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.


Theater in Sachsen-Anhalt bleiben dicht: »Das ist eine Katastrophe« . Corona-Beschränkungen werden verlängert
Theatres in Saxony-Anhalt remain closed: »This is a catastrophe« . Corona restrictions are extended

by Luca Deutschländer (26 Nov 2020)
Original source: MDR

Cultural workers across the country are frustrated: Lockdown light will be extended into December as well. Janek Liebetruth, independent director and artistic director as well as chairman of the State Centre for Independent Theatre in Saxony-Anhalt sums up the significance of the further closure: »This is a catastrophe«. For theatres in particular, December is the month with the highest turnover. The houses can hardly compensate for the loss of income. Actress Kerstin Dathe, who works in puppet theatre, would have had about 30 performances until Christmas. Wo rries about the future and, above all, the question of whether the state-promised aid will actually take effect are on the minds of the cultural workers. It is uncertain when they will be allowed to perform again. Optimism is increasingly difficult in this situation.
Liebetruth demands that the economic losses suffered by cultural workers be compensated. Programmes like »Neustart Kultur« have the task of preventing a cultural death by offering a perspective for the coming year. What the cultural sector also needs is planning security, because only this can alleviate the frustration somewhat.

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tag November-Lockdown Theater Planungssicherheit Advent Kultursterben Neustart Kultur
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

»Ich empfinde die Schließung der Theater als reine Willkür«
»I consider the closure of the theatres as purely arbitrary«

by Dieter Hallervorden, Susanne Lenz (09 Nov 2020)
Original source: Berliner Zeitung

Not proportionality, but arbitrariness is a characteristic feature of the current corona resolutions. Based on this view, the German actor and comedian Dieter Hallervorden has enormous doubts as to whether the closure of the theaters this fall is actually legal. Therefore, as the owner of the Schlosspark Theater in Berlin, he has filed an expedited motion with the Administrative Court against the closure of his theater. In an interview with the Berliner Zeitung, he points out that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has called the theaters "safe places". Basi cally, people come closer to each other at a hairdresser than in a playhouse. He therefore does not see the proportionality that is a prerequisite for the restriction of basic rights. In his expedited motion, he refers to the freedom of the arts as laid down in the German constitution, which he sees endangered by the closure of the theaters. Although he himself has had to contribute a great deal of money in recent months to cover the running costs of the Schlosstheater, the financial loss hurts at most his son, whose inheritance is diminished by this. The successful actor does not seem to be in financial straits for a long time yet.
Hallervorden, who characterizes himself as a rebel, is particularly pleased that he has received a great deal of recognition and approval from the audience. Disappointment is read between the lines when he confirms that although many colleagues wished him success in his application, there was very little active solidarity.

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tag Theater November-Lockdown Verhältnismäßigkeit Eilantrag Grundgesetz Kunstfreiheit Schlosspark Theater
Performing Arts/ Cinema Interview

Lockdown mit Nebenwirkungen . Kultur auf Abtand
Lockdown with side effects . Culture at bay

by Claudia Kuhland, Marion Ammicht (08 Nov 2020)
Original source: ttt - titel themen tempramente

After a week of lockdown for the arts, the ARD cultural magazine provides an overview of the reactions of cultural workers to the closure of the institutions. The opening quote by the Minister for Culture and Science in NRW, Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, is symptomatic of the way the scene is handled. Culture is accused of violating the social consensus; the existential needs of many freelance artists, but also of the many companies dependent on the industry and solo self-employed are hardly heard. It is therefore not surprising that theater directors, museum directors, and managers of concert halls are now harshly criticizing political decisions - especially since offers of discussion are not heard from their side. The fact that especially in »our attacked democracy« the voice of art and culture must not be overheard is something that theatre director Karin Beier, for example, warns against, and perhaps implicitly gives a reason why Germans currently prefer to be sent shopping rather than to the theater or museum.

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tag November-Lockdown #AlarmstufeRot #sangundklanglos Solidarität Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen
All sections Bericht

Stille mit Vorsatz . Verbale Aufrüstung schlägt nötige Differenzierung: zur Kritik der Kulturbranche am zweiten Shutdown
Silence with intent . Verbal armament beats necessary differentiation: on the culture industry's criticism of the second shutdown

by Hartmut Welscher, Christian Koch (04 Nov 2020)
Original source: VAN Magazin für klassische Musik

The fact that the November lockdown hits art and culture hard, even though excellent hygiene concepts were developed to protect the public, divides the cultural world in Germany. The displeasure was expressed in open letters and articles in newspapers and social media. Only a few balanced voices can be heard at present. Federal and state governments are not innocent of this situation, as they have caused displeasure by failing to provide adequate justification as to which cultural and economic sectors are to be closed and which may remain open. As was already the case in March, many cultural workers feel offended by politics being assigned to professions that are not systemically relevant. So they feel that their function for society is not valued. Many now joined the statement of the trumpeter Tim Brönner, who complained that the cultural industry had no lobby, and tried to make themselves heard. The verbal armament, however, conceals the fact that the pandemic constitutes a twofold threat to artists: in addition to the material threat, many of them increasingly find themselves in a crisis of identity when they are no longer allowed to perform or interact with an audience. And so artists are currently making themselves heard loud and clear, but are still unable to find their way around.This applies not only to culture, but also to politics, which is currently more likely to stumble forward than to steer the processes in a targeted manner.  And so the authors feel uncomfortable when Finance Minister Olaf Scholz keeps granting new aid programs. Public funds are limited, and the first municipalities are already making cuts.
For the cultural industry, the question now is where the development is heading. There will hardly be a return to the status quo-especially since it was not a good one before the crisis. At the beginning of the pandemic, many musicians were happy to have escaped the »hamster wheel of global competition and competitive pressure«. Can't quantity leave the field to quality? In this way, the cultural sector could at the same time make its contribution to solving the ecological question.

