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.


Beendet den kulturellen Notstand! . 100 Tage Kultur im Lockdown
Stop the cultural emergency! . 100 Days of Culture in Lockdown

by René Schlott (08 Feb 2021)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

Cultural institutions in Germany have been closed for 100 days. The representatives of the interests of those working in the cultural sector are barely succeeding in making their voices heard. Emergency decisions such as the closure of all Berlin theaters until Easter are hailed as a victory for planning security, rather than a loss of cultural participation. Instead - as historian René Schlott notes with surprise - statements that fuel the closure of the theaters are increasingly heard in the media. For example, the cancellation of the Leipzig Book Fair was greet ed with hope in a Berlin newspaper as a sign that other major events will soon be canceled.Positive examples such as the successful staging of the Salzburg Festival are no longer mentioned.  On the last weekend in January, the mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan, declared a »cultural state of emergency« as part of the »Théatres Ouverts« initiative. This must also be ended as quickly as possible in our country.

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tag kultureller Notstand Lockdown Theater Museen Planungssicherheit Benoît Payan Théatres Ouverts Berichterstattung
All sections Appell

Die Literaturszene verliert ihre Foren . Absage der Leipziger Buchmesse
The literary scene loses its forums . Cancellation of the Leipzig Book Fair

by Helmut Böttiger (29 Jan 2021)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

The Leipzig Book Fair will not take place in 2021 either. Even the postponement to the beginning of May seems untenable for a major event. For the industry in transition, the cancellation is a painful loss, not only financially, because what is currently understood as literature and how it is talked about has changed noticeably. Today, literature is a small market segment of the so-called culture industry and is no longer a place of debate about aesthetic standards and socio-political issues.  An indicator for this is the announcement of the WDR to go new ways in li terature reviews. The book fair would have offered publishers and authors a forum to exchange ideas about this structural crisis.

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tag Buchmesse Literaturkritik Verlage Event Quo vadis ars
Literature/ Text Kommentar

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

Corona zum Weihnachtsgeschäft: Wie es dem Buchhandel in der Krise geht
Corona for the Christmas business: How the book trade is doing in the crisis

by Michael Wurmitzer (09 Nov 2020)
Original source: Der Standard

Actually, the sales figures for the Austrianbook industry in Corona times look good. Following slumps of minus 41 and minus 65 percent in March and April respectively, the  figures for the fall were actually slightly higher than the previous year. But if you take a closer look at the figures,  like Helmut Zechner from the bookshop Heyn in Klagenfurt and Chairman of the Austrian Booksellers Association, the situation looks different. If you take the online giant Amazon out of the statistics, the bookstores are left with an annual minus of twelve percent. The can cellation of the Buch Wien book fair and the lockdown now give booksellers reason to fear the worst, as the industry in Austria generates a third of its annual sales in November and December. Contemporary literature in particular is now suffering from the lack of attention to new publications. It is difficult to say whether the lack of readings and events is actually the cause of the drop in sales. Small publishing houses in particular are making a living from live events, while the large corporations have currently stepped up their social media activities and are increasingly offering online readings. On the other hand, small publishers in particular have a more loyal core audience. In addition, many publishers have slimmed down their fall program considerably, while large bookstore chains like Thalia are increasingly focusing on hygiene concepts. Thalia even offers pick-up machines in Vienna to provide customer-friendly service during the crisis. The reduction in value-added tax is also currently a great help to the industry - although there are already indications that this will not be extended beyond the turn of the year. So the only thing that remains to be hoped for is a good Christmas business so that the book industry in Austria can get through the crisis well.

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tag Buchhandel Verlage Buchmesse Amazon Umsatz Weihnachtsgeschäft Hygienekonzept
Literature/ Text Bericht

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

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

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

Buchhandel setzt auf Digitalpräsenz . Frankfurter Buchmesse ohne Aussteller
Book trade focuses on digital presence . Frankfurt Book Fair without exhibitors

by Alexander Skipis, Britta Bürger (08 Sep 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

At a press conference, the director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Juergen Boos, announced the cancellation of the presence fair in the exhibition halls in Frankfurt. The decision was made together with all publishers and representatives of the national booths. In the end, the restrictions, especially the travel restrictions, were too great to adhere to the presence event.
The fair is an important pillar for the book industry. Since a digital offering was also planned from the outset, Alexander Skipis, General Manager of the German Publishers & Booksellers Associ ation (Börsenverein des deutschen Buchhandels), assumes that the presence of books will be maintained. As before, there will also be physical events in Frankfurt where authors can be experienced live.
As a further mainstay, a digital rights trading platform will enable publishers to handle the rights business, which has been important at the fair to date. However, personal exchange will not be possible at this point.
Another important pillar of the Book Fair is intellectual exchange and freedom of opinion and the press. These topics will also be dealt with online and in face-to-face events. Such online offerings will certainly not reach as many readers as a presence fair. The intensive encounter will therefore play a major role in 2021.

There will be a series of physical events in Frankfurt. In addition to the award ceremonies - Book Prize and Peace Prize - there will be readings in the festival hall. They will be distributed simultaneously through the media and can be accessed worldwide. Nevertheless, it should not be overlooked that the lack of attention to the book will damage the book market. Sales will probably not really be satisfactory in the autumn of 2020 either.

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tag Buchbranche Buchmesse Frankfurt Lesung Alexander Skipis virtuelles Angebot
Literature/ Text Interview

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

Zerreißprobe für die Buchmesse
Ordeal for the book fair

by Sandra Kegel (04 Jul 2020)
Original source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The Frankfurt Book Fair is not only an important economic factor for the industry, it is also a historical institution, as it can look back on an intellectual tradition and five hundred years of history. In the current crisis, the fair management, together with the Börsenverein, has decided to hold the fair this year, but to distribute many events throughout the city. Now it has become known that the city of Frankfurt wants to expand the trade fair concept for 2021 to include music and gaming. The outcry in the book industry is huge. It is to be hoped that the book fair concept will survive this crisis as well.

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tag Literatur Buchmesse Frankfurt
Literature/ Text 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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