“Now everything will be different! The crisis is an opportunity!” Such can-do slogans abounded during the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic. There was good reason for the underlying wish to confront unshakeable normality with the spectre of its demise. The hope was to call into question the constraints and entitlements of the present and to take a moment to fantasize about our future, an exercise that had been discredited by previous crises. But there was a downside to this seemingly favourable moment that revealed the consequence of paralysing excessive demands to overcome an incalculable and economically precarious time. How can we consider making changes if the confrontation with the status quo itself threatens to completely sap our strength?
Issue #35 of our Magazine is entitled “umrisse” (outlines) to describe this attempt at confrontation. Symbolically speaking, outlines refer to the topography of a possible future, an indistinct shape on the horizon, or the initial lines of a sketch propelled by the imagination. The authors presented in this issue explore in their articles possible futures and yet deliberately point out where their sketched outlines remain conceptually vague.
Hortensia Völckers, Kirsten Haß - Executive Board of the German Federal Cultural Foundation