is particularly important after seven months of stagnation, because anyone who decides to change careers now is lost to culture. This means that the unique cultural asset in Germany is permanently threatened. Even if the artists reacted very creatively to the crisis during the first lockdown, this must not obscure the existential need.
Even if politicians have tried to support cultural workers so far, it must be said that the programs that have been implemented so far are not sufficient. With regard to an unconditional basic income for artists, Nida-Rümelin explains that he considers it the task of politics to ensure that no existences are destroyed in the crisis. Anyone who has been able to live from art up to now can prove this, for example, through tax assessments. In addition to the economic and social cushioning, the former Minister of State for Culture also sees a problem in the fact that cultural life has been reduced to a minimum. If there are no cultural events and no debates, this has an impact on the constitution of society. Politicians must counteract this in order to limit the damage to immaterial values caused by the crisis as much as possible.
Nida-Rümelin does not consider a second, European lockdown to be feasible. The resulting costs cannot be mitigated a second time. The result would be a depression. In 1929 we saw what psychological, social and cultural consequences such a crisis can have. The foundations of coexistence and democracy would then be shaken. European society must prevent this danger at all costs.

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tag Grundeinkommen stiller Tod Systemrelevanz Aufstehn für Kultur Lockdown 1929 Depression Kulturstaat
All sections Gespräch

Frankfurter Buchmesse: Was ist das Buch ohne die Menschen?
Frankfurt Book Fair: What would books be without people?

by Felix Stephan (17 Oct 2020)
Original source: Süddeutsche Zeitung

How do you measure the social value of a book? How do you recognize the importance of the Frankfurt Book Fair? Felix Stephan examines these questions based on the debates triggered by the recent Book Fair. Based on Saša Stanišić critique of the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Peter Handke formulated in occasion of his acceptance speech at the awarding ceremony of the German Book Prize, Stephan shows how debates evolve. Suddenly it was no longer about the text itself, but about the foreign secretary Hans-Dietrich Genscher and the role of the Germans in the K osovo war. Such debates are important because they determine the social climate and encourage critical thinking. The starting point is the written text, but it needs the public forum of the Book Fair to unfold its potential.
Such debates cannot arise in the medial silence of the digital book fair. Nevertheless: the book as a commodity is attractive. Even though the Fair is largely taking place online this year, the publishers are not doing badly. The pandemic tempts people to read. In the area of children's and youth literature, sales figures have even risen by 13 percent compared to the same period last year. The large publishing houses are already starting to think about whether a physical stand at the Book Fair is still worthwhile. Expenditure is high, but it is difficult to quantify the successes. The licensing business does not need the fair. So why not decouple the book industry from the public? The example of America shows how profits fizzle out in a vacuum when the book is seen only as a commodity and even mega-bestsellers like Michel Obama's autobiography no longer trigger discussion. According to Felix Stephan, not only would the book lose its role as a leading medium, but our public sphere would lose an important forum for its culture of debate.

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tag Buchbranche Buchmesse Leitmedium Debattenkultur Einsparpotential digitale Stille
Literature/ Text Bericht

Kleine und mittlere Theater sind existenziell bedroht . Corona-Maßnahmen in NRW
Small and medium-sized theaters are existentially threatened . Corona measures in North Rhine-Westphalia

by Marc Grandmontagne, Marietta Schwarz (15 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

A decree of the Ministry of Health severely limits the number of participants for events in North Rhine-Westphalia. With immediate effect, only 250 participants or a maximum of 20 percent capacity are permitted. This decree will hit the venues hard at the beginning of the season, as the complete events now have to be rescheduled. Smaller venues, such as the Kommödchen in Düsseldorf, have already announced that they will close again for the time being. The head of the German Stage Association, Marc Grandmontagne, considers the decree to be completely misguided. So far, no infection in a theater is known. All houses have a thoroughly worked out hygiene concept. Due to the modern ventilation technology in the large houses, the danger of infection is minimal. Up to now, under these circumstances it would have been possible in NRW to seat 100 percent of the seats. Since the audience currently still wants a safe distance, 50 percent of the seats were usually occupied. So there is no objective reason for the new decree.
The Ministry of Culture in NRW has not yet issued a statement on the decree. Grandmontagne is calling for better coordination between the players. Since the Ministry of Culture supports the smaller houses in particular, he does not assume that the decree was coordinated in advance.
Grandmontagne is particularly concerned about the signal that the decree sends out to the cultural workers themselves. Tiredness and exhaustion is noticeable in the industry. Not being able to carry out one's own profession normally in the long term has psychological consequences. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that the development of the pandemic is due to our own behavior. Here the cultural industry has been very consistent and responsible so far, and has gained a lot of experience. This whole experience can now serve as a basis for future strategies. 

