Do new media make it simpler and more efficient to lie, betray, spread disinformation and subvert power structures? Or do they rather
create a fundamentally new relationship between reality and fiction, between imagination and the physical world, between sending and
receiving? But was it not long before the advent of the Internet that postmodernism reached the conclusion that there was no such thing
as a single truth, but rather, multiple perspectives and gradual levels between truths?
Cornelia Sollfrank was convinced early on that she had to "somewhat manipulate this boring and unpleasant reality". Since the mid-90s, the hacker, cyberfeminist and net artist has been researching the global communication networks and translating artistic and subversive strategies of the classical avant-garde to the digital medium. Her primary concern has been to explore new forms of authorship, further the means of artistic appropriation and deconstruct myths surrounding ingenuity and originality. Most recently, she has been involved in artistic contributions to the discussion of copyright.
In this monograph, theorists Sarah Cook, Florian Cramer, Verena Kuni and Ute Vorkoeper shed light on Cornelia Sollfrank's somewhat opaque artistic strategies; curators, collaborators and "victims" of the artist also contribute brief statements.
One of Sollfrank's central themes is "hacking", the manipulation of code and the penetration of (social) systems. Florian Cramer describes how this aspect of Sollfrank's work slides seamlessly into the flow of cultural history and the questions of it's conncection to "concept art" in particular. The widely diversified strategies of the "trickster" Sollfrank are central to the text by Ute Vorkoeper who draws an iridescent portrait of the artist beyond a media-specific approach. Sarah Cook explicates the complex relationship media art has developed with technology and economics, the power structures of museums, reception, the art market and aesthetics. In an interview with programmer Richard Leopold, Cornelia Sollfrank gathers information about the deeper layers of the net.art generator nag_05, which he programmed, and its structural affinities with Dada. Verena Kuni guides a small collision of whirling streams of data and, as a half generating author, sings an ironic ode to the net.art generator. Whether Sollfrank is attempting to use an art-producing machine to do away with herself or whether this radical application simply represents another provocation aimed at arousing the attention of a paralyzed art system are questions the reader may interpret as her own contribution to the theme of "authorship".
While Sollfrank's net.art generators carry on generating art on the Internet for her and in her name, this printed publication will surely contribute to her status not only as a classic media and Internet artist but also help establish her as a remarkable figure of contemporary art.
Basel, Juni 2004