Unmasking Power as Art: Sharing Tactics & Practice
Berlin / 24 June 2023
Panel discussion with Mike Bonanno & Jeff Walburn / The Yes Men (Artists & Activists, US), Cornelia Sollfrank (Artist, DE). Moderated by Klara Hobza (Visual Artist, CZ/DE) within the framework of Disruption Network Lab conference.
The campaign “Tamm-Tamm – Artists Inform Politicians” took place in Hamburg in 2005/06 and was a protest against the newly planned Maritime Museum. In order to complement the ongoing HafenCity urban development project with a cultural “attraction”, the Hamburg City Parliament had offered the controversial private collector Peter Tamm a large historic building and 30 million euros to transfer his private maritime collection into a museum. The organizers of the protest assumed that the collection did not meet the scientific standards of a public museum and that the notorious right-wing collector would use the premises to celebrate his authoritarianism.
The campaign took the political leaders into responsibility. For each elected member of Hamburg’s parliament, an artist acted as godfather/ godmother and engaged in a personal dialogue with the politicians in order to provide background information on the project. Documentation of each encounter was collected on a website, which proved to be an effective tool against the opportunism of the local media.
Since 1998 The net.art generator is a computer program (Perl script) which collects and recombines material from the Internet to create a new website or a new image. Since its launch in 1998, it became a classic of net art and got legendary due to its ability to keep connecting to new discourses and thus constantly updating itself.
Since 2018 #purplenoise is an interdisciplinary technofeminist research group that uses real-life events to explore social media as the arena for protest and political activation. The group was initiated in 2018 by Cornelia Sollfrank.
This interview with a cat is a conversation in which the speaker talks in depth with his counterpart about questions concerning art and politics. Credits: Thanks to the speaker Mark Gergis, to Manfred Miersch for sound editing, God’s Entertainment in Vienna for support and Marcel Broodthaers for inspiration.
Video installation and participatory online theatre based on true events. DIGIFEM Festival, Kampnagel, Hamburg, 2019. The installation consists of two screens facing each other: On one screen there is a video with dreamlike sequences from various locations in Hamburg, in which the protagonist reflects from a great distance on past political events. Opposite is the projection of a „social wall“ on which flashbacks in the form of images, animations, text pieces, slogans, concepts, names, faces and places flood the social media channels of #purplenoise. The fragments create a narrative that will never be complete and yet brings hidden stories back to light.
Performance lecture by Cornelia Sollfrank that makes a (techno-)feminist comment on the entanglements of gender, technology and information politics exemplified by the case of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
Commons Lab took place in 2017 at Studio xx in Montréal. It was a space for exploring issues that arise at the intersection of +feminism+digital+art+commons. A strong visual language created the framework within which workshops and screenings took place. In-person and group conversations reflected and tested tools and techniques of collaboration, and produced and shared knowledge and skills. Special attention was given to the collaboration between local and translocal actors.
Hacking Social Reality ist ein Spiel über Geschlecht als unüberwindbare und gleichzeitig unhinterfragte Grenze innerhalb der Hacker-Szene. Eine Kooperation zwischen HeK (Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel) und dem Theater Basel innerhalb der von Kevin Rittberger entwickelten Reihe COMMUNITY downlGEMEINSCHAFT IN PROGRESS.
On the basis of filmed interviews, GWYDH collects and presents statements from artists whose work contributes to the production and preservation of digital commons. Artistic research project commissioned by the Post-Media Lab, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany, 2013. Participants: Sean Dockray, Kenneth Goldsmith, Dmitry Kleiner, Marcell Mars, Piracy Project, Femke Snelting.
Speculative Software. After submitting a digital template, the software generates a „quality report“. The accuracy of this report depends on the amount of originals that are available as a comparison value. The goal of using the software is to provide a „sameness index“ in the shortest possible time, which can indicate in precise percentages the related source material. Using scientific methods such as distance calculations algorithms from bioinformatics finally allow accuracy in a field where arbitrariness and inability to detect have prevailed for too long.
THE THING Hamburg was an Internet platform for art and criticism in Hamburg. The platform was developed along the lines of THE THING New York and was active from 2006 to 2009. Based on artistic perspectives, THE THING Hamburg’s mission was to reflect on art and culture in various media and formats. The main ideas were to empower artists and cultural producers to speak for themselves, to contribute to the public discourse while providing a platform for the larger audience to engage with.
