Here is the last episode of my Old Women. Visibility. Trilogy.
Old Women, visible. Made younger.
In Part I from Oct. 29 I mentioned, among other things, that it is not uncommon to rejuvenate characters in film and television through casting, i.e. to have older characters played by younger actors. Since I’ve received several questions about this, I‘d like to talk about this today again, with a bit more detail.
Can they actually do that?
A never-ending discussion revolves around the question whether actors can take on a role that, unlike them, is white / black / brown / Eastern European / Asian / flawless / handicapped / young / old / good-looking / fat / slim / heterosexual / homosexual / transgender / female / male / stable / psychotic / depressed / boring / stubborn / cheerful or has a different nationality and mother tongue. Many deny this, at least in relation to certain characteristics, others say “Yes, because you don’t have to have murdered anyone to....”.
I think it depends.
Regarding age: Is it bad if someone younger is cast for an older role and the older age is simply claimed, or if a role is unceremoniously made younger or older so that the desired casting fits?
A few days ago I wrote in the text Old Women. Visibility. Part I that I would compile and publish a gallery of “older and old women from real life. You can now view it here, either as a general overview, or click through the portraits individually and read the German explanations under the pictures: Name, age in the photo, profession and photographer:in / Common Licence. This information should also appear when you move your mouse over the pictures (the photos also function as an occupation game, which is why I have added the occupation to the female politicians).
As I said, there are many female politicians, on the one hand quite banal, because they are so easy to find as a larger group of older women in Wikipedia, with public domain photos. But there are also other women, I have, for example, looked through the lists of the Order of Merit Ribbon Awards – which are mostly made up of men, but a few women have also been awarded. Most of them have an entry in Wikipedia, but many without a picture. And women scientists, writers and a few actresses and a few under 40 are there too.
What I haven’t done is to make a percentage distribution of all possible population groups. But I think the pictures are already much more diverse in terms of older women than those who populate German fictional TV.
As a reminder: “Since they are mostly official photos or photos of professional appearances, the women were of course also made up and the pictures were certainly also edited, which is perfectly okay.” Nevertheless, they look different from PR photos of older actresses.
We Should be seeing Women like These on Fictional TV Programmes
Yesterday I was standing at the checkout in an organic supermarket. The cashier asked the customer in front of me if she had a student card – that must have given her a discount. The woman went completely berserk with pleasure for having been mistaken for a student. She was wearing a mask of course and a beanie, but from her eyes, among other things, I would have guessed she was easily in her late 30s or early 40s. Anyway. She was beaming all over, “This is the most beautiful thing I’m going to experience today!” It was 10:45 a.m.. What a prospect.
Hardly anyone wants to be old, people are turning 60 years young, old has become a dirty word. Actually, not always, in German. There‘s the phrase „Was geht ab, Alter?“ / “What’s up, dude?” – originally from youth language. Alter (dude) literally translates to old man. I’ve never heard the word “Alte” (old woman) in a similar context. Have you?
Old Women, visible. In Film and Television.
Being thought of as younger is enormously important for many people. Not only for women, by the way, but especially for them, because youth mania with everything that goes with it, partly presented by society, partly by the media, leaves its mark. The Hamburg-based initiative Pink Stinks (“Magazine, campaign office and an educational organisation against sexism.”) has been addressing the connection between a format like GERMANY’S NEXT TOP MODEL and slimness mania up to bulimia among young female viewers for years.
Age and eternal youth are also topics in the film and television industry. If a – famous – actress is over 50 or 60 or 70, it is always emphasised that she looks at least ten, if not twenty years younger. Famous older actresses play much younger roles (e.g. still a pregnant woman at 53), which – if you didn’t know their age – they could often pass as, because they work on their appearance and / or have it worked on and look tremendous. When older actresses like Iris Berben, Senta Berger or Hannelore Elsner once showed a grey hair in a role, it was highlighted as a special achievement. Continue Reading →
15. September 2021
by SchspIN Comments Off on Not bad if you like Men Productions: German TV Awards 21
The German Television Awards 21 – Nominations, Fictional Formats
Last week, a colleague from Cologne drew my attention to this year’s nominations for the German Television Prize, which will be awarded tomorrow, September 16, in Cologne. In response, I looked at the nominated fictional productions and television creators through light blue and pink coloured glasses and made an analysis.
