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.


Zauber der lebenden Bilder . 125 Jahre Kino
The magic of tableaux vivants

by Andreas Busche (28 Dec 2020)
Original source: Tagesspiegel

To mark the anniversary of the first cinema showing on 28 December 1895, cinemas will be closed in almost all countries this year. The industry is therefore not in the mood to celebrate. In the Tagesspiegel, Andreas Busche reflects on the current situation of the industry on the occasion of the anniversary.
A premiere took place at Christmas: Warner and Disney released films without a theatrical release for the first time. The era of the blockbuster is thus coming to an end. Whether the new James Bond will draw audiences to the cinema next year remains open to que stion. In 2020, the combination of streaming services and the pandemic has taken an extreme toll on the industry. Currently, film theatres are only getting through the crisis with state support. This is not only because the film theatre has lost the aura that surrounded it in the early 20th century. At present, instead of euphoria, there is often a sense of mistrust towards the people sitting in the cinema with them. However - as Busche reminds us - cinema has always depended on a mixed calculation. For example, the factory owner Stollwerk realised early on that selling chocolate in the cinema hall would boost business. Today, cinema operators have to offer chocolate, nachos and cola to survive because ticket sales alone do not pay off.
The crisis of the cinema is proclaimed at regular intervals. Busche is therefore sure that it will survive this crisis, too - but he is not one of the optimists who hope that the pandemic could be a corrective for undesirable developments of past decades.

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tag Kino Streaming Blockbuster Misstrauen Krise als Chance
Performing Arts/ Cinema Bericht

Kulturzeit extra: Theater im Lockdown
Kulturzeit extra: Theatres during lockdown

by Vivian Pekovic (Moderation) (18 Nov 2020)
Original source: Kulturzeit

The German TV program Kulturzeit focusses in this issue on the situation of the theaters during lockdown. The first contribution inspects the situation at the Volksbühne in Berlin. There, the project »Spielplanänderung« (Change of play program) aimed to bring back to the stage unjustly forgotten plays by important authors. But now the theatre is not only fighting for the authors, but also for not being forgotten as institution. The actors not only play, but also discuss the role of the theater. What bothers them about the political discussion is the disrespectful tone, because they all agree that the theater offers an important outlet for society. It is the place for a discourse on topics that are discussed by a broad audience. They consider it a luxury to be allowed to rehearse, yet the current situation costs a lot of energy - especially since for many actors who do not have a permanent contract with a theater, the income breaks off. The demand that the theaters be allowed to reopen soon is not only demanded by cultural workers, but also by the Senator for Culture in Berlin, Klaus Lederer.

The theater critic and author Simon Strauß developed the program for the ›Change of program‹. He points out that it is currently dangerous to over-adapt as theater and to play down one's own status. Subsidies and the standing of the theater as a psychological and humane institution could be lost.

An important experience for the actor Lars Eidinger was not being allowed to play for seven months. During this time he realized that for him, working on stage is the creative center of his work. For him, the central characteristic of theater is immediacy, which no other medium can achieve. However, he sees the theater not as a moral institution, but rather as a free space in which one does not have to distinguish between good and evil.  

However, there are also voices that demand that theater professionals use the crisis to reflect on their own position. Simon Strauß is one of these voices. He would like to see the creative people emerge from the crisis with a new form of consciousness. For the theaters this means, among other things, revising play programs, making them more diverse. But new formats must be developed on stage. He sees streaming only as a substitute, a consolation for the time until the houses can play again. For him theaters make an important contribution to the psychological edification of people with their immediacy, with their way of raising questions. This has to be defended self-confidently against politics, especially in view of upcoming budget cuts. Theater - as Strauß puts it - is more than systemically relevant, it is »decisive«.

In addition to the theaters, however, other cultural institutions are also threatened by the crisis. Although it is still allowed to perform in Switzerland, many institutions survive mainly because of their parallel cafe and bar operation. The few spectators who are admitted to a performance make it almost impossible to work economically.

One of the few cultural institutions that are allowed to open in Germany are the galleries. They enable the artists at least not to be completely forgotten - after all, they not only suffer from the threat to their existence, but also from not being allowed to show their works. Nevertheless, it is also difficult for galleries to assert themselves on the market at the moment, because new groups of buyers cannot be addressed at present. So the question here is also how art and culture can be valued and rewarded as an essential good for society in the future.

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tag November-Lockdown Theater Krise als Chance Unmittelbarkeit Streaming Simon Strauß Lars Eidinger Volksbühne Galerien Quo vadis ars
Performing Arts/ Cinema Kultursendung

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

Was braucht es, um wieder Kontrolle über die Pandemie zu bekommen?
What does it take to regain control of the pandemic?

by Gunter Gebauer, Julius Stucke (24 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk

In an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio, philosopher Gunter Gebauer asks the question of what significance culture still has today. A lot can be accessed and consumed within our own four walls. The way out is therefore no longer so important. The crisis could thus also result in a clear-cut, based on reduced demand. Many cultural workers already have to look at how they earn their living. Gebauer reports, for example, about an opera director who gives rhetoric courses. The concern Gebauer expresses is not only that these many drop-outs will not come back, but that the demand for culture will decline fundamentally because people have become accustomed to everyday life without cultural events. Interestingly, Gebauer does not ask what effects this will have on our economy, since he contradicts Julian Nida-Rümelin's thesis that we are in a situation similar to that of 1945, in which the country would have clearly oriented itself towards the Deutschmark and the economy.
Another topic is the appearance of the punk band »Die Ärzte« in the Germany's major news program »Tagesthemen« on Friday evening. Julius Stucke, moderating the interview with Gebauer, criticizes that the dramatic situation of the industry could not really be conveyed seriously during the program because everything appeared so »neat«. Gebauer contradicts this, because he considered the power of punk culture, which the three musicians brought to the stage, as important to convey the seriousness of the situation. The philosopher felt that it was particularly important that the ›old hands‹ stood up for all the employees in the background in order to point out their situation.

