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.


Kulturaufstand in Frankreich . Eine Stunde Theater trotz Lockdown
Cultural Uprising in France . One hour theatrer despite lockdown

by Eberhard Spreng, Eckhard Roelcke (30 Jan 2021)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

The mayor of Marseille Benoît Payan, together with other cities and independent theaters, has called for civil disobedience: Theaters should play for one hour in the afternoon. The initiative »Théatres Ouverts«  originally comes from smaller theaters. The mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan, took up the initiative and thus ensured a large public. In Avignon, where the initiative originated, the short-term opening of the theater was prevented by the police. In other places, poems were read or tango danced.
The contribution of Beno&i circ;t Payan is the announcement of a manifesto that advocates the opening of theaters. The idea is to play mainly outdoors in the south of France to minimize the risk of contagion. The »hour of disobedience« is directed primarily against the government in Paris and here above all against President Emmanuel Macron, who currently pays little attention to culture. However, the attitude of Benoît Payan is very ambivalent, since in the middle of the week he was still urging to follow the rules to contain the pandemic due to the increase in infections.


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tag Theater Freie Szene ziviler Ungehorsam Théatres Ouverts Benoît Payan
Performing Arts/ Cinema Interview

»Wir brauchen mehr Klarheit« . Theaterintendant über Lockdown-Folgen
. Theater director about lockdown consequences

by Christian Stückl, Sabine Leucht (02 Nov 2020)
Original source: taz

Ten Bavarian theaters sought dialogue with the Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder last week. They did not receive an answer to their letter - whether this was only because the lockdown light was already in prospect remains open. Apart from Munich's Head of Cultural Affairs, nobody has reviewed the hygiene concepts of Munich's Volkstheater, as director Christian Stückl reports in an interview. Stückl sees the problem of the new lockdown on the one hand in the fact that the facilities which are not among the drivers of infection are now being close d. In contrast to the retail trade, culture is probably not loud enough when it comes to defending its interests. On the other hand, politicians seem to be relying on the fact that it is precisely the large institutions that are subsidized by the state and will therefore be less affected by the crisis. The fact that the many solo self-employed and the entire independent scene are in danger is often ignored.
The Munich ensembles have now asked the decision-makers for a debate on the proportionality of the measures. Whether this offer of discussion will be accepted is still open. But Stückl is already thinking aloud about whether otherwise a lawsuit would not be the right way forward.
As yet, the houses are not yet short of visitors, partly because of the reduced quotas. However, Stückl fears a de-familiarization effect if the facilities remain closed for longer. What is much worse, however, are the effects of the crisis on the artists. He reports on a conversation with a dancer who has only a few years to practice his art. If he can't dance in front of an audience now, there's no making up for it.

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tag Theater München Dialog mit der Politik Markus Söder November-Lockdown Verhältnismäßigkeit Lebensrelevanz
Performing Arts/ Cinema Interview

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

Geld allein reicht nicht . Coronafolgen im ärmsten Bundesland
Money alone is not enough . Corona effects in the poorest federal state

by Felicitas Boeselager (02 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

An independent theater group, two art students and a small club were interviewed by Felicitas Boeselager for her feature about the independent scene during the Corona crisis in Bremen. What all actors are sharing is the joy of being able to offer events again. The audience at all events was also enthusiastic and grateful to finally be able to experience culture again. The independent scene in Bremen is closely connected by the pandemic, mutual support and exchange about new formats is highly appreciated by those affected. Nevertheless, all of the actors are currently una ble to make ends meet without public funding for culture.

Stephan Behrmann, freelance actor and dramaturge as well as spokesman for the  »Alliance of Liberal Arts«, emphasizes that cultural funding in Bremen has been good for both the solo self-employed and the independent scene. However, he complains that the aid did not work so well in all federal states. He considers current scholarship programs that finance the artists' work on projects in an open-ended way to be good. He also rates the support provided by the "Neustart Kultur" program positively - even if one billion does not really seem sufficient considering the size of the industry. Whether the money actually helps the individual artists cannot be predicted at the moment - especially since the administrative effort involved in awarding grants is quite high. How many  »silent deaths«, i.e. artists who have looked for a job in another branch, are to be registered, is currently not yet foreseeable. The situation will not improve in the next few years either. Since the municipalities are very much shaken, they cannot afford to support culture. Behrmann therefore considers it an inevitable consequence that the federal government will help out.

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tag Bremen Kultursommer Bremen Freie Szene Clubszene Kulturförderung Neustart Kultur stiller Tod Insolvenz
All sections Feature und Interview

»Kurz einknicken und dann wieder aufbäumen«
»Buckle briefly and then rebel again«

by Karin Beier, Hans-Jürgen Mende (29 Sep 2020)
Original source: NDR Kultur

The month of November presents a great challenge to the psyche of the hamburger. If the November blues is also associated with a lockdown, it will be difficult to maintain optimism. Karin Beier, artistic director of the Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, reports in an interview with NDR (North German Broadcasting) that at the moment she has to take care of the inner life of her employees. Next week there was a premiere, the team members were highly motivated to work on performances and hygiene concepts over the summer - with the decision of the federal and state governments to c lose all cultural institutions in November, the disappointment is great and the air is out.
When asked about the possibility of streaming premieres and other performances, the director reacts hesitantly. The theater lives from its live character. She herself is extremely reluctant to watch recordings. One possibility that is currently being discussed at the house is live broadcasting of the performances. However, Beier doubts that the Internet connection will allow this.
The consequences of the lockdown for the cultural scene are currently not yet foreseeable. Since she runs a state-subsidized house, Beier knows that she is whining on a high level. Unlike many restaurateurs or private theaters whose existence is threatened, her house is not facing insolvency. However, she can only support the independent scene in an idealistic way. Due to the consequences of the pandemic for the public purse, she assumes that the theaters will change in the coming years.