There are four categories for films and series in this award: Best Television Film, Best Multi-part Features, Best Drama Series and Best Comedy Series, for each of which three productions were nominated. In addition, there are the individual awards for Directing, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing and Music, with three productions nominated in each category. For the set design nominations, production design, costume design and, for two of three productions, make-up design were combined. In addition, there are the awards for Best Actress and Best Actor with five nominees each, partly for two productions.
6-Divisions-Check of all Productions with Nomination/s
A total of 22 productions appear in all fictional television awards, 7 television films and 15 serial formats. Once again, many crime dramas, but interestingly no TATORTs (“crime scene“, Germany‘s top cop drama)
The first figure shows the proportion of women and men for the six departments directing, screenwriting, cinematography, sound, editing and music (6-divisions-check). Yes, there is no television award for sound, I wonder why (cue sound and vision), but since the sound engineers are usually in my 6-divisions-checks, I’m also including them here:
From July 1 to 10, 2021, this year’s Munich Film Festival took place, for real, in an open-air edition. Four awards were announced in advance, Senta Berger and Robin Wright received the CineMerit Award, Franka Potente the Margot Hielscher Award and Małgorzata Szumowska was the centre of the Homage, so to speak (The Cineastic Foursome).
An acquaintance suggested that I should take a look at the New German Cinema and New German Television sections, especially with regard to female screenwriters – so here goes!
New German Cinema & New German TV Movies at the FFM
All films in the New German Cinema section were invited by a selection committee, on the other hand, broadcasters can put forward films for the New German TV Movies section. What both groups have in common is that the films must be premieres, at least German premieres, ideally European or world premieres.
This means that the cinema films are predominantly early films, i.e. first, second or third films of the respective directors or producers – because those who are already established would probably prefer to show their film in Berlin, Tokyo, Toronto or Cannes. The situation is different for television films, where the festival merely has to take place before the first broadcast.
The following first figure shows the women and men as script writers or directors for the twelve films in the New German Cinema series – with a majority of women in both departments:
The second figure shows the women and men responsible for scripts and directing for the thirteen films in the New German TV Movies section; here the men are in the majority in both departments..
The third figure gives a more detailed breakdown of authorship for the cinema and television sections. Were the scripts written individually or in teams, and if the latter, who was in them? The majority of the scripts were written by individuals – which is not really a surprise:
Differences or Coincidences
So we were able to establish that there are very different conditions in the two sections. In the case of the New German Cinema, the proportion of women is higher, well over 50%, both in scriptwriting and in directing, and in the case of the New German TV Movies, the proportion of men is well over 50% in both departments. I already mentioned that the selected cinema films are ‘early films’ of the directors in their respective careers. However, this does not apply to the television films, where there are a number of older and more established film people both as authors and directors. It is also interesting to note that of all the cinema films, there was only one director who was not involved in writing the script, writing it alone or in a team (LIEBER THOMAS). Among the television productions, there is only one film (GELIEFERT) which was written and directed by the same person.
Let‘s not forget, there are only 25 films in all, which is not good representativeness (should this term exists, – if not: Tadaa! I have just invented it).
And in front of the camera
In my last text – or the last two? – I only looked at team positions offscreen and not at the distribution of roles, which has been requested by various readers. Therefore, here‘s an analysis of the first roles and the main casts (as they are given on the FFM website entries for the films).
Interesting: in the cinema films, there are more men at the centre of the story (= male first roles), in television more women. I know too little about the television films and also about the other television films that may have been submitted to be able to interpret this meaningfully.
For the main casts, the most important roles, it is the other way round for the two sections; in the cinema films the proportion of women’s roles is over 50 %, in television it is under 50 %. The former could be related to the high proportion of women among the authors, and the latter to the phenomenon of “now we have a female lead, that’s enough” – and could possibly change through the use of NEROPA. But that is a topic for another day.
The last figure shows the age ranges for the female and male first roles, or rather the actors and actresses cast, for both film series.
In New German Cinema, there were no first-role actors over 60, though there were two actresses: Corinna Harfouch (62) and Ulrike Willenbacher (65), the oldest actor was Christoph Kaiser (56). In television there was one actress over 70 (Maren Kroymann), the oldest actor is Joachim Król (63).
