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.


Ein Jahr ohne Werke . Was es für das Musikleben bedeutet, wenn Verlage um ihr Überleben kämpfen
A year without pieces . What it means for musical life when publishing houses fight for their survival

by Merle Krafeld (03 Feb 2021)
Original source: VAN Magazin für klassische Musik

Music publishers play an important role in the cultural ecosystem. Not only do they promote the work of composers, but they also produce well thought-out sheet music in individual parts, ensure good binding quality of the sheet music and produce new editions of historical works. To do this, they conduct study of sources and work with scientific precision. The publishers therefore generate income not only from the sale of sheet music, but above all from the lending of scores of mostly copyrighted works to orchestras and choirs. The rental fees are made up of various facto rs such as the length and instrumentation of the work, the number of performances and seats available for sale. Last year, the turnover from rental fees for music publishers collapsed by up to 80 per cent. In addition to lending fees, publishers and rights holders also lost income from distributions by the German Performing Rights Society (GEMA) and foreign collecting societies as well as the German Music Edition Society (VG Musikedition). Since royalties are usually only paid out in the following year, the loss of income will not be felt until 2021. Publishers who specialise in choral music are also particularly affected, as it is not foreseeable here when rehearsals can be resumed. In the lockdown, only the purchase of individual parts and chamber music with small ensembles boomed. Henle-Verlag, which serves this segment with an app, among other things, is the only publishing house that recorded an increase in turnover in 2020.
As long as there is no planning security in the cultural sector, the sale and rental of sheet music will not increase. The staff of the publishing houses are therefore currently on short-time work and at the same time working flat out to offer works with a small line-up.
Many publishers are currently falling through the cracks of the aid payments because they are either too small or too big. The Neustart Kultur programme can compensate for turnover losses from the rental sector, but only 30 per cent of the lost turnover from April to November 2020, against which aid already received, such as short-time allowance, must be offset. So in the end, the aid is just a drop in the ocean.

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tag Musikverlage GEMA Planungssicherheit Chormusik Leihverkehr Kurzarbeit Neustart Kultur
Music Bericht

Kino in Corona-Zeit . Rückblick aufs (Katastrophen-) Filmjahr
Cinema in times of Corona . Review of the (disaster) film year

by Walli Müller (20 Dec 2020)
Original source: NDR

The annual reviews begin in mid-December. The film industry and cinema operators were particularly hard hit in 2020. While the start of the year with the 'Kangaroo Chronicles' still looked quite good, the Corona pandemic led to a 70 percent drop in sales for the year as a whole. The reason for this are not only the Hollywood blockbusters, which will not be screened until next year, and the competition from streaming providers, but above all the reduced space available and the renewed lockdown in November. German productions like 'Undine' and 'Berlin A lexanderplatz' reached only a small audience despite awards and good reviews. Only the children's film was able to show good attendance figures with 'Jim Knopf und die Wilde 13', despite the small amount of space available, November started promisingly.

On a positive note, 2020 saw the revival of drive-in cinemas and hybrid film festivals that made it open to more than just local visitors through online access. Nevertheless, the closures and the competition from streaming platforms are making it difficult for cinemas to operate. Three cinemas had to file for insolvency this year due to corona; whether these are the only victims of the industry will become clear in 2021.

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tag 2020 Kino Filmstarts Umsatzverlust Streaming Insolvenz
Performing Arts/ Cinema Jahresrückblick

Geld ist im Übermaß vorhanden . Corona-Hilfen für Künstler
Money is available in abundance . Corona aids for artists

by Herbert Grönemeyer (04 Nov 2020)
Original source: Zeit

The musician Herbert Grönemeyer reevaluates the »Unterhaltung« as German expression for entertainment,  interpreting  the term as "holding from below". Here people find help and confidence when they are sad or frustrated. But they can also express their joy. Due to the absence of live performances, the audience is deprived of this valve. No more refuge or substitute world. Reality remains and with it spaces for stupidity and crude theories. The soul of the society is endangered and consequently the social cohesion as a whole. The impa ct on the existence of the many workers who make live events possible in the first place is in this understanding only a symptom of the erosion of society. How to counteract this process? How to ensure that live events are possible again after the crisis? This is where Grönemeyer now becomes very concrete: These people must not be forced to touch their old-age provision. Help must be available to them quickly and without complications.
But how could this help look like? In this case Grönemeyer is not asking the state to help, but is suggesting an alternative: Just as in a natural catastrophe the family helps a person affected, so in the current crisis a sign of solidarity is needed. According to the musician, this should come from the 1.8 million millionaires in Germany.This gesture would not only help the cultural workers whose existence is threatened, but it would also strengthen social cohesion and counteract the division that has been observed for decades.
Interestingly, Grönemeyer's statement lacks a convincing argument: He would have to set a shining example of solidarity by making a generous donation - he too is one of Germany's millionaires....

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tag Kulturbetrieb Solidarität Millionäre Seele der Gesellschaft Zusammenhalt Liveevent Quo vadis ars
All sections Kommentar

Diese Entscheidung trifft die Falschen . Shutdown für Kultureinrichtungen
This decision affects the wrong people . Shutdwon for cultural institutions

by Maria Ossowski (29 Oct 2020)
Original source: rbb24

Not only lack of understanding, but above all anger is great among all creative artists and culture enthusiasts in Germany. For one month, all facilities have to close, despite the fact that sophisticated hygiene concepts have made them the safest places to be during the pandemic. Maria Ossowski - herself a member of the high-risk group, by the way - feels at home there and in her commentary sums up the lack of understanding: Because the governments have not been able to get a grip on the infection and especially on party culture, culture must now pay for it again.  So this measures sound the death knell for many smaller cultural institutions.
Ossowski derives why culture cannot be an exception from the following three points: First, politics is currently populist, driven and relies on no studies. Secondly, it is assumed that artists do not fight back, but rather hire themselves from the nearest supermarket out of existential need. Thirdly, many retailers and businesses will not survive the crisis, so why should the gross value added in the cultural industry be taken into account?
In this way, the importance of culture is being trampled underfoot not only for the individual, but for our entire society.