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tag Theater NRW psychische Belastung Hygieneregeln Gesundheitsministerium
Performing Arts/ Cinema Gespräch

Ein Weiter so wird es nach der Pandemie nicht geben . Literaturagentin Ruge zur Frankfurter Buchmesse
There won't be business as usual after the pandemic . Literary agent Ruge at the Frankfurt Book Fair

by Elisabeth Ruge, Christopher Ricke (13 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

This year, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest meeting place for the book trade, will be held primarily in digital form due to the pandemic. Instead of wandering through the corridors of the exhibition halls and meeting colleagues and contract partners, publisher and cultural agent Elisabeth Runge is sitting in front of the screen this year. Here she follows events and conducts negotiations for her authors. She only uses the online platform set up by the Book Fair for the allocation of film rights. All other meetings were organized independently. In an interview with De utschlandfunk Kultur, Runge reports on her impressions of this year's book fair. She criticizes the sterile atmosphere at the German Book Prize awards ceremony, where only the shortlisted nominees were present with two guests each. Otherwise, she praises those responsible for organizing the fair, which has largely shifted to the digital domain. At the same time, she warns that Messe Frankfurt must consider a new concept for the industry meeting in the coming years. For the large publishing houses and corporations in particular, the cancellation of the Book Fair also resulted in huge savings. They will show little interest in returning to the previous form of the fair after the end of the pandemic. There must therefore be an offer here that makes the Fair attractive again for all involved parties.

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tag Buchmesse Buchpreis Rechtehandel Digitalisierung Elisabeth Ruge Streaming virtuelle Präsenz
Literature/ Text Interview

The arts sector is already suffering . This year's budget just pours salt on the wound

by Leya Reid (08 Oct 2020)
Original source: The Guardian

It is a simple calculation according to the Australia Institute: Every Australian million dollars invested in the arts creates nine jobs. In construction, that same investment generates just 0.9 to 1.3 jobs. But obviously the Liberal-National Coalition government is ignoring this calculus in its recent fiscal strategy and does not include an increased support for the arts industry as first and worst hit sector by Covid 19. So no “jobs, jobs, jobs” as promised by treasurer Josh Frydenberg – at least not for the creative industries – but permanent i ncome reductions for the high-income earners. Concrete suggestions, such as those articulated in June by the National Association for the Visual Arts in an open letter, remain unheard. 

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tag Australien Wirtschaftsfaktor offener Brief Steuererleichterung
Visual Arts/Design Bericht

Louise Glück wird dem Handel nicht helfen können . Literaturnobelpreis und der Buchmarkt
Louise Glück will not be able to help the trade . Nobel Prize for Literature and the Book Market

by Gerrit Bartels (08 Oct 2020)
Original source: taz

With the announcement of the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Swedish Academy of Sciences heralds the autumn of books. In the week before the opening of the Book Fair, the market gets a first boost from the interest in the prize-winning works. By awarding the 2020 Prize to Louise Glück, the Nobel Commission has set a double signal: on the one hand, it insists on the sovereignty of interpretation in matters of literary merit, and on the other, it sets a political signal - as the few photographs show Louise Glück at the awarding of the National Human ities Medal by Barack Obama in 2016.
This double symbolic act is hitting the book trade hard. This year there is no boost, which is not only shifted by the attention paid to the award-winning author, but also meets authors in their environment. The two volumes of Louise Glück, translated into German, are out of print. No shop window can be decorated with them. No other poetry volumes can be advertised with them. They cannot compensate for the twenty to thirty percent drop in sales that bookstores and publishers have to cope with in the Corona year. The Book Fair as a visitor magnet and marketing instrument is also largely absent this year. So the publishers can only hope for the Christmas business. At a time when books are needed more than ever, this is a bitter pill to swallow.

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tag Buchmarkt Buchmesse Umsatzeinbruch Lyrik Nobelpreis Louise Glück
Literature/ Text Bericht

Ein Lebenszeichen aus der Szene, die am Abgrund tanzt . »Tag der Clubkultur« am 3. Oktober
A sign of life from the scene dancing to the precipice . "Day of Club Culture" on 3 October

by Jakob Bauer (02 Oct 2020)
Original source: rbb24

On October 3, the "Day of Club Culture" is celebrated in Berlin. In times of Corona there is no dancing to live music in a confined space, but the clubs have come up with creative concepts to draw attention to their situation. For example, there are two live concerts for 16 visitors at the Schokoladen. The tickets were raffled off on Facebook, the visitors sit on bar stools at bar tables to control the distances. A dinner with music accompaniment awaits the guests at the Ritter Butzke. At all events, consistent attention is paid to the adherence to hygiene conc epts. In this way, the club committee together with Berlin's Senator for Culture Klaus Lederer wants to set an example: Currently, the impression is often created that the danger of infection is particularly high in clubs - without being able to prove it. Since the clubs also have hygiene concepts in place, the organizers are convinced that the risk of infection is much higher at parties in the park than in their rooms. And so the "Day of Club Culture" is a sign of life for an industry that is one of the big losers of the Corona crisis. In Berlin, Klaus Lederer is fighting for their survival; in other cities, clubs receive less support.

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tag Clubszene Hygienekonzepte Klaus Lederer
Music Bericht



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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