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.

Read More Read Less

tag Musikverlage GEMA Planungssicherheit Chormusik Leihverkehr Kurzarbeit Neustart Kultur
Music Bericht

Die Literaturszene verliert ihre Foren . Absage der Leipziger Buchmesse
The literary scene loses its forums . Cancellation of the Leipzig Book Fair

by Helmut Böttiger (29 Jan 2021)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

The Leipzig Book Fair will not take place in 2021 either. Even the postponement to the beginning of May seems untenable for a major event. For the industry in transition, the cancellation is a painful loss, not only financially, because what is currently understood as literature and how it is talked about has changed noticeably. Today, literature is a small market segment of the so-called culture industry and is no longer a place of debate about aesthetic standards and socio-political issues.  An indicator for this is the announcement of the WDR to go new ways in li terature reviews. The book fair would have offered publishers and authors a forum to exchange ideas about this structural crisis.

Read More Read Less

tag Buchmesse Literaturkritik Verlage Event Quo vadis ars
Literature/ Text Kommentar

Leipziger Buchmesse abgesagt
Leipzig Book Fair canceled

by Martin Hoferick (29 Jan 2021)
Original source: Kulturzeit

A major event is currently hardly plannable and so it is not surprising that the director of the Leipzig Book Fair, Oliver Zille, announced this week with a heavy heart the cancellation of this year's fair. Precisely because Leipzig relies on so many forms of encounter, the fair is hardly safe to hold this year. A shift to the digital is out of question for the organizers, because here the personal encounter as a central element of the Leipzig fair cannot be adequately implemented. The format itself will definitely be retained in the coming years, the situation on th e book market is good despite the cancellation. Nevertheless, Andreas Rötzer from the publishing house Matthes und Seitz demands that support for the industry must be considered if other major events are cancelled in the course of the year. A vaccination center will now be set up in the exhibition halls this far.

Read More Read Less

tag Buchmesse Buchbranche Digitalisierung Begegnung Großveranstaltungen
Literature/ Text Bericht

Mein Europa: Ohne Kunst und Kultur wird's still
My Europe: Without art and culture it will be quiet.

by Carmen-Francesca Banciu (20 Nov 2020)
Original source: Deutsche Welle

With the reference "Without art and culture it will be quiet", cultural workers are currently drawing attention to the existential threat to the cultural industry posed by the corona lockdown, an industry that was already precarious before the crisis.  But what does this mean in concrete terms?
The writer Carmen-Francesca Banciu makes it clear in her column at Deutsche Welle with an appeal by Nancy Bass Wyden, the owner of the New York Strand Book Shop on the corner of 12th Street and Broadway: »We need help.« Institutions like the world -famous antiquarian bookstore are facing the end of their existence in the face of the consequences of Corona if they do not receive support. This does not only apply to the Strand Book Shop but also to the »Dussmann in Berlin, Dom Knigi in St. Petersburg, Dominicans in Maastricht, Libreria Aqua Alta in Venice, Atlantic Books on Santorini, Livraria Lello & Irmao in Porto, Desperate Literatur in Madrid, Carturesti in Bucharest« - the list could be extended by many, many more bookstores, cultural department stores or record stores. All of these are places where not only books were sold, but also meeting places for authors, musicians, artists, readers, critics and all other culture enthusiasts. Places which, because of their special atmosphere, became the backdrop for films and whose charisma not only represents the European spirit, but which also became a spiritual home for their visitors. This cannot be captured by streaming music or theater performances. This is why the statement »Without art and culture it will be quiet« is so important at the moment: When the world becomes quiet, according to Carmen-Francesca Banciu, it becomes dark within us. This must be avoided.

Read More Read Less

tag Buchhandlungen Kulturkaufhäuser Streaming geistige Heimat Prekariat Strand Book Shop New York
All sections Gastkolumne

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.

Read More Read Less

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

Corona zum Weihnachtsgeschäft: Wie es dem Buchhandel in der Krise geht
Corona for the Christmas business: How the book trade is doing in the crisis

