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.


So gefährlich war die Kunst noch selten . Aber der Kultur-Shutdown trifft uns alle
Art has rarely been so dangerous . But the culture shutdown affects us all

by Roman Bucheli (30 Dec 2020)
Original source: NZZ

Culture is currently banned from public space. This not only puts the livelihoods of cultural workers at risk, but is also a drastic experience for the community. The community lacks a place in which to experiment, formulate dissent, or test out ideas. Unlike in politics, the aim is not to assert one's own position, but to stimulate a discourse that forms a critical public sphere and thus drives the development of society. If it allows the individual to see the world with different eyes and to face the demands of everyday life more equanimously, an important task of culture is the humanization of society. Although art can also be enjoyed in isolation, it requires public space in order to help shape it. Karl Jaspers defined the public sphere as a prerequisite for truth, since the individual can only face up to debate in the public sphere. His disciple Hannah Arendt even spoke of the »venture of the public sphere«, since humanity can never be won in solitude. It takes public space to build a network of thoughts and relationships that encounter ideas from others and are considered before an audience. This is how a many-voiced conversation emerges. We are currently experiencing in online meetings that this is not possible in virtual space. The individual can cope with the absence of this analog exchange for a while, but society will break down in the long run.  

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tag Gemeinwesen Öffentlichkeit Humanität DiskursKarl Jaspers Hannah Arendt Widerspruch
All sections Kommentar

Here’s the first Africa-wide survey of the economic impact of COVID-19 on cultural industries

by Ribio Nzeza Bunketi Buse (28 Dec 2020)
Original source: The Conversation

This report refers to a study on the effects of the pandemic for the creative industry in Africa. Quantitative data from Senegal, D.R. Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia and South Africa are compared, but also qualitative data from further African countries evaluated.  The most affected subsector within the cultural industries in Africa was the performing arts whereas the non face to face media are more resilient. Predominantly the informal sector appears to be hit. Similar to reports of the effects in OECD countries a significant number of freelancers and very small siz e of companies are affected. Above all, precarious employments or short time jobs are disproportionately impacted.

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tag Afrika Prekariat Wirtschaftsfaktor informeller Sektor
All sections 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

The arts sector is already suffering . This year's budget just pours salt on the wound

by Leya Reid (08 Oct 2020)
Original source: The Guardian

It is a simple calculation according to the Australia Institute: Every Australian million dollars invested in the arts creates nine jobs. In construction, that same investment generates just 0.9 to 1.3 jobs. But obviously the Liberal-National Coalition government is ignoring this calculus in its recent fiscal strategy and does not include an increased support for the arts industry as first and worst hit sector by Covid 19. So no “jobs, jobs, jobs” as promised by treasurer Josh Frydenberg – at least not for the creative industries – but permanent i ncome reductions for the high-income earners. Concrete suggestions, such as those articulated in June by the National Association for the Visual Arts in an open letter, remain unheard. 

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tag Australien Wirtschaftsfaktor offener Brief Steuererleichterung
Visual Arts/Design Bericht

»Vielen von uns droht die Supermarktkasse«
»Many of us are at risk to sit at the supermarket checkout«

by Heinz Rudolf Kunze (17 Sep 2020)
Original source: NDR Info

In an interview with the NDR, the German singer and songwriter Heinz Rudolf Kunze talks about his experiences during the Corona pandemic and the situation of the music industry. All the central topics of the discussion are addressed in the interview. The picture he draws is depressing. In the music industry, too, live performance is the most important source of income today. CDs are primarily produced to promote concerts. Kunze openly calls streaming an exploitation, because the musicians cannot finance themselves from the cents they receive. Even successful accompanying musicians can only survive the Corona crisis by working in other industries. Although open-air concerts could be held in the summer, the number of visitors was usually limited. In contrast to the adjacent gastronomy, the event industry has to fulfill strict hygiene requirements. Kunze doesn't mince his words when it comes to the regulations that vary from region to region. Here "little princes" are at work, who rule arbitrarily. In autumn and winter, no concerts are possible. His own tour has been postponed until spring; whether it can actually take place is written in the stars.
For the future Kunze hopes that the cultural industry will be recognized as an economic factor. At the same time, the cultural offer in Germany, which according to its perception is the largest in the world, must be maintained. This requires the prudent promotion by politics. Kunze equates the breaking away of this offer with the deforestation of the rainforest. Thus he chooses a very drastic picture for the danger in which he currently sees his industry.