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tag Aufstehn für Kultur stiller Tod Streaming Krise als Chance Solo-Selbständige Die Ärzte Tagesthemen Punk Julian Nida-Rümelin
All sections Gespräch

Macht die Theater zu – und fangt von vorne an . Theater als Gesellschaftslabor
Close the theaters - and start from scratch . Theater as social laboratory

by Björn Bicker (20 Jul 2020)
Original source: BR Kultur

Björn Bicker considers the slogan of the »crisis as an opportunity«, which is often used in connection with the Corona pandemic, to be one of the last possibilities to save the German-speaking publicly financed theater landscape. His analysis of the situation is unsparing: at the theaters, which are predominantly run by despots, plays are now only performed for a parallel society. The white, well-off middle class is having its theaters financed by an increasingly diverse society.
The compulsory pause, which was heralded by the lockdown, could have been used as a pause for reflection. The standstill was a chance to reflect on the conditions of their own work. But instead of devoting themselves to the question of what a theater of tomorrow might look like, many houses fell into a digital hyper-actionism. Readings, short scenes up to entire performances were put on the net. The opportunity is not yet gone. Instead of continuing to indulge in an actionism that does not reach society, performing theater should pause for a while. This time can be used not only to find a new togetherness in the houses, but also to seek dialogue with a diverse audience at round tables. In this way, concepts for a theater of tomorrow can be developed. The utopia that Bicker creates is that of the municipal theater as a prototype of social development. Whether it really remains a utopia is up to the institutions themselves.

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tag Theater Denkpause Krise als Chance
Performing Arts/ Cinema Zwischenruf

War’s das mit dem Wumms? . Aktionsplan und Stellungnahme des Netzwerk Autorenrechte (NAR) zum Konjunkturpaket „NEUSTART KULTUR“
That's it with the oomph? . Action plan and statement of the Network of Authors' Rights (NAR) on the economic stimulus package "NEW START CULTURE"

by Netzwerk Autorenrechte (05 Jun 2020)
Original source: Netzwerk Autorenrechte

The economic stimulus package passed by the federal government provides hardly any subsidies for the book sector. The Network of Authors' Rights (NAR) is calling for improvements in this respect so that authors and translators are not pushed into social welfare (Hartz IV). Various funding possibilities are outlined and the importance of literature not only as a source of knowledge and education, but also as an economic factor is pointed out.

tag Buchbranche Konjunkturpaket Hartz IV
Literature/ Text Statement

Was wir im Lockdown über das Digitale gelernt haben

by Anika Meier (02 Jun 2020)
Original source: Monopol

The corona crisis has accelerated the shift to the digital world. Art exhibitions were also presented online in times of lockdown. If there is no other choice, even these institutions who have tended to avoid online media are now turning to social media to communicate and exchange ideas. In her column, Anika Meier examines what we have learned with regard to the digital world during the crisis, presenting various activities of the recent months, from livestreams via Instagram to online viewing rooms and augmented reality. In doing so, she urges art critics to think about new standards for evaluating art on the Net. Naive euphoria or unreflected criticism of the fact that virtual exhibitions cannot replace real museum visits do not do justice to either the artistic-curatorial claim or the medium.

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tag Online Viewing Room Streaming Augmented Reality Hans Ulrich Obrist Iwan Wirth Koo Jeong A Krise als Chance
Visual Arts/Design Kolumne

Tanz auf Distanz . Choreographie und Corona
Dance with Distance . Choreography and Corona

by Dorion Weickmann (12 May 2020)
Original source: Süddeutsche Zeitung

Dancers need a studio to stay in halfway good shape. Unlike with actors or musicians, the physical body is their working tool. Since the body has become a source of danger in Corona times, it is viewed with suspicion. The prospects for next fall are highly uncertain. Most probably only very reduced dance performances can be realized. This new minimalism, however, could comprise also a chance, if choreographers concentrate again on dance as art in the sense of craft, aesthetics, vision, idea, attitude.

tag Tanz Choreografie Probe Minimalismus Repertoire Krise als Chance Körper
Performing Arts/ Cinema Bericht

Corona-Chronik (8) . Krise als Chance, Theater zu Parkhäusern, Abgase zu Frischluft
Corona Chronicle (8) . Crisis as Chance, Turning Theatres to Parking Garages, Exhaust Gases to Fresh Air

by Nicolas Stemann (11 May 2020)
Original source: Neue Züricher Zeitung

tag Theater Autokino Krise als Chance Hygieneregeln
Performing Arts/ Cinema Corona-Chronik



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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