© Minette Vari, Sentinel II, 2002.

Sylt Foundation Art Collection

Deconcile – Reconcile. We assume that with regard to Corona as with any other issue that moves people locally or world-wide, a consensus about its nature and the best way of dealing with it cannot easily be had. It is a debated issue which currently sheds individuals and societies into adherents and skeptics of the official strategies of coping with it, into optimists and pessimists, into the infected and the non-infected, into those experiencing it directly or indirectly through a close infected person and those who mainly know it from hearsay, into experts and laypersons, etc.

There is no conciliatory, least of all a unanimously shared opinion, but a set of ‘deconciling’ views and opinions. Our aim is to reconcile these conflicting views to each other, and thus answer to a near-future challenge that was still unforeseeable in the recent past, but has developed into arguably the pre-eminent To Do on the list of things to be dealt with in the 2020s.

To ‘aim at reconciliation’ sounds like a mission statement that comes close – in fact, too close – to a missionary statement. Reconcile Corona is distinctly not a philanthropic endeavor, it does not wish to pacify conflicts that have materialized or resurfaced with the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Nor is it a project that follows the ideal(istic vision) of making the post-pandemic world a better place. The horizon for what comes after is open, and must bear to remain an open and, if necessarily, continuously conflicting one.

Reconcile Corona expects a return from those it addresses and invites to partake. Their contribution, financed as we promise it to be, must consist of a commitment (1) to pinpoint the Corona-specific deconciling views and attitude, (2) to look for ways of reconciling them, (3) to document them, disseminate the reconciliatory efforts all the while, and contribute to the longevity of the project. All this will (4) be accompanied by exemplary in-depth studies in order to warrant Reconcile Corona’s impact on the scientific communities.

Your way (and Self-Engagement) to Funding:

Engage and Swap Perspectives. We invite standpointers, i.e. people with a distinct attitude toward SARS-CoV-2, be they infected themselves, otherwise closely affected or actual pandemic bystanders, to define and adopt the respective opposite perspective. If you assign authority to virologists and trust the government in their coping with Corona, take the stance of the disbelievers and incredulous other. If you are a Bolsonarian, wriggle yourself into the mindset of a persona that is affected by and seriously concerned with Corona and its course. If you deem Africa to be the perfect playground for testing the viral catastrophe ‘for its experience with Ebola and HIV’, slip into the mind of an African that shares an opposing view. The arts, but also non-artistic practices offer a variety of modes to do that: method acting (theatre), RTA (red team analysis) and the crime novelist’s mind (what is it that drives the killer?), transference, empathy, ‘witnessing as listening to’ (Dori Laub) in psychotherapy etc. Individuals and small groups engage in this kind of serious game-role playing.

Join the Re-Council: With the submission of your (or your small group’s) opposing standpoint, you become a member of the ReKonzil, a board or council set up by us in order to prepare in a democratic way – select and make the selection transparent – the next steps. The ReKonzil consists of scientific experts engaging in the project and, on a strictly fifty-fifty votes’ basis, you as engaged laypersons (maybe you happen to be both a scientist and a standpointer: all the better). Our ReKonzil is many things at once: it is a PR machine and as such an instrument which most effectively transports Reconcile Corona to the public (we shamelessly exploit the fame factors of some of its members for that, and we have symbolic performative activities in mind that are inspired by German artist Gunter Demnig’s “Stolpersteine” and Yad Vashem’s “Righteous among the Nations”). It is a safety valve and quality management facility that sorts out unsuitable submissions. And it is a bottleneck which the suitable ones will obligatorily have to pass in order to turn to account their input. If the council accedes to your standpointer’s input’s eligibility and validity – and in fifty-fifty situations, your own vote will be decisive – you will be given the occasion to transpose your input with all its controversies to the stage, the printer’s press or any other platform that helps you reach your audience.

On air, in the shelves, on stage, online: Once the ReKonzil gives you or your group the all-clear, you will be supplied with a publication contract at edition ReKonzil, with stage time at a renowned theatre including a series of nights to present your performance or piece to the public (all accompanied by professional dramaturges, directors, actresses and actors if required), with a professionally prepared video clip to broadcast and spread your deconcliling standpoint(s) – you pick. Reconcile Corona will support you as much and as good as it can by not only financing your project, but also help you find your audience. Our scientific experts will accompany you, too. They will document your and the other(s’) Reconciling standpoints in a longitudinal study.

Participant observer:

Bruno Arich-Gerz, Dr. phil. in Literary Studies, recent publication: SARS-CoV-2: Das modern Virus (The Modern Virus).