Roles in cinema being younger overall than on television is something I had already established many years ago, at least for the first roles (Age: A Picture is worth a Thousand Words). But again: there really aren’t many films in these FFM series, so we should be careful about drawing any authoritative conclusions.
What might be interesting, though, is a comparison of the New German Cinema and New German TV Movies at the Munich Film Festival over the last 20 years. But that’s a task for another day.
Why are feature films and television drama still so often produced without women, why does a menmenmen series get several million €€€ from public film funding, in addition to the million €€€ of a public broadcaster? Why don’t those in charge at the participating broadcasters make more women behind the camera and gender-dramaturgical counselling mandatory?
The TV series BABYLON BERLIN is hailed as “the most exciting and most innovative series from Germany ever” (Christine Strobl 2018) and as “an important part of the series offensive in the ARD media library” (Florian Hager 2020), by decision-makers in the industry who should be aware of Germany’s constitution. Shouldn’t equality also entitle everyone to equal access to film and television work?
BABYLON BERLIN, quite an expensive male gaze
On 15.11.18 I published a text about the German crime series BABYLON BERLIN, in which I pointed out the impressive production CLASH OF FUTURES as a much better alternative (Two German Series: BABYLON BERLIN and CLASH OF THE FUTURES). At that time I also wrote that I didn‘t really care for BABYLON BERLIN, a sentiment I had right from the start: the original novel‘s Charlotte, a law student and stenotopist for the police, became the series‘ Charlotte, part-time prostitute and police employee. And this feeling, this dislike stuck with me throughout all the episodes – an inglorious low point was the (approx. ten-minute?) sequence in which Charlotte Ritter and DC Rath ended up in the water with their car and sank, and she wanted to sacrifice herself and drown so that he could go on living.Continue Reading →
22. June 2021
by SchspIN Comments Off on Rosy times for Men in NDR Prime-Time Cop Dramas
The share of women in crews and casts is well below 50%
In early May, NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk North German Public Broadcaster) surprised us with the news that the cop drama TATORT: SCHATTENLEBEN, currently being filmed in northern Germany, is particularly diverse, both in front of and behind the camera. For example, 17 percent of those involved are BIPoC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color), and 65 percent of the head positions are held by women. NDR and the production company Wüste Medien GmbH are using the so-called Inclusion Rider for the first time. The initiative came from director Mia Spengler. The goal of the concept, which originated in Hollywood, is to have as diverse a staff and cast as possible.
“NDR has been focusing on diversity in front of the camera for many years. We believe in diversity as a whole,” says head of television film Christian Granderath in the aforementioned press release mentioned. Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to NDR’s prime-time cop dramas and thrillers of recent years, at least not when it comes to gender equality. Neither in front of nor behind the camera.
I analyzed the share of women for the six departments directing, screenwriting, camera, sound, editing and music of four television series with 90-minute films from the prime-time program: NORD BEI NORDWEST, the USEDOM CRIME STORIES, the NDR TATORTE and the NDR POLIZEIRUF 110.The period under investigation is 2017 to 2020.Two major studies by the FFA German Federal Film Board and public Broadcasters ARD and ZDF (“Gender und Film” and “Gender und Fernsehfilm”) were published at the beginning of 2017. By then, it should have become clear to the industry that there is a considerable gender imbalance in front of and behind the camera and that there is an urgent need for action. The series NORD BEI NORDWEST has been on air since 2014.There were nine films from 2017 to 2020. The following figure shows the percentage of men in pink and the percentage of women in light blue:
No April Fool’s joke: half of the TATORT screenplays by female authors – #jaesgeht
On 1 April, I posted the ARD news on Instagram that half the top cop drama TATORT’s scripts will be by female authors, i.e. written by one or more women in 2022. Not by mixed teams, but without any men at all:
This post was liked umpteen times and also shared in various Instastories. The only criticism of the post, which was voiced several times, related to the half-sentence “and we are looking forward to this challenge“. Because really, what is supposed to be a challenge about finding female writers or teams of female writers for 18 scripts?
The question of an April Fool’s joke was raised twice, by crew united and by composer Verena Marisa, who had even looked for a press release from ARD and found none.
