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.


Kunst und Care-Arbeit . Fragwürdige Juryentscheidung
Art and Care Work . Questionable jury decision

by Brigitte Werneburg (09 Nov 2020)
Original source: taz

The Neustart Kultur program also offers scholarships for artists* with children under 7 years of age. The awarding was carried out by the Stiftung Kunstfonds, which also awards annual project scholarships. The benchmark - artistic quality in a nationwide comparison - also applied to the awarding of the scholarships in this special program of the German State Minister of Culture. Now the outcry is great, because more men than women were awarded this scholarship, although more women than men applied. Brigitte Werneburg, editor of the newspaper taz, asks if the awarding of the scholarships is now an expression of the fact that gender-equitable distribution of tasks has already been introduced in the visual arts. This does not seem to be the case when you have a look at the number of applications, in which women are far ahead with 60 percent. The feedback from the Stiftung Kunstfonds was disappointing for many, as the foundation referred to its statutes and the standard of artistic quality, since the grants awarded are not economic subsidies but project funding.
This raises the question of why women artists cannot compete with their male colleagues in terms of quality and whether the fact that one has a child under 7 years of age is an artistic criterion. According to the analysis of the taz article, the Kunstfonds Bonn Foundation does not seem suitable to award the scholarships within the framework of the rescue program Neustart Kultur, since they are now explicitly intended as economic aid.
However, the concluding considerations of the article are particularly worthy of consideration. Artists currently need economic aid. After all, they are not unemployed, but are engaged in gainful activity, which, however, is not permitted on the market at present. Hartz IV is in this situation no adequate offer - not only because the artists are getting into a bureaucratic wheelwork, in which they must attack their old age provision, participate in further training offers and must accept job offers. Much more important is that they are thus excluded from the artists' social security fund (KSK). This unique German system - in which the artists contribute like employees to health and pension insurance, while the employers' contributions are paid by art and culture companies and the state - is fundamentally endangered in the crisis, because when art and culture facilities are closed, there is no income.

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tag Neustart Kultur Stiftung Kunstfonds Stipendien Wirtschaftsbeihilfe Künstlersozialkasse Hartz IV Geschlechtergerechtigkeit
Visual Arts/Design Bericht

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

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

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

»Viele Kollegen von uns mussten Hartz IV beantragen«
»Many of our colleagues had to apply for Hartz IV social security«

by Wiebke Eymess, Jörg Burger (23 Sep 2020)
Original source: Die Zeit

With 80 performances a year, the cabaret duo "Das Geld liegt auf der Fensterbank, Marie", consisting of Wiebke Eymess and Friedolin Müller in the time before Corona, were able to finance themselves well. Together with their two children, the couple lives in the countryside and therefore has very reduced running expenses. Nevertheless the Corona crisis was a shock. As the couple was fully booked for two years in advance, Wiebke Eymess reacted to the cancellations with a panic attack in March. It took time for her to adjust to the new situation. She describe d her feelings and fears in a blog. The fact that the German radio station SWR3 now prints them twice a week as a column helps the family make ends meet. In addition, donations from loyal fans and craftsmanship help them keep their heads above water. The state support they received from the emergency aid programs was minimal. Even if the public has the impression that a lot is being done for culture, hardly anything of it is trickling down to the people affected. Although the ban on employment is being eased somewhat at the moment, and the first theaters and event venues have reopened, one can speak of it more as a hobby than as a job, due to the minimal fees involved. Also the incautiousness of politicians in their choice of language can have devastating consequences. Health Minister Jens Spahn warned of events recently, but actually meant family celebrations. The consequence: ticket sales for cultural events collapsed abruptly.

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tag Kabarett Berufsverbot Kulturförderung Soforthilfe Panikattacke
Performing Arts/ Cinema Interview

Berliner Künstler: Jetzt gehen sie für mehr Corona-Hilfe auf die Straße
Berlin artists: Now they take to the streets for more Corona help

by Florian Thalmann (08 Aug 2020)
Original source: Berliner Kurier

The artists were the first ones who were not allowed to work any more. They will be the last to return to a normal everyday life. Nevertheless, there is no support for the professional group of self-employed artists. Although an emergency aid of 5,000 € was paid out in Berlin at the beginning of the crisis, since then this professional group has only been able to apply for assistance for current business expenses. Cost of living can only be obtained through the state benefit scheme Hartz IV. With a demonstration on Sunday, August 9, 2020, the Berlin based artists ca lled attention to their situation. They are demanding an existential support that will enable them to overcome the crisis until they can return to a normal life.

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tag Künstler Hilfe Jetzt Demonstration Existenz-Geld Hartz IV
All sections Bericht