by Michael Wurmitzer (09 Nov 2020)
Original source: Der Standard

Actually, the sales figures for the Austrianbook industry in Corona times look good. Following slumps of minus 41 and minus 65 percent in March and April respectively, the  figures for the fall were actually slightly higher than the previous year. But if you take a closer look at the figures,  like Helmut Zechner from the bookshop Heyn in Klagenfurt and Chairman of the Austrian Booksellers Association, the situation looks different. If you take the online giant Amazon out of the statistics, the bookstores are left with an annual minus of twelve percent. The can cellation of the Buch Wien book fair and the lockdown now give booksellers reason to fear the worst, as the industry in Austria generates a third of its annual sales in November and December. Contemporary literature in particular is now suffering from the lack of attention to new publications. It is difficult to say whether the lack of readings and events is actually the cause of the drop in sales. Small publishing houses in particular are making a living from live events, while the large corporations have currently stepped up their social media activities and are increasingly offering online readings. On the other hand, small publishers in particular have a more loyal core audience. In addition, many publishers have slimmed down their fall program considerably, while large bookstore chains like Thalia are increasingly focusing on hygiene concepts. Thalia even offers pick-up machines in Vienna to provide customer-friendly service during the crisis. The reduction in value-added tax is also currently a great help to the industry - although there are already indications that this will not be extended beyond the turn of the year. So the only thing that remains to be hoped for is a good Christmas business so that the book industry in Austria can get through the crisis well.

Read More Read Less

tag Buchhandel Verlage Buchmesse Amazon Umsatz Weihnachtsgeschäft Hygienekonzept
Literature/ Text Bericht

Frankfurter Buchmesse: Was ist das Buch ohne die Menschen?
Frankfurt Book Fair: What would books be without people?

by Felix Stephan (17 Oct 2020)
Original source: Süddeutsche Zeitung

How do you measure the social value of a book? How do you recognize the importance of the Frankfurt Book Fair? Felix Stephan examines these questions based on the debates triggered by the recent Book Fair. Based on Saša Stanišić critique of the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Peter Handke formulated in occasion of his acceptance speech at the awarding ceremony of the German Book Prize, Stephan shows how debates evolve. Suddenly it was no longer about the text itself, but about the foreign secretary Hans-Dietrich Genscher and the role of the Germans in the K osovo war. Such debates are important because they determine the social climate and encourage critical thinking. The starting point is the written text, but it needs the public forum of the Book Fair to unfold its potential.
Such debates cannot arise in the medial silence of the digital book fair. Nevertheless: the book as a commodity is attractive. Even though the Fair is largely taking place online this year, the publishers are not doing badly. The pandemic tempts people to read. In the area of children's and youth literature, sales figures have even risen by 13 percent compared to the same period last year. The large publishing houses are already starting to think about whether a physical stand at the Book Fair is still worthwhile. Expenditure is high, but it is difficult to quantify the successes. The licensing business does not need the fair. So why not decouple the book industry from the public? The example of America shows how profits fizzle out in a vacuum when the book is seen only as a commodity and even mega-bestsellers like Michel Obama's autobiography no longer trigger discussion. According to Felix Stephan, not only would the book lose its role as a leading medium, but our public sphere would lose an important forum for its culture of debate.

Read More Read Less

tag Buchbranche Buchmesse Leitmedium Debattenkultur Einsparpotential digitale Stille
Literature/ Text Bericht

Ein Weiter so wird es nach der Pandemie nicht geben . Literaturagentin Ruge zur Frankfurter Buchmesse
There won't be business as usual after the pandemic . Literary agent Ruge at the Frankfurt Book Fair

by Elisabeth Ruge, Christopher Ricke (13 Oct 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

This year, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest meeting place for the book trade, will be held primarily in digital form due to the pandemic. Instead of wandering through the corridors of the exhibition halls and meeting colleagues and contract partners, publisher and cultural agent Elisabeth Runge is sitting in front of the screen this year. Here she follows events and conducts negotiations for her authors. She only uses the online platform set up by the Book Fair for the allocation of film rights. All other meetings were organized independently. In an interview with De utschlandfunk Kultur, Runge reports on her impressions of this year's book fair. She criticizes the sterile atmosphere at the German Book Prize awards ceremony, where only the shortlisted nominees were present with two guests each. Otherwise, she praises those responsible for organizing the fair, which has largely shifted to the digital domain. At the same time, she warns that Messe Frankfurt must consider a new concept for the industry meeting in the coming years. For the large publishing houses and corporations in particular, the cancellation of the Book Fair also resulted in huge savings. They will show little interest in returning to the previous form of the fair after the end of the pandemic. There must therefore be an offer here that makes the Fair attractive again for all involved parties.

