Automatisation and Division of Work in Art Production
Work today is seen as synonimous with duty, obedience, conformity, monotony and exploitation, but hardly associated with „the practice of creative joy“. (Negri/Hardt) 1 Even the reality of artistic production lacks this creative joy, but is dominated by conditions and deadlines. One way out of this dilemma is the Net Art Generator. With this tool, artistic production can be automated; the artist saves valuable time and energy.
In 1997, the first precursor of the „net.art generator“ was developed. For the project „Female Extension“ a computer programme (Perl-script) randomly collected HTML material in the www and recombined it automatically. In this way individual net art projects for 289 female virtual net artists were generated (http://www. obn.org/femext). In 1999, the artist developed a successor to her Female Extension: the net.art generator.
In cooperation with various programmers* three different variations were worked out so far. They are either more graphics- or more text-oriented and can build up websites of varying complexity. One condition was to write a Perl-script, which, based on the selection of a project title as well as the artist’s name, set several (highly refined) search machines going. The material found in this way in the www (images and text) were, as a next step, combined to a new HTML-code. These automatically generated websites can be filed in an archive, the net.art gallery, and are accessible through the – also automatically generated – entry page. Sollfrank has the work done for her, as she propagates on her front page: „A smart artist makes the machine do the work!“
In spite of the playful attitude when dealing with the basic principles of (net)art, the net.art generator raises a lot of important questions on art in the information age. To mention a few: authorship, the artist’s image, the original, the „material“ of digital media, the definition of the oevre and the accessibility of digital art.
(Cornelia Sollfrank, Inke Arns)
* Our special thanks to:
Ryan Johnston, the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada: generator I
Luka Frelih, Ljudmila Media Art Lab, Ljubljana, Slovenia: generator II
Barbara Thoens and Ralf Prehn, Chaos Computer Club, Hamburg: generator III
1 „Die Arbeit des Dionysos“, Antonio Negri/ Michael Hardt, Edition ID-Archiv, