The emotional is political: the Greens address the threatened freedom of art

The emotional is political
:The Greens address the threatened freedom of art

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    Petra Kohse

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The rapper Sookee, the pianist Igor Levit, the director Amelie Deuflhard and the Kulturpolitische spokesman of the Federal Greens Erhard Grundl (left to right).


Alliance 90 / The Greens

Never before had there been so much interest in a cultural-political evening of the Bundestag Greens as this time, their cultural-political spokesman Erhard Grundl was pleased on Tuesday evening in the foyer of the Paul-Lbe-Haus. No wonder about the topic “Art + Freedom under pressure”.

Although there are currently two types of pressure, as group leader Katrin Gring-Eckardt summarized at the beginning: “On the one hand, the criticism of what takes place under the guise of art freedom. We have to argue about that. Something completely different is the declared culture struggle from the right. There is nothing to discuss here. Here it is necessary to stand up and show attitude. “Applause.

Examples of this culture struggle were mentioned in the following panel discussion Grundls with the theater director Amelie Deuflhard (Kampnagel Hamburg), the pianist Igor Levit and the rapper Sookee some, and the audience also contributed: attempts of funds reduction, obstruction by criminal charges or slander of art and culture which deals with migrant or politically left-wing topics or is subculturally shaped. Attacks on official channels in a sense, gladly by AfD members, but in Saxony also likes to assist the CDU.

Igor Levit: “We are free, but we must not be lazy.”

And then there is what Igor Levit calls an “identity war” on this front: the attempt, and indeed from the so-called center, to gain cultural identity in order to exclude others. “But as a Jew, I refuse to discuss anti-Semitism without discussing racism and anti-Islamic at the same time,” he exclaimed. “We are free. But we must not be lazy. “

Coming together on the right was unanimity, which also included the need to gradually get over the fixation on the AfD and concentrate on what you stand for yourself. But what about the quasi inner battle zones of the scene? It was Olaf Zimmermann, managing director of the German Cultural Council, who rose from the audience and asked about the attitude of the Greens against Gring-Eckardt’s criticism of the “guise” of freedom of art.

Already in the May editorial of the cultural council newspaper Politics & Culture he had warned that “in spite of the increasing unthinking or conscious use of racist stereotypes of right and left”, one should not forbid the freedom of the word itself. Now he referred to the example of over-suspicion of sexism over-painted poem by Eugen Gomringer on the outer wall of the Alice-Salomon College and wanted to know if the Greens have found the overpainting right. He does not.

Shermin Langhoff linked the question of freedom to the question of power

Then, also from the audience, the director of the Gorky theater Shermin Langhoff took the floor and scourged Zimmermann’s call to defend the freedom of the art against the left, sharp. It is always the question of who criticizes whom and how the positions of power are distributed. She does not see any progress in defending “great masters who have had power for centuries,” but rather – analogously – persons whose existence in art is interpreted by others as having the right to object to it.

Both Katrin Gring-Eckardt and Erhard Grundl responded to Zimmermann’s question that they had found the overpainting of the Gomringer poem correct. Gring-Eckardt always wanted to put himself on the side of those who had no voice. Grundl found that every generation could redefine what it wanted to live with and what it did not.

In the case of Gomringer, of course, there were a large number of students, supported by a university apparatus, and a poet, then 92 years old, who suddenly heard a 66-year-old poem, which had just been awarded six years ago by the same university. But as Sookee put it, in the meantime “the emotional has become political”, a statement that no one contradicted.

Later, ten bar tables (“responsive”) were still about the details of what art needs to be free: financing, law, space and dialogue, for example. One green member each and one of art and culture were ready. At the Apple Juice booth I met Holger Bergmann, Managing Director of the Fonds Darstellende Kunst and co-founder of the association The Many, who is committed against the right and for openness and plurality.

Regarding the conflict, whose positions had been marked by Zimmermann and Langhoff, he said: “We need to talk about this urgently. But it is important that both Shermin Langhoff and Olaf Zimmermann have signed the declaration of the many. Even with different views, they are on the same page. “So a secondary contradiction only?