Durchs Raster gefallen . Kulturschaffende in Coronakrise
Fallen through the cracks . the arts community during Corona crisis

by Sabine Seifert (29 Jul 2020)
Original source: taz

Three months after an initial conversation about her personal situation as an artist during the lockdown, Sabine Seifert meets again with a singer, a visual artist, an actor and a museum educator to talk with them about their experiences during the Corona crisis. The working conditions for the artists are still all but optimal, as the hygiene rules for all cultural fields of work entail restrictions. Many people appreciate the social network that is provided in Germany. Emergency aid and basic security have helped them to survive the last few months financ ially. However, applications for basic security have only increased by about a quarter. Due to the bad aura of basic security called Hartz IV, many people were reluctant to apply.
Even the applications for solo self-employed persons do not take into account the living and working conditions of artists even after three months. Seifert critically observes that in many federal states the cost of living may not be regarded as operating costs, but also the fact that in the second round applications may only be made by tax or accountants is completely ignoring the reality of small and medium-sized enterprises. Although the profession of an artist is fundamentally associated with uncertainty, the general conditions have currently changed radically. No one can predict with certainty how the pandemic will develop. When again which event format will be possible.
Olaf Zimmermann, Managing Director of the German Cultural Council, points out that the working structures on the cultural market have changed in recent years. Although there are fewer artists, there are more solo self-employed people in the field of cultural education, management and technology. Cultural policy has failed to counteract the precarious structures that have emerged here. Basically, according to Olaf Zimmermann, one should think about whether the classic concept of the entrepreneur still applies to artists and cultural workers - especially since they make an important contribution to society.

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tag Soforthilfe Grundsicherung Solidarität Verdi bbk Elisabeth Anschütz Sascha Oliver Bauer Ka Bomhardt Wilko Reinhold Olaf Zimmermann
All sections Bericht

Der verzögerte Kulturinfarkt . Resilienz des Kulturbetriebs
The delayed culture infarction . Resilience of the cultural sector

by Dieter Haselbach, Pius Knüsel (27 Jul 2020)
Original source: Kulturmanagement

The cultural industry has long been a two-tier society. While the state-financed cultural institutions will come through the crisis with the help of much public funding, the many private institutions and artists will fall victim to the crisis. The public institutions are not innocent of this, as they have used the solo self-employed as an inexhaustible reserve army.
In view of the fact that even before the crisis there was a discussion about the dwindling public in cultural institutions and the loss of significance of museums, the authors are irritated by a contri bution by Tobias J. Knobloch, President of the Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft, who urged that public funding be expanded in order to avert the consequences of the crisis for the cultural industry. In this context he also speaks of resilience.
Here it should not be forgotten that the crisis is the great time for cultural associations. They are now trying to get a share of the public funding.Differently it looks with the solo independent ones, which fall by the promotion rasters of the federation and federal state governments for enterprises and come thus over the rounds only with an application for unemployment relief ALG II .
Here the authors come to the crucial point of their article: Many artists do not have a business model that would be sustainable and provides for reserves and a sensible old-age provision. Postponing crisis and old-age provision until later is not a model with a future. Even if the state is currently generous, sustainable business practices must be introduced in the cultural sector.
In their outlook, the authors assume that the large state-financed houses will survive the crisis, and that many solo self-employed and privately financed houses will give up. Cultural tourism will also start again in 2021. The only chance the stakeholders have is to create new room for maneuver. A cultural infarction can currently only be avoided if the funding instruments and organizational principles are reconsidered and digitization is promoted.

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tag Museen Kulturförderung Soforthilfe Solo-Selbständige Hartz IV Olaf Zimmermann Tobias J. Knobloch
All sections Bericht

Nach dem Stillstand die Besinnung?
After the standstill, the recollection?

by Till Briegleb (07 Jul 2020)
Original source: Süddeutsche Zeitung

The corona-related closures mean millions in lost revenue for the major German museums in Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich or Cologne. Even the rapid reopening of the museums can do little to change this. If in one week there are as many visitors as before the lockdown on one day, the museums are already happy. People are still afraid of exhibition spaces with great appeal. Above all, the number of city travellers is still very low. However, the museum management does not appear to be alarmed so far. This is partly due to the fact that they currently have the feeling tha t they are supported by the state. In contrast to the wave of layoffs in America, at least the permanent employees can rely on government support. However, financing is not a very popular discussion topic at the moment. Instead, the realignment of the houses is being discussed. Many will make a virtue out of necessity and concentrate again more on content than on big names.

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tag Museen Finanzen Marion Ackermann Hartz IV Neuausrichtung Sammlung
Visual Arts/Design Bericht

Solidarität in der Krise . Die Online-Plattform »Artist in the Box«
Solidarity during the crisis . The online platform »Artist in the Box«

by Susanna Schürmanns (04 Jul 2020)
Original source: WDR

What would a society be without art? What would happen if all artists went on strike for a year? This is a thought at the moment that impressively demonstrates the importance of art for society and its critical potential.  The situation of artists in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) is dramatic. Many of the freelance artists are fighting for survival. The project "Artist in the box" wants to draw attention to this precarious situation. About 60 artists, including such well-known photographers as Boris Becker, offer works online. Part of the income goes to the author, but a community contribution is also distributed among all artists. In this way the project wants to help everyone to survive the crisis unscathed.
The Corona Pandemic did not only affect the four photographers from Cologne, who initiated the project completely unprepared. The order books were full, project applications were approved when one cancellation after the other arrived at the beginning of March, and all income was wiped out overnight. Even though the state government in NRW provides support, the hurdles to obtaining it are great. Only half of the 30,000 artists in NRW received the 2,000 € in emergency aid, and many will probably have to pay back the 9,000 € for solo self-employed artists. The basic security as a means of subsistence does not include money for tools and equipment, without which the artists cannot pursue their profession. An instrument parallel to short-time work, as demanded by Heike Herold of the Kulturrat NRW, does not exist for the scene.

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tag Fotografie NRW Solidarität Artist in the box Soforthilfe Hartz IV Umsatzeinbruch Kurzarbeit
Visual Arts/Design Fernsehfeature



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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