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tag Popmusik Hygieneregeln Berufsverbot stiller Tod Streaming Konzerte
Music Interview

Coronaregeln in Theatern . Gute Chancen für weitere Lockerungen
Corona regulations in theatres . good chances for further easing

by Ulrich Khuon, Vladimir Balzer (07 Sep 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

The theaters, operas and concert halls are the safest public spaces. Ulrich Khuon, director of the Deutsches Theater in Berlin and president of the German Stage Association (Deutscher Bühnenverein), is convinced that infections in theaters are largely ruled out. The ventilation systems in most theaters are excellent, and strict attention is paid to the observance of hygiene rules by the audience and staff. Even in the event of an infection, the tracking of people is no problem, unlike in the bus and train. And so Ulrich Khuon pleads - also in view of the successful Salzburg Festival - for further relaxation in the event area, which should be as uniform as possible for all federal states: one meter distance is justifiable based on current experience. The confidence of the visitors has also grown in recent weeks to such an extent that the innovations have been accepted.
Khuon sees a danger in the tendency of many houses to start the season with short plays. Quickly edible formats that do not cause any problems should not dominate the program. One could also reconsider breaks at the moment.
Khuon critically refers to a current statement by Bavarian Prime Minister Söder, who has drafted a clear hierarchy of easing: First comes economic life, then schools and daycare centers. If things run smoothly and without contagion here again, one could also take care of sports and culture. The fact that even after half a year, one of the most important figures in crisis management has still not come to the conclusion that culture is an important economic factor in Germany outrages the chairman of the German Stage Association.

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tag Theater Abstandsregeln Schachbrettmuster Salzburger Festspiele Deutscher Bühnenverein
All sections Interview

Culture shock: COVID-19 and the cultural and creative sectors . OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

by Ekaterina Travkina, Pier Luigi Sacco, Benedetta Morari (07 Sep 2020)
Original source: OECD

The 50-pages long report of the OECD analyzes the serious socio-economic consequences for the cultural and creative industries, which are the most affected by the crisis besides tourism, using extensive sources and figures.  The effects vary regionally and according to sub-sectors. Whereas many performing artists are currently without employment, the game industry is booming.  Aglomerations in particular are affected, and with them the ecosystem of countless freelancers and suppliers, which is particularly threatened - implying long-term consequences.
In addition to this detailed analysis, the authors also provide examples of various public and private measures to support the sectors. The authors emphasize that public measures are often inappropriate because the creative workers do not fit into classical support frameworks. In the appendix, the measures are compared in tabular form, sorted by country.
The authors not only point out the economic importance of the cultural and creative industries, but also, especially in view of a Postcovid19 era, the immaterial importance as a driver of innovation in the economy and society as a whole, with synergies especially for education and health.

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tag OECD Wirtschaftsfaktor postcovid19 Bildung Ballungszentren
All sections Wissenschaftliches Paper

Zerreißprobe für die Buchmesse
Ordeal for the book fair

by Sandra Kegel (04 Jul 2020)
Original source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The Frankfurt Book Fair is not only an important economic factor for the industry, it is also a historical institution, as it can look back on an intellectual tradition and five hundred years of history. In the current crisis, the fair management, together with the Börsenverein, has decided to hold the fair this year, but to distribute many events throughout the city. Now it has become known that the city of Frankfurt wants to expand the trade fair concept for 2021 to include music and gaming. The outcry in the book industry is huge. It is to be hoped that the book fair concept will survive this crisis as well.

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tag Literatur Buchmesse Frankfurt
Literature/ Text Bericht

How we can save our theatres . Britain’s powerhouse cultural sector needs investment, not charity

by Sam Mendes (05 Jun 2020)
Original source: Financial Times

With regards to the grave situation for theatres in the UK Sir Sam Mendes believes to have a plan how to help this rich culture to survive. The British film and stage director underlines the economic factor of the UK as cultural »soft super power«: Here live theatre not only generates ticket revenues, but is breeding new talents for film industry. To save the »multi-faceted organism« of live theatre he provides a mixture of recipes. First off all he pleas to sustain the workforce. Above all he proposes a tax relief increased from 20 per cent to 50 per cent for the next three years. Finally, he introduces a new model for governmental support:  He proposes the state to function as an »Angel« similar to a private investor co-producing new programs. So the government does not provide subsidies, but functions as public investor getting also share of the revenue in case of a successful production.

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tag Theater Sam Mendes Steuererleichterung Kulturförderung
Performing Arts/ Cinema Statement

Das Eine-Milliarde-Euro-Baby
The One-Billion-Euro-Baby

by Dirk Peitz (05 Jun 2020)
Original source: Zeit

Dirk Peitz explores the question of how the crisis of culture in Germany can be described exactly and who is currently bearing the costs that arise in the cultural sector. The »latent lack of systemic relevance« could become a problem for the industry if the economic crisis becomes more severe or lasts longer than currently expected. While the approximately 1.7 million employees are currently an argument in favour of artists, cultural funding could be discontinued very quickly in times of tight budgets.

tag Monika Grütters Konjunkturpaket Kulturförderung Systemrelevanz
All sections Analyse



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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