The ARD or the Tatort-Instagram account, which were tagged, did not react. Neither with a “Good idea, we’ll do that“, nor with a denial, nor with a “Haha, funny“.
Because in fact, it was an April Fool’s joke. And such a joke works best when the message is outrageous but not improbable.Continue Reading →
Today I am looking at the 36 new episodes of German Top Cop Drama TATORT in 2020, comparing the shares of men and women in the 6-departments-check (direction, screenplay, camera, sound, editing and music), and analyzing the development from 2011 to 20. In addition, I will check how these films fare under the “2 from 6” departments rule. Finally, I will discuss the TATORTs in respect to the TV ratings and a female quota, with a short detour to the demands set up by Pro Quote Bühne (Pro Quota Stage).
The 6-Departments-Check 2020
It was already apparent during the summer break that 2020 was going to be a very good year for female TATORT directors, with a total of 16 of the 36 TATORTs coming in at 44.4 %. At the other end are the female sound recordists, or not, they were not engaged for TATORTs for the third year in a row. Whereby this is not quite true, the highest proportion of women is once again achieved in the average, this time with 77.3 % female editors. For comparison: Alumni 51:49, Crew United database 35.5 : 64.5.
• Summary: Bread and Play – Two Birds with One Stone • Why does culture need a new perspective? • Why do old people need a new perspective? • The big Chance • Spoilsport • The Proposals do not go far enough • Why is no one shouting „Here!“ • What can be done? #Kultur4Geimpfte0103
Bread and Play – Two Birds with one Stone
Theatres, concert halls, museums, galleries, cinemas, leisure centers, literature houses, district centers, … they are currently closed to protect the population. This is sad for the public, and hard for the active people concerned – quite a few cultural workers have thus fallen into financial hardship through no fault of their own. Many cultural institutions had already developed comprehensive hygiene concepts for the changed situation, the events on the stages were re-choreographed, everyone kept their distance, people spoke, shouted and sang to the front rather than to their colleagues, orchestras were decimated with large distances between the desks. And also in the auditorium rules of distance were implemented – you may remember the pictures of long empty rows with isolated audience members. Since the end of December, people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, initially in homes and nursing homes for residents and also for nursing and medical staff. In the next step, people over 80 living at home may now also be vaccinated. We can therefore assume that by the end of February, several million people will no longer be able to contract Covid-19 after their second vaccinations – and according to current knowledge. Mainly old people. That’s perfect! Old people and culture, they go together. Not only since today. Therefore #Culture4Vaccinated0103 from March 1: Open the galleries – but only for the vaccinated. Open the concert halls – but only for vaccinated people. Open the cinemas – but only for vaccinated people. Open the cultural centers – but only for vaccinated people. Open the museums – but only for vaccinated people. Open the theatres – but only for vaccinated people.
As far as I know, there have been no corona infections, no corona hotspots in theatres, concert halls or museums in the last 12 months. Check the hygiene concepts on and behind the stages, in the administration, the workshops, the postcard shop….. You just have to be careful that artistic and non-artistic personnel keep their distance, wear FFP2 masks and protect each other. The audience – the vaccinated – do not take any risk and presumably do not pose any danger to others, even according to the current state of research.* And because only vaccinated people are allowed into the performances, all seats can be filled, not just 20% with large distances.
In 2020, the value-added tax was specially lowered to increase consumption. Great, and now let’s kick off cultural consumption. Let the first vaccinated people be the first to be allowed back, the rest of us will follow when we are also vaccinated in the summer or when the infection figures are so low that cultural institutions will be reopened to everyone under certain conditions.
*The question of whether vaccinated people can infect other people does not yet seem to be clearly answerable. But basically it doesn’t matter for this proposal. The vaccinated can disinfect their hands at the entrance to the cultural institution, go with everyday masks to the ticket control and take off the mask only at the place. Only vaccinated people sit in the hall, and they cannot infect each other because they are vaccinated. In museums, sufficient distance and FFP2 masks must be provided for ticket and supervisory personnel. For visitors among themselves the distances do not apply, for the reason mentioned.
Bread for the cultural workers, games for the elderly.
Why does culture need a new perspective?
At present, ‘culture’ is being cancelled or postponed (see, for example, the program of the Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle in Hamburg), or shifted as far as possible into digital spheres.