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tag Existenzrelevanz Lebensrelevanz November-Lockdown Partykultur Hygienekonzepte Infektionsketten
All sections 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

»Es muss etwas passieren. Sonst gehen alle pleite« . Live-Konzerte
»Something has to happen. Otherwise everyone goes bankrupt« . Live-concerts

by Daniel Gerhardt (21 Sep 2020)
Original source: Die Zeit

While alternative concepts have been developed for other event formats in recent months, the organizers of pop shows are hoping for 2021. The event calendar is already overflowing - but as long as it is not clear whether major events will be feasible again, the organizers are hardly selling any tickets. One problem that the organizers of pop events have had to contend with in recent months has been the ignorance of politicians. Not only the high turnover of the industry, but also its everyday life was completely unfamiliar to many politicians. The fact that support is ne eded here to protect companies from insolvency during the ban on employment has only slowly reached the decision-makers. The support program Neustart Kultur now provides support for music clubs and concert venues, as well as for other members of the event industry, but it seems that the great club and organizer death can hardly be stopped. The consequence? A few large companies will survive the crisis and then events will be streamlined according to a concept. The fun, members of the industry fear, will fall by the wayside, unusual formats will no longer have a chance.

Meanwhile, the industry alliance #AlarmstufeRot draws attention to the situation of the organizers and formulates demands. At a demonstration on September 9th, attention was drawn to the situation of the industry. Many people symbolically put off their shirts in front of the Reichstag - yet here, too, the organizers were polarized: "Every action with which it seeks help could at the same time contribute to prolonging the pandemic."

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tag Popkonzerte Konzertveranstalter Streaming #AlarmstufeRot Neustart Kultur
Music Bericht

Kinos in Not . Betreiber fordern finanzielle Hilfen – und blicken neidisch nach Bayern
Cinemas in need . operators demand financial aid - and look enviously to Bavaria

by Tim Spark (05 Sep 2020)
Original source: Handelsblatt

The film industry is suffering from the Corona crisis. Above all, German cinema operators do not see how they can maintain their program offerings in the long term. Michael Pawlowski, co-partner of the Filmpalast Group, reports a 50 percent drop in visitors in North Rhine-Westphalia. In federal states with stricter visitor regulations - in NRW only one seat has to be vacated - the decline is even more serious. This means that cinema operations are currently being run from reserves, as the revenues are not sufficient to cover them.
This is the situation that 68 med ium-sized, family-run movie theaters have to address in an open letter to Monika Grütters. The cinema operators need financial support and a relaxation of the hygiene rules. Since the movie theaters are well ventilated and the visitors do not speak during the screening, the risk of infection is lower in the cinema than in the office, according to a study by the Hermann Rietschel Institute of the Technical University of Berlin.
But it is not only the rules of distance that make life difficult for cinema operators. Film distributors are currently holding back on film releases because the number of visitors is currently not very attractive.
Although the German Minister of State for Culture has already released funds to support cinemas, these funds are tied to conversion, modernization and equipment measures and are therefore not helping to save the cinemas in the current liquidity squeeze.
In Bavaria, there is currently an aid program in place that compensates cinema operators for every visitor they have less than last year. In the other federal states, this model is seen as an opportunity to at least cover the fixed costs of the cinemas and prevent a cinema from dying out.

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tag Kinobetreiber Filmwirtschaft Neustart Kultur Filmproduktion Monika Grütters Hygieneregeln
Performing Arts/ Cinema Bericht

Die vergessenen Selbstständigen
The forgotten self-employed

by Jagoda Marinic (12 Jun 2020)
Original source: Mannheimer Morgen

On the occasion of the economic stimulus package to be adopted by the cabinet, Jagoda Marinic is considering the role of the solo self-employed and freelancers, who are not considered in this package. This professional group in particular has been courted by politicians in recent years, but now it has no lobby to defend it and is being forgotten. It consists of artists, teachers, journalists and creative entrepreneurs who pursue their goals with passion and willingness to take risks and establish new working models. Out of solidarity with the community they have put thei r work on hold, now society must not forget them. 

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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tag Solo-Selbständige Konjunkturpaket Solidarität Arbeitsmodelle
All sections Tagebuch

Hilferuf der Galeristen in NRW
Cry for help by art dealers in North Rhine-Westphalia

by Rupert Pfab (28 Apr 2020)
Original source: WDR 3

The two Düsseldorf gallery owners, Daniela Steinfeld and Rupert Pfab, sent an impassioned letter to the state government in North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition to the Minister for Culture and Science Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, they also address Prime Minister Armin Laschet and the Minister of Economy Andreas Pinkwart. They not only call for a drop in VAT to 7 percent to support the galleries in the long term, but above all for a special purchase budget for the purchase of art for museums and foundations. With the purchase of contemporary art, the gallery owners are c onvinced that the art business could be given meaningful support in the economic crisis that is coming up to us.

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tag Galerien Kunstmarkt Kunstförderung Ankaufsetat Mehrwertsteuer
Visual Arts/Design Interview



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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