WOS 3 / Programm / Specials / Exhibition / Cornelia Sollfrank, »copyright © 2004, cornelia sollfrank«

Cornelia Sollfrank, »copyright © 2004, cornelia sollfrank«


Cornelia Sollfrank’s video »copyright © 2004, cornelia sollfrank« (2004) which was especially made for the Wizards of OS 3 documents a 45 minute lecture in which the artist explains, in every gory detail, who, according to copyright law, could possibly be defined as the author of the art works that have been created with the help of Sollfrank’s »Net Art Generator«.

The »Net Art Generator«, developed in 1999, is a computer program which sends a request to a search engine after the user has submitted a name and a title, and which recombines third party’s texts and images from the World Wide Web and creates with it a new website or a new image. The submitted title functions as a search term. The works created in this way are saved in an online archive and can be accessed and downloaded by the users.

Already in 1997 Cornelia Sollfrank had generated, in the framework of her project »Female Extension« (for the competition of the Kunsthalle in Hamburg), individual net art projects for 289 virtual female net artists with the help of a computer program (a Perl script) that collected and automatically re-assembled HTML material at random from the Web.

Developed in 1999, the »Net Art Generator« is the artist’s sequel to her »Female Extension«. Sollfrank commissioned four programmers to build a net art generator. They came up with very different solu-tions: The generators can be distinguished accord-ing to the more text-oriented or image-oriented bias of their search procedures.

The complexity of the results differs likewise, and they address different search engines. Playful though this approach to the basic tenets of (Net) art may be (»A smart artist makes the machine do the work!«), the »Net Art Generator« raises essential questions about art in the information era – about, for instance, authorship, authenticity, original versions, the material of digital media, the notion of the artwork and the location of digital art.

Cornelia Sollfrank’s 45 minute video »copyright © 2004, cornelia sollfrank« (2004) researches the question of who actually is the author of these art works created with the help of the »Net Art Genera-tor« (»Will I have to share my profit?«). In her lec-ture Sollfrank elaborates on five possible (co-) authors: 1. the computer program, 2. the program-mer of the Perl script, 3. the user who exerts exten-sive control over the contents of the future image by submitting a search term, 4. the original authors whose materials are being incorporated, and 5. the artist as the one who developed the concept.

With whom she will have to share in the end?

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