Revisiting Feminist Art is a series of reenactments of early feminist performance art. In the act of repetition, Cornelia Sollfrank took the place of the artists she selected and fashioned a test assembly by confronting the concept of the subject of these early feminist artworks with the action theoretical concept of repetition. The relevance of the repeated work and the statement produced by it is put forward for discussion along with the diversity of feminist practices. For this series, Cornelia Sollfrank selected artists and works that had influenced her as a young artist feminist: Valie Export’s „Mappe der Hundigkeit“, Annette Messager’s „Les Approaches“, and Niki de Saint Phalle’s „Peinture au Fusil.“
Audio play, 37min, commissioned by ORF Radio, Vienna, 2004. Collaboration between Cornelia Sollfrank and Timothy Didymus, as part of the Kunstradio series „real audio literature – .ran 2“, curated by Johannes Auer. The radio play „Automatically Generated Authorship“ relates to the development of new forms of digital authorship in terms of both content and form. In the process, four different characters represent four different perspectives of the discourse around authorship. There is one male and one female computer voice each, as well as one male and one female human voice. The radio play, which is composed of spoken text, sounds and generative music, does not develop linearly, but results from permanent jumps on the time axis. And although certain content is predetermined by the authors (Sollfrank & Didymus), the final form is determined exclusively by the underlying software.
Four legal experts elaborate on copyright issues related to the net.art generator – from a legal perspective. Four-channel video installation, (12 to 15 minutes each). German with English subtitles.
In 2004 Cornelia Sollfrank submitted the anonymous_warhol-flowers to four copyright law experts and filmed their responses. Instead of displaying prints of the automatically generated images, these expert videos were installed at [plug.in] Basel. The interviews not only illustrate the different appraisals of the situation by various experts but also clearly demonstrate the legal grey area between artistic freedom and the letter of the law resulting from artistic appropriation. Aesthetic necessities and legal logic appear irreconcilable. Thanks to the participating lawyers: Peter Eller, Munich; Jens Brelle, Hamburg; DrsRolf auf der Maur, Zurich; Dr Sven Krüger, Hamburg.
Conceptual Internet music project, Spatial installation / 2001
At the heart of Improved Television there is a composition by Arnold Schönberg: Verklärte Nacht. The piece has first been modified by Nam June Paik (1977) who slowed it down to 25% of its original speed, after which Dieter Roth accelerated Paik’s version up to the original speed and made it his own edition (1979). Cornelia Sollfrank continued the series of modifications by making the piece available to the online audience on a virtual record player where the user can set the speed themselves. The intervention also has an installation version where portraits of the four artists are presented next to their statements with a sound piece composed by Sollfrank on the basis of all previous interventions.
Old Boys Network was the first international cyberfeminist alliance. OBN was launched at documenta x as part of the Hybrid Workspace where it held the 1st Cyberfeminist International in September 1997. In the following five years, the network held regular international conferences, published readers and books and served as a platform for a plethora of cyberfeminist activities. An archive of OBN’s activities is currently in preparation in collaboration with documenta Archiv in Kassel.
Women Hackers is an artistic research project undertaken in 1999/2000. First part was a research on women hackers in the digital underground. The research has been summarized in a report. From there, Sollfrank developed two interventions: a Guide to Geek Girls, and the video interview with the fictitious female hacker Clara S0pht.
Kunstverein Nürnberg, 1 September – 15 October 2000
The ‚Liquid Hacking Laboratory‘ was an experimental setting which has been conceived by Cornelia Sollfrank and brought together twenty-five artists and hackers. It combined three elements: a temporary media lab, public presentations, and an exhibition. The idea was to go beyond traditional conceptions of art production and art presentation, and to offer –for the participating international artists and hackers as well as for the interested public– a space for exchange and knowledge transfer.
Female Extension was the hack of the first competition for Internet art launched by Kunsthalle Hamburg in 1997. Sollfrank created 300 ficticious female net artists and flooded the competition with automatically generated websites. This intervention has been included in Rhizome’s net art anthology.