Concerts take place without an audience, orchestras, solo artists and bands are on stage with due intervals, and the audience can experience them on the radio, via livestream, on demand or in media libraries free of charge or with online tickets from a distance.
The house is closed, the situation difficult – but the Berliner Philharmoniker play their concerts, as best they can, in front of cameras and microphones. (Source DLF Kultur)
In the 2020/21 season, in addition to its concerts at the Berlin Philharmonie, the DSO will also be regularly present on the programs of Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Deutschlandfunk and rbbKultur, as well as on other ARD broadcasting stations, thanks to its radio partners and shareholders. (Source Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin).
Many concert halls and orchestras do similar things. For other musicians it is often more difficult – they do not perform on large stages but in smaller cultural institutions, clubs or churches.
Galleries and art halls are also closed in real life and exhibit at most virtually:
To counteract the spread of the Corona virus, the Hamburger Kunsthalle will be closed from November 2, 2020 to February 14, 2021. There will be no exhibition program during this period. Our analog event program is expected to start on February 2, 2021. Still open and accessible from everywhere remain our offers in the digital space – use our offers on the website, explore our online collection or follow us on social media. (Source Hamburger Kunsthalle)
Cinemas are closed. They sell tickets for future screenings, or hope for solidarity, such as through the fundraising campaign FORTSETZUNG FOLGT – Berliner Programmkinos retten:
From exclusive theatrical releases to the craziest festivals & most interesting events to great arthouse films, cinema is reinvented every day on 78 screens here in the capital. Due to the current creative pause, Berlin’s cinema landscape is threatened in its existence. We would like to maintain this diversity for you in the future & for this we need your support!
Museums closed. Cultural centers closed. District culture closed. The theatres are no better off, no public performances! Although even before the shutdown, many theatres and ensembles had made an effort to strictly follow the Corona prevention requirements in their rehearsals and performances – and so they continue to rehearse in many places. One colleague told me about a two-person play:
The whole production was corona compliant, with a hygiene consultation at the beginning of the rehearsal period, the two of us never came closer than 1.5 m to each other on stage, and when we spoke loudly it was 3 m. We kept to all of this, or rather we kept to it. We complied with all of this, or had to comply with it. And we were also not allowed to eat together privately, for example, or take each other in the arm or anything. And otherwise the hygiene concept for the whole house, that is, the other people at the theatre, was very good and very strict. (Source personal conversation)
What I want to say with these examples: the conditions are favorable, quite a lot of people are ready! In many places there are already corona-safe plays, dances and music, exhibitions – and soon there will be a possible corona-inoculated audience. Curtain up, cell phones off: Let the shows begin!
Then cultural workers can finally work in front of an audience again. And earn money in the process:
The Corona pandemic has had devastating consequences for the cultural and creative industries. Many small cultural institutions in particular are on the financial brink. For artists, their very existence is at stake. The German government is helping with billions of euros in support and other funding. (Source Federal Government 20.11.20)
Why do old people need a new perspective?
Many old people love culture, they go to concerts, to museums and galleries, to the theatre, can recite poems and passages of text they learned long ago, or hum along to songs and arias. They read a lot or have read a lot. And they watch the public television program – although they hardly appear there themselves, especially if they are women.
In Corona times, out of caution – perhaps also because it was easier – we diverted old people to the siding even more clearly than usual. A pandemic? We close the old people’s homes to visitors and no longer let the inmates out. Hospitals as well. So that nothing happens to them, people still living independently are to remain in their apartments and houses, in social and spatial isolation, contact restriction of the highest form, ten, eleven months already. The old people are given a tablet, taught video call, and it is forgotten that most of them have hardly seen more than a handful of different people up close for almost a year and that they are slowly becoming lonely. Social contacts in public, shopping, in the park or at the bus stop, singing, crafting or dancing, chair gymnastics or game night have been taken away from them, they are supposed to stay at home for their own safety, ‘ideally’ in permanent lockdown.
Now the vaccinations have started and old people, those in homes and others over 80 get if they want two shots three weeks apart to become immune to Covid-19. This is probably a great relief for them and also for their friends and relatives. To what extent their life, their quasi-permanent quarantine everyday life will change is unclear. Will we soon see more old people in stores, on the streets, in the park?
