Not only the economic but also the cultural union of East and West Germany after 1989 is a lot more complex than it seemed shortly after reunification. In detail, the notion of an all-German identity proved to be less a real societal experience than a political programme. Cultural practice takes place in certain social contexts: While a specific West German cultural context spread across the East over the past 15 years, the East German one was often indiscriminately suspected of being ideological and run down as provincial and irrelevant. The reformatting of the East German cultural landscape in the 1990s brought both the cultural producers and the cultural institutions the experience of discontinuities and the loss of social contexts and collective knowledge. From the perspective of the West, on the other hand, the development always appeared as one continuously situated within the cultural system of reference.
A horizon of experience common to both East and West has perhaps only been established at the end of the 1990s in the form of newly defined demands on the cultural sector under the conditions of neo-liberalism and post-Fordism. Cutbacks, privatisation and the compulsion to survive on the market are now leading to a number of radical changes in the West as well. Against the background of these experiences, the question today is, which practices and players have been written out of the culture business and which new relationships and links have been established. The discussion will also be on the question to what extent community and a public can be created by means of culture and beyond ideological appropriation.
The discussion will be held in German.
- Annegret Hahn (DE), director of the Thalia Theater Halle
- Simone Hain (DE), architecture historian
Helmut Höge (DE), freelance journalist