Sophie Eisenried, 1.12.2020
A live field study of the seminar Everything is live now. Das Kunstsystem im Ausnahmezustand, at the Institute for Art History, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, in summer term 2020, Prof. Dr. Birte Kleine-Benne, supported by Praxisbüro of the Department Kunstwissenschaften of the LMU Munich.
The term Ausnahmezustand / State of Exception becomes more important in times of crisis – both in everyday life and in the sciences. What is the significance today of the term technicus, which was first coined by Carl Schmitt and later further investigated in by Giorgio Agamben?
The Corona-Crisis has created new dynamics within society and the systems of the state generating new rules and policies. Almost everybody is now used to keeping a distance, to being isolated and to covering their mouth and nose e.g. wearing a mask. Politics, medicine and medical care and sciences permeate each other, becoming and acting together as a force, by working in constant exchange. But what impact does the pandemic have on the arts? Isn’t the system of arts itself in a state of exception?
The 15th of March stresses the beginning of the so-called first lockdown for all museums, galleries, theatres and all cultural institutions as well as for all the people working in a cultural context. Museums are called upon to digitise their collections and make them accessible online. Theatres are moving their rehearsals to video chats and their premieres to the internet. Artists (m / f / d), actors (m / f / d), art directors (m / f / d), curators (m / f / d), art educators (m / f / d) and scientists (m / f / d) are looking for strategies to secure their existence. It is (still) unknown how long this state of exception will last and what this means for them, for exhibitions, productions, income, fees, the art market and art institutions. Furthermore, the pandemic reveals structures, strengths and weaknesses, doubts and uncertainties. Newspapers as well as technical literature are reporting about the corona crisis. The 15th of July is representative for a first and provisional end point, explained by the gradual opening of cultural institutions.
The reports by art magazines, feuilletons, blogs and social-media- accounts enable one to investigate the development of the pandemic through Live field studies. Hence texts have been collected, archived, classified and made accessible, from the 15th of March to the 15th of July. These can be found via online channels, search engines and social media on the topics state of exception, pandemic, corona and the art system and are still accessible on World Wide Web with an URL. The outcome is an Open Source- and Open Access Archive which broaches the issue of the corona pandemic and its impact on the arts from the 15th of March to 15th of July. The archive is publicly available, usable and also editable through an editing link for which everybody can be authorised for per e-mail. Just send your requests here: firstname.lastname@example.org
The sources were mainly collected with Twitter and edited with CryptPad. The documents of this software can be shared and edited in real time. CryptPad uses a hundred percent client-side encryption (Zero-Knowledge-Encryption) to protect the content in its entirety. Even if the link to the document is shared, only a cryptographic key is transmitted. The archive can be used anonymously and free of charge and also can be used for research, reading and knowledge gain.
The archive is subclassified in following topics: Arts / Kunst – Policies / Politik – Exhibitions / Ausstellungen – Museums / Museen – ArtResearch / Kunstforschung – Theater / Film – Culture & Society / Kultur & Gesellschaft – Galleries / Galerien – Auctions / Auktionen – Fairs / Messen. The sources are arranged alphabetically within the archive categories. For easy, quick and clear use, you can jump to one of the nine subject areas by opening the table of contents with a single click. By setting links to each archive entry, the texts can be opened on the World Wide Web with a single click and read in the front-end – provided that no usage restrictions are set by the providers (as in the case of The New York Times or The Art Newspaper). The archive is open to any extensions.
 Cf. Schmitt, Carl: Politische Theologie, Duncker & Humbolt, Berlin 1922.
 „Der Ausnahmezustand ist in diesem Sinne die Eröffnung eines Raumes, in dem Anwendung und Norm ihre Getrennheit zur Schau stellen und worin reine
Gesetzeskraft eine Norm umsetzt (sprich: sie anwendet, indem sie sie nicht anwendet), deren Anwendung suspendiert worden ist.“ Cf. Agamben, Giorgio: Ausnahmezustand, Suhrkamp, 7. Edition, Frankfurt am Main 2017, p. 51.