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«Net Art Generator»
Nowadays, work is placed on a level with duty, compulsion, obedience, conformity, monotony and exploitation, but scarcely with a «practice of creative enjoyment» of (Negri/Hardt). Even day-to-day art production bears few signs of this creative pleasure, being characterized more by requirements and deadlines. The «net.art generator» offers one way out of the rat-race: automized art production. Artists save valuable time and energy.
In the scope of the «Female Extension» project in 1977, Cornelia Sollfrank generated individual Net-art projects for 289 virtual artists with the aid of a computer program (Perl-script) that collected and automatically re-assembled HTML material at random on the WWW (http://www.obn.org/femext). 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.» The very different solutions they came up with are accessible over a start screen which was likewise auto-generated. The generators can be distinguished according 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. They work for Sollfrank in accordance with the motto adorning the start screen: «A clever artist makes the machine do the work!»
Playful though this approach to the basic tenets of (Net) art may be, 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.
(Source: Inke Arns in: Update 2.0, Goethe-Institut (ed.), Munich, 2000)