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tag Theater Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg November-Lockdown psychische Belastung Novemberblues
Performing Arts/ Cinema Interview

Debatte um Künstler in Not . Corona-Soforthilfe gefloppt
Debate about artists in need . Corona emergency aid flopped

by Peter Jungblut (28 Sep 2020)
Original source: BR24

Another round of discussions on the state of culture: in Munich's Volkstheater, the Bavarian Minister of State for Science and Art Bernd Sibler had to answer questions from cultural workers. The displeasure is great. In Bavaria, the number of allowed visitors is still determined not by the size of the event rooms but by the size of the events. Only three houses are allowed to accommodate 500 spectators in the course of a model experiment. The fear among culture enthusiasts is still great, so that even these places are not sold out.
Just as unsuccessful as the pilot project was the emergency aid program for solo self-employed persons, which expired at the end of the most recent quarter. Instead of the expected 60,000 applications, the Free State received only 10,000, of which 8,000 were approved. The reasons for this are manifold. Some have already received money from other funding sources or applied for Hartz IV, while others are keeping their heads above water with other jobs if they are not already trying their luck in another profession. In the cultural sector, the fear of the "point of no return" is now spreading. What if next year too many cultural workers have already reoriented themselves and a return to the situation before the lockdown will no longer be possible? The helplessness is great. Bernd Sibler points to the satisfaction of the Bavarians with the strict corona measures, while Volkmar Halbleib, SPD party member of the state parliament, vehemently attacks his colleague from the CSU party: civilized cultural events are not a source of infection. Everyone is now aware of this. Therefore, something must now finally be done for culture to free the artists from their hopeless situation.

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tag Soforthilfe Bayern Bernd Sibler Münchner Volkstheater point of no return Sitzplätze
All sections Bericht

Vorhang auf! . Spielstart: Anti-Corona-Konzepte deutscher Theater
Open the Curtain! . Start of Season: Anti-Corona concepts of German Theatres

by Verena Greb, Nadine Wojcik (19 Jul 2020)
Original source: Deutsche Welle

Dismantled seats, Plexiglas panes, hand disinfection, separate entrances and exits: The operation at the theaters is to start again, but this requires hygiene concepts to protect the audience from being infected by droplets. Each theatre is currently developing its own concepts. What they all have in common is that a maximum of a quarter of the previous tickets can be offered.
Special tests were carried out in Augsburg and Berlin. With the help of machines and fans, hydrogen peroxide is nebulized over large areas in the halls. The Berliner Ensemble reports that th e naturally degradable disinfectant can kill 99 percent of viruses and bacteria. In the future, the technology will therefore not only be used for the halls, but also for toilets and entrance areas.
Meanwhile, a theater course has been developed at the Munich Residenztheater. The visitors are guided in groups of four through different stations in the building where the individual scenes are performed. However, it is problematic that not only the audience has to be kept at a distance, but also the actors must not get too close to each other.
Therefore, the schedules for the new season have been revised in all buildings, and extremely physical productions have been cancelled, as have those with many different roles.
Even though the theaters are slowly awakening from their state of shock, fundamental doubts remain about cultural policy: Why do the theaters have different regulations than German aviation? What significance does culture have? The survival of the large theaters is ensured by Corona cultural aid. If this is not sufficient, the federal states will help out in the long term. For the small theaters, which cannot keep buoy up with their limited number of seats, things do not look so rosy. They now have to decide whether to extend the Corona break. The curtain may have fallen here forever.

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tag Spielzeit Theater Hygieneregeln Wasserstoffperoxid Freie Szene Kulturförderung
Performing Arts/ Cinema Bericht

Die Aussichten: grau bis düster . Künstler und die Corona-Krise
The prospects: grey to gloomy . Artists and the Corona crisis

by Eva-Maria Magel (22 Apr 2020)
Original source: Frankurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The Hessian Minister of Economics Tarek Al-Wazir has written to the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmeier. He is not only concerned that many artists are currently falling through the ranks of emergency aid, but also that there are no uniform regulations for the industry in the individual federal states. This is all the more dramatic because it is precisely the cultural and creative industries that will be affected the longest by the effects of the crisis. A solution to the problem hasn't appeared at the horizon so far. Municipal aid funds and p rivate fundraising campaigns are a current attempt to prevent the worst from happening.

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tag Hessen Soforthilfe Hartz IV Großveranstaltungen Tarek Al-Wazir Peter Altmaier
All sections 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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