Times of ‘Pandemonium’… Let’s not stop music from “Circulart”.

by | Abr 27, 2020

In the context of a pandemic crisis that is making the world think itself in different dimensions, we are conscious of the fact that the arts ar being hit, and there are a lot of festivals, concerts, and cultural events that have been canceled or postponed in the entire world.

Theaters, museums and other cultural spaces have suspended their activities, and many others try to continue through digital platforms and technologic tools, offering access for free as a contribution to the “stay home” mandate brought by the governments.

The propagation and intensity of the virus worries us deeply, and we want to express our solidarity with the entire cultural sector: festivals, artists, the audience, the families affected by this crisis, and off course with everyone who, from different positions, allow for the magic of cultural production and its relationship with the spectator to be a unique and unrepeatable experience.

Many hours of work and sleeplessness put to the service of the developement of creative ideas will grow in this quarantine and social distancing period. It is a moment of pause and reflection that will allow us to propose new ideas,  to take advantage of resting from daily routine, and to prepare ourselves for new and exciting editions of our festivals, fairs, markets, gatherings, and all of those spaces that mean the recovery of physical contact, socialization, direct interaction with others in spaces different from screens, leaving social distancing aside and feeling once again the warmth of personal relationships and the energy of colective manifestations, cultural or otherwise.

In this sort of universal “pause”, the proposed use of the time for those who are confined (knowing that a lot of people are excluded in a cultural dimension and because of their imposibility to access digital contents), has been to turn to culture. Culture has been accessed by different forms of digital media, and it has proven to be generous through museum visits, theatre plays, dance pieces, movies, literature, and an endless supply of contents linked to thecnological devices, with multiple offerings of conferences, forums, and meetings in social media. In the rush of filling the “empty time”, it has not been considered that the majority of the content is free, or that the artists that so generously open their creations for public enjoyment have stopped receiving the income that they need for their sustenance.

They birng the spectator closer to an ilusion. They invite us to enjoy the “culture of confinement”, in a pilot test of some sort of universal digitalization, but without the aesthetic emotion of the closeness to the living work, that can be represented, listened to, and physically felt. Are they trying to bring about the death of the living arts?

In the cultural sector, we are conscious that the recovery from the pandemic will be long and arduous.

Specially, we will have to face on one hand the traditional treatment that we receive from the govenrments of our common ibero-american cultural space, and on the other what will be a long process of the recovery of trust, after the fear and rejectment of a big part of the cultural citizenship of meeting and enjoying cultural manifestations colectively.

The challenge of fighting against the culture of fear is not only a plot in the action of government institutions, but has to be appropriated by each one of the social and creative movements.

Fear as a social relationship expropriates energy from our bodies, and the ability to build a world for talking, discussing new ideas, and imagining.

From this perspective, we ask national, regional, and local governments in Latin America to place special interest in searching for spaces of participation and consensus that are necessary to reactivate the presence of arts and culture, so that we can make from culture a sort of social relationship that improves lives and opens new perspectives for each one of our countries. This while realizing the difficult reality that is present in the world. Culture is a resource of human kind that allows us to overcome our own deficits of meaning and existence, and that is why it is critical above all as a place where each person can be adventurous and can extend the limits that are imposed to us in current times.

From a practical point of view, we have different proposals for action in different levels:

  • Planning of the actions of national, regional, and local cultural institutions:

Time has passed and countries, territories, and some authorities have tried to answer through social and economic measures that governments consider to be appropiate thinking in the immediate future, and taking into account health and food needs. They have made public calls more agile and have given out limited resources, but we need to look beyond that. We need to understand that culture is an essential component for coming back to an everyday life, and to the world that we must re-build. That requires for enough economic resources to be adjudicated to the public ministries or institutions fo the cultural sector. In our case, we suggest for special attention to be given to the independent music sector, which has been a key element to survive the crisis.

 

  • Legal aspects:

We also suggest governments to revise legal norms, and adopt special measures with clear and flexible rules that apply to the management of events that have to be postponed or cancelled, and to the legal obligations that artists and cultural organizations have.

 

  • Economic aspects:

It is important the national, regional, and local governmets adopt plans with different measures such as the protection of indepentend and “intermittent “ workers, unemployement aids, support for the payroll of small companies, access to credit without commissions and with reduced interest, deferment of  the payment of rent and mortgages, a reduction of taxes, postponement of payments to social security and retirement funds, and other measures to stimulate investment and recovery after the crisis.

In synthesis: we propose the temporal elimination of taxes for all of the cultural goods and services.

 

  • Promotion of association and sectorial actions:

Association is fragile in most of our countries, and the dialogue between different sectors must happen in conditions of soildarity and intelligence, to generate consensus and acts that strengthen everyone who belongs to the mucis industry and its chain of value. Sectorial lobby is not enough, and we must act as actors in an important sector of culture that generates employement and value.

 

  • The role of management societies:

We know that in the context of America, not all of the copyright management societies play a leading role in the cultural sector. However, we believe that the copyright management societies (of authors, producers, etc.) should act, channeling the solidarity of mainstream artists with the independent sector, and creating emergency funds for its more vulnerable members, and offering advance payments for all of the rights holders that need them, and interest-free loans.

 

  • Relationships with the digital platforms:

There have been some actions in a global scale by the big platforms, but there are small and medium platforms in our countries that manage streaming services and collect Copyright and Related Rights. These companies must be supported, but they and the international platforms should pay the artists in a more agile way, offer advance payments to all of the rights holders that need them. They sould also promote local and independent music with playlists, and support local campaigns and actions in social media.

 

  • Mass media:

Private and public radio stations, television studios and other media should promote local music and artists by including more content by these independent artists in their programs. They should place a larger spotlights on national and local music, promote new local releases, and support local actions and campaigns in their social media.

 

  • Good practices:

We should monitor and publicize all of the good practices that we can see from countries in our region, from public actions to private initiatives. We should also support the different studies being conducted so that cuantitative references in our sector are more objective, such as economic losses, employement, impact on the event tourism, etc.

 

  • Attention to the guidelines of supra-national organizations:

The voices of supra-national organizations such as UNESCO, OEI, SEGIB, etc., and their impact on government action in our geographic region, are necessary in this moment in which public policies need to be aligned for the recovery of the cultural sector. Participating in their calls, supplying them with information, proposing actions through the international aid funds that they manage, and accessing credits in multi-latera banks are necessary in order to complement the national plans, and bring about the economic recovery of the sector.