Arts help intellectually

In times of Corona: What are the arts worth to us?

Should Bertolt Brecht actually have said: "Art costs money, and money is expensive!", Then it is the second half-sentence that contains the punch line of the saying. The shutdown of public life has deprived countless cultural workers of what they believed to be secure employment opportunities. Not only good advice is expensive in view of quarantine measures. Nest eggs have long had to serve to replace that which at least equates the artists with the members of the precariat in times of Corona.

Meanwhile, artists and intellectuals are content with the downsizing of their forms of representation. Even the smartest streaming option often only works like a dwarf elixir. In the age of their digital reproducibility, tricks are passed around like salesman's goods. Its value, if it cannot currently be determined in terms of exchange, remains visible as an idea. The musician in his own home clattering with pots puts the test to the test. He presents his art in beef soup cube form.

Stop-gap state

For those working in culture, the appeal to the representatives of the general public is essential for survival. Politicians must swiftly ensure that the art and culture market no longer treats the mass of creative people as badly as they were used to from it.

It's even worse: the market, itself a victim of official closure, is ignoring them. If you don't perform, you don't get bad, you don't get paid at all. The state jumps into the breach. By securing the land purchase, it expresses the appreciation that art enjoys. The assumption that it is of immeasurable value to us also accompanies us through neoliberal capitalism. It is a tacit requirement.

At some point the arts are said to have held up the mirror to bourgeois individuals: fogged with the touch of transfiguration. But the market has long since shifted what it considers usable in the arts to the creative industries.

Artists and creative people, intellectuals in general, to whom one listens, are integrated into a structure of institutions and places where they express themselves. The Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci once described the smooth functioning of this media network as the exercise of "hegemony". As a result, arts and cultural practices are often deprived of their best: they are effectively prevented from being insubordinate. They are welcomed into the commercial economy. Their meaning is a source of reflection for Sunday speeches.

Lots of prestige objects

What the wealthy among the citizens could once afford to distract themselves from the ugly sides of the profit economy should now belong to everyone. But edification alone is not enough. Selective access to cultural goods is intended to increase the prestige of its users. "From a cultural" point of view, such goods are compelled to valorize them: Those who consume art experience themselves, sociologically speaking, as a "singularity". He has experiences that he shares with others primarily to differentiate himself from them.

The state must now save what the Rabenvater Markt did to the artists in Corona-free times. He should lean over the comb. It is intended to replace the producer of symbolic goods, which the market skimps on even if it pays reluctantly. The anger of those involved in culture is directed not only at the naivety of politicians, who, as has been shown, have absolutely no idea of ​​the nature of the means of artistic production and the pressures of expression. The deadline for reflection passes unused: whether the voluntary submission to the logic of the shape of the goods is not also an evil when one is not squeezing a small elephant between oneself and one's fellow human beings.

With Adorno / Horkheimer, one could think more about the contradictions of art: that art, as a laudable part of leisure culture, helps to reasonably entertain even those who are already doing badly in our society, such as small service providers. But for that she did not have to pay dearly for the general public. It would be just an advertisement. In doing so, she can stick her tongue out at the market. It can be "magic", "freed from the lie of being truth" (Theodor W. Adorno). (Ronald Pohl, 5.5.2020)