Read More Read Less

tag Buchmesse Buchpreis Rechtehandel Digitalisierung Elisabeth Ruge Streaming virtuelle Präsenz
Literature/ Text Interview

Louise Glück wird dem Handel nicht helfen können . Literaturnobelpreis und der Buchmarkt
Louise Glück will not be able to help the trade . Nobel Prize for Literature and the Book Market

by Gerrit Bartels (08 Oct 2020)
Original source: taz

With the announcement of the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Swedish Academy of Sciences heralds the autumn of books. In the week before the opening of the Book Fair, the market gets a first boost from the interest in the prize-winning works. By awarding the 2020 Prize to Louise Glück, the Nobel Commission has set a double signal: on the one hand, it insists on the sovereignty of interpretation in matters of literary merit, and on the other, it sets a political signal - as the few photographs show Louise Glück at the awarding of the National Human ities Medal by Barack Obama in 2016.
This double symbolic act is hitting the book trade hard. This year there is no boost, which is not only shifted by the attention paid to the award-winning author, but also meets authors in their environment. The two volumes of Louise Glück, translated into German, are out of print. No shop window can be decorated with them. No other poetry volumes can be advertised with them. They cannot compensate for the twenty to thirty percent drop in sales that bookstores and publishers have to cope with in the Corona year. The Book Fair as a visitor magnet and marketing instrument is also largely absent this year. So the publishers can only hope for the Christmas business. At a time when books are needed more than ever, this is a bitter pill to swallow.

Read More Read Less

tag Buchmarkt Buchmesse Umsatzeinbruch Lyrik Nobelpreis Louise Glück
Literature/ Text Bericht

Sprachmacht und Sachertorte . Österreichische Literatur in der Coronakrise
Power of language and the Sacher cake . Austrain literature during corona crisis

by Irene Binal (25 Sep 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

In a feature on the current situation of Austrian literature, the topic of Corona, which is currently a major concern for all creative artists, should not be missing, in addition to the great role models, the special features of the publishing landscape and the coffee house culture in Vienna.
The author Michael Stavarič, who accompanies the journalist Irene Binal through Vienna, is particularly affected by the crisis, as his current novel "Fremdes Licht" (Strange Light) was published in spring. About 30 lectures were cancelled, interviews and meetings w ere missed. After four years of work, there is now a lack of income and the author is thinking about whether life as a freelance writer can still afford to live in the next few years.
Despite comparable hardship, many Austrian authors do not feel that state support is adequate. With the project "Work instead of Alms" Marlen Schachinger wanted to set an example in this situation. Through a crowdfunding campaign she has raised about 20,000 €. Most of the money came from readers and is used to pay not only for the anthology itself but above all for the fees of the about 20 authors.

Read More Read Less

tag Literatur Österreich Arbeit statt Almosen Marlen Schachinger Michael Stavarič Umsatzeinbruch Crowdfunding
Literature/ Text Feature



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!

Getting in touch

Get in touch

Write an email to
or use the following form to contact us:



Privacy Notice

The content of this website has been carefully prepared and reviewed. However, it does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness or quality of the information provided, or that it is up-to-date. Liability claims against the publisher in respect of material or immaterial damage caused by the use or non-use of the information offered or by inaccurate or incomplete information are in principle ruled out provided that there is no provable culpable intent or gross negligence on the institute's part.
The publisher reserves the right to alter, amend or delete parts of the site or the entire offering, or to cease publication, without prior notice.

Where the publisher provides direct or indirect references (i.e. links) to external websites, it is liable only if the publisher has precise knowledge of the content and if it is technically possible and reasonable for it to prevent use in the event that they contain unlawful content.
The publisher expressly states that the linked websites had no illegal content when the links were set up. It has no influence whatsoever on the current and future design of the linked sites and hereby distances itself expressly from any alterations to the content that were made after the links to those sites were set up.
The Publisher is not responsible for the content, availability, correctness or accuracy of the linked sites or of the offerings, links or advertisements therein. It is not liable for illegal, incorrect or incomplete content or in particular for damages arising from the use or non-use of the information provided on linked sites.

In all publications, the publisher endeavours to comply with applicable copyrights. If, in spite of this, an infringement of copyright should occur, the publisher will after notification remove the relevant object from its publication or indicate the appropriate copyright. All brand names and trademarks mentioned within the Internet offering that are possibly protected by third parties are without limitation subject to the provisions of the law on trademarks and related signs and the property rights of the registered owners. The mere fact that they have been mentioned should not be taken to mean that trademarks are not protected by third-party rights.

Privacy Policy
The use of the internet pages of www.facingscience.net is possible without any indication of personal data; however, if a data subject wants to use the contact form or image upload form of our website, processing of personal data could become necessary. If the processing of personal data is necessary and there is no statutory basis for such processing, we generally obtain consent from the data subject.