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tag Klassik Musikbranche November-Lockdown Lagerbildung Lobby Sinnkrise Existenzkrise Quo vadis ars Stille Hamsterrad
Music Bericht

»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

Der Ton macht die Musik . Offener Brief der GMD- und Chefdirigent*innenkonferenz
It's not what you say, but how you say it. . Open letter of the conference of General Music Directors and Chief Conductors

by GMD- und Chefdirigent*innenkonferenz (02 Nov 2020)
Original source: concerti

The theaters and concert halls have lived up to their responsibility to the public with excellent hygiene concepts. The reward, however, is not solidarity, but the renewed "muting" of culture, decreed by a state that does not live up to its responsibility for pupils, who nevertheless travel in crowded buses and trains and are taught in poorly ventilated classrooms every day.
The GMD and the Chief Conductor's Conference is very angry, as the promises of support in recent months can only be understood as lip service in view of the recent lockdown and t he degradation to a recreational facility. The ruthlessness not so much towards the institutions as towards the people working in and for them, who are to some extent robbed of their identity, is very painful and cannot be compensated with money.

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tag November-Lockdown Musikschulen Freizeiteinrichtungen Verantwortung Ausfallhonorare guter Ton
Music Offener Brief

Stellungnahme der Kunstmuseen zur geplanten coronabedingten Schließung
Statement of the art museums on the planned closure due to corona

by Kunstmuseen (01 Nov 2020)
Original source: art-in.de

German museum directors, mainly from North Rhine-Westphalia, take a clear stand on the unexpected lockdown.For them, the closure of the museums, which they see primarily as educational institutions, is merely a »symbolic gesture« and ultimately a »wrong decision«, since museums are among the safest public places because of the measures taken.

tag Museen November-Lockdown Verhältnismäßigkeit
Visual Arts/Design Statement

»Gottesdienst der Künste« im Thalia Theater

by Daniel Kaiser (01 Nov 2020)
Original source: NDR

Creative protests against the November lockdown started in Hamburg on November 1. Together with the two churches, Hamburg's cultural institutions celebrated a "cultural service" at the Thalia Theater. The structure of the service was recorded and imaginatively filled with artistic and religious content. Since the cultural institutions will be closed for the next few weeks, the religions, whose task it has always been to provide comfort and confidence in times of mourning, were now called upon. In his sermon, Sieghard Wilm pointed out that the virus should n ot drive people into loneliness, but rather should encourage them to be together and love their neighbor. In the intercessions, the Senator for Culture, Carsten Brosda, made his pleas to society - including the hope that the role of the arts would also be recognized in Bavaria and the Uckermark region. Criticism of politics was also expressed in other respects. The fact that cultural institutions were mentioned in the same breath as amusement parks and brothels hurt the pride of the scene. In Hamburg, anger, desperation, rebellion and comprehension were creatively transformed into a convincing artistic project. It is comforting to know that culture does not go into freeze mode, but uses its means to defend itself.

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tag Theater Kultur-Gottesdienst Solidarität künstlerischer Protest November-Lockdown Hamburg Carsten Brosda
Performing Arts/ Cinema Bericht

»Es fühlt sich an wie eine Bestrafung und Verhöhnung« . Kommentar zum Theater-Lockdown
»Es fühlt sich an wie eine Bestrafung und Verhöhnung«

by Dorothea Marcus (31 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

Theater critic Dorothea Marcus spoke with Wilma Renfordt, dramaturge of the NRW-Impulse-Festival, and Stefan Bachmann, director of the Schauspiel Köln. Although both are frustrated by the recent closures, they do not criticize the lockdown, but rather see it as a solidary contribution by the theaters. The independent critic cannot agree with these statements. Rather, she speaks of a slap in the face for culture, which - in contrast to slaughterhouses and shopping centers, church services and the train - must now close again, despite almost chumming up efforts for ex cellent hygiene concepts. However, she finds the new lockdown for culture alarming, not because it does not affect so many others, but because she does not believe it will be effective. This in turn undermines the acceptance of the measures in society. The many parties in the last few days speak for themselves. Corona deniers will feel encouraged. This not only endangers health, but also social peace. With the closures, hotbeds of fire will be set, which will perhaps occupy us much longer than the Corona crisis.

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tag Theater November-Lockdown Unterhaltung Verständnislosigkeit gesellschaftlicher Friede Wilma Renfordt Stefan Bachmann
Performing Arts/ Cinema Kommentar



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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