Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathGenerative Toolsicon: navigation pathSoftware Art
WebStalker (I/O/D), 1998insert_coin; Verborgene Mechanismen und Machtstrukturen im freisten Medium von allen (Espenschied/Freude), 2001

icon: previous page

reflection of software (and software’s cultural significance) within the medium – or material – of software. It does not regard software as a pragmatic aid that disappears behind the product it creates, but focuses on the code it contains–even if the code is not always explicitly revealed or emphasised. Software art, according to Florian Cramer, makes visible the aesthetic and political subtexts of seemingly neutral technical command sequences. Software art can base itself on a number of different levels of software: source code level, abstract algorithm level, or on the level of the product created by a given piece of code. [6] This is shown in the wide variety of different projects ranging from 'codeworks' (which consist only of ASCII code and in most cases cannot be executed) and experimental web browsers – «Webstalker» (1997) – down to executable programmes. Just as software is only one of many materials used in generative art, software art can also contain elements of generative art, but does not necessarily have to be technically generative. Thus, the terms 'generative art' and 'software art' cannot be used as synonyms under any circumstances. Rather, the two terms are used in


different registers, as I will attempt to show in the following passage.

Dragan Espenschied/ Alvar Freude

As part of their thesis «insert_coin», Dragan Espenschied and Alvar Freude secretly installed a web proxy server at the Merz Academy in Stuttgart in 2000/2001. Taking the slogan "two people controlling 250 people," the proxy server used a Perl script to manipulate both students’ and faculty members’ entire web traffic on the Academy’s computer network. The goal of this, according to Espenschied and Freude, was to "examine the users’ competence and critical faculty in terms of the every-day medium Internet." [7] This manipulated proxy server forwarded URLs entered to other pages, modified HTML formatting code, and used a simple search-and-replace function to change both news reports on news sites (by changing the names of politicians, for example) and the content of private e-mails accessed via web interfaces such as Hotmail, GMX, and Yahoo!. The manipulated web access was in place for four weeks without being noticed by students or staff at the Merz Academy, and when Espenschied and Freude revealed details of the

icon: next page