“Younger people also currently experience loneliness very strongly, but unlike many seniors, they would rather have the chance to find their way out of isolation again“. sociologist Janosch Schobin is quoted in DLF Kultur.
One such chance could be the opening of cultural institutions to vaccinated people on March 1.
The big Chance
Of course, not all vaccinated people will want to or be able to go to cultural events. And not all theatres, cinemas, art and concert halls will open at once and offer programs on seven days or evenings.
But a start can be made with #Kultur4Geimpfte0103. Difficult times require special measures, empathy, creativity, inventiveness, spontaneity and flexibility. And courage. Not courage to risk others, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated. But courage to try something and perhaps be unpopular. And courage to stand up for a large disadvantaged group without a lobby.
We can assume that many corona-compliant offerings are available, whether because one- or two-person plays have been rehearsed at theatres, chamber plays have been put on large stages, or orchestral pieces have been transposed for the smallest ensembles.
And there’s a lot more to it than quickly implementable offers for vaccinated people, for over-80-year-olds and exhausted nursing staff:
Opera, music and musical theatres can host Best Of’s with a few soloists. Operetta song evenings. Or sing-along matinées, public singing with small choirs. Dance theatres can present spaced choreographies. Small ensembles from music academies, a quartet, a trio, or a piano accompanied string instrument or clarinet could (again) go to old people’s homes. Actors could offer readings or improvisational theatre there.
We are the creative industry. We can improvise, jump into the deep end and give seriousness to something crazy. I don’t know any actors, musicians or dancers who say “but I only want to play for people under 80“.
And I can imagine that both culturally experienced and culturally distant seniors are happy to be allowed out again after 10 months of contact blockage and loneliness, to be able to do and experience something again. Maybe they go to the theatre, even if they never did so before, or to the movies, especially if there are more seniors in the audience. As my colleague Claudia Reimer from Hamburg wrote to me, “I think now is the chance to bring theatre to people who don’t generally come to the theatre...”
So that’s where the creative industries, we are all called upon. Why not simply give old people the feeling that we find them important, relevant for our society, for our lives, for our art and culture?
Unfortunately, some politicians do not want to allow the first group of vaccinated people to soon enjoy the artistic game (while at the same time giving a boost to cultural workers) through #Kultur4Geimpfte0103:
“Many are waiting in solidarity so that some can be vaccinated first,” said Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. “And the not-yet-vaccinated conversely expect the vaccinated to be patient in solidarity.” (Source tagesschau.de, 12/30/20)
The many do not necessarily wait in solidarity, but because it is simply so. And then there are people who do not want to be vaccinated at all but wait and see how the first vaccinated people are doing after a few months. And there are also vaccination opponents.
But even more important: how does Jens Spahn know what the not yet vaccinated “expect”? I am not yet vaccinated, and I have no problem at all when vaccinated people are finally allowed to go out or can do more than I can. Just because I am not allowed to go out myself, others should not be allowed to go out either? Is that supposed to be solidarity?
After all, we didn’t say beforehand, “Oh, the old people are being locked away. Let’s all do a voluntary total lockdown out of solidarity.” (might not have been so bad, see Australia’s Zero Covid, but that’s another topic).
And we also don’t say, “Oh, quite a lot of people can’t work for pay at the moment, so out of solidarity, the others stop working too.”
The Proposals do not go far enough
Yesterday, news broke that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) is planning new Corona aid for culture: partial cost coverage for cancelled events, and an aid fund. On the one hand, the fund is intended to support smaller cultural events that have fewer seats due to hygiene regulations. And on the other hand, it is a kind of insurance for planned larger cultural events that have to be cancelled due to Corona. (Source Politics & Culture 2/21, p. 7.) That’s good, but it doesn’t bring cultural practitioners and their audiences together, doesn’t let either become active. But #Kultur4Geimpfte0103 does. So it could be introduced to help people help themselves, so to speak, alongside the financial aid packages.
Another proposal came in mid-January from Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD), who suggested that Corona vaccinated people should be allowed to go to restaurants or cinemas earlier than others. This was immediately rejected by the Ministry of Health and by Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD): “ as long as it is not clear whether a vaccinated person can transmit the virus, there can be no exceptions” or (it is forbidden) “to treat vaccinated persons differently from non-vaccinated persons, if only because there is no scientific evidence as to whether vaccination protects against the transmission of the virus.” were their reasons. (Source tagesschau.de 17.1.)
Of course, vaccinated people can be treated differently than non-vaccinated people. Namely: because they are vaccinated and can no longer infect themselves. This is not forbidden, on the contrary, that’s exactly what I demand on March 1 with #Kultur4Geimpfte0103.
(again: if only people who are vaccinated have close, unprotected contact with each other – in a museum, in the auditorium of a theatre, in a movie theatre – then it doesn’t matter whether they could infect other people despite vaccination or not. The theatre or cinema staff wears FFP2 masks, and so do the vaccinated people, from the entrance to their seats or the exhibition rooms. By the way, traveling to cultural venues by public transport would not be a risk for the vaccinated either, they just have to keep their distance from the other passengers. Or they can take a cab. Or with a collective bus.)
Why is no one shouting “Here!”
Unfortunately, I didn’t hear anyone supporting Mr. Maas’ proposal or taking it further. Maybe there were, who knows.
But what I have sorely missed above all are the “Here! Here! Here!” shouts from the cultural sector. Why didn’t anyone take up the bill?
We as cultural workers, of all people, should if not warmly then at least gratefully seize the opportunity and rejoice that in a month at the latest there will be enough vaccine-protected old people to help revitalize our industries. Who bring money, not as November aid or loans or the dole, but who buy tickets. Who can fill the halls. Who enjoy our performances, give us applause, see us. And we, in turn, can also hear and see and feel them. And create art again for an audience in the flesh. Anything is better than being able to do nothing, than performing only for the canned.
It is better for a theatre to perform only for seniors and ten or twenty younger nurses and doctors, and even to fill all the seats without a gap, than to remain completely closed.
It is better for a cinema to let in only old visitors and vaccinated medical staff, and possibly change the program somewhat, than for the projector to remain completely off.
It is better that old people in walkers walk through the museum rooms than that the exhibitions are only streamed. Where are the creative people, the theatre unions, the orchestra representatives, the associations, the theatre directors? I’m surprised that they’re not all shouting “We’re here, we’re ready, we’ll get it done. On March 1, things can certainly get underway. The cultural industry is looking forward to the “privileged”! We’d like to open our doors to the vaccinated, please let us play / make music / exhibit, we’ll watch out too!”
If there are these voices I didn’t hear them.
Sure, there’s the open letter from museum directors to federal and state cultural leaders, for example, calling for museums to open soon. “Our concern is the containment of the pandemic, but at the same time a reopening of the museums adapted to the respective course of Corona.” (Source Berliner Zeitung, 26.1.21)
But they don’t touch the hot iron of the first vaccinated either. And why does Berlin’s Senator for Culture Klaus Lederer (Die Linke) think of nothing better than to say that the theatres will remain closed until Easter without exception? Does he share Jens Spahn’s definition of solidarity?
I am an actress, I could immediately perform with a solo piece or literary productions (Gelesenheiten – staged literature for any occasion). How many of us are part of productions, planned concerts, have programs in the schoolade, and in recent weeks and months have only recorded video clips at home. Without an audience. It’s much nicer to play in front of people. Giving something to other people and getting something.
Many creative people like to say “I want to be on stage / in front of the camera / at my easel until the end of my life, I want to write / make music until old age“. So let’s make a strong case for people in old age to be able to enjoy our art again as soon as possible in the cinema or theatre chair, in the museum, concert hall or literature house. Enjoy safely because they have been vaccinated twice.
What to do. #Culture4Inoculated0103
#Culture4Inoculated0103 is concrete. Something we can work towards together or individually for the next five weeks. A proposal that will let many people create art and experience culture again.
Share this text, discuss the proposal, what is in favor, what is against? Spread the idea.
Talk to your directors, directors, colleagues, conductors or professors. Your ensembles, your orchestra, your pianist. Plan performances, what is possible, what is safe for you cultural workers?
Write to politicians, to cultural senators and ministers, to the Cultural Council, to Ms. Grütters and, for all I care, to Ms. Merkel. Be clear, be ready.
Don’t wait for the suggestions of others, politics has blind spots. Don’t be brushed off with the argument “It can’t be done that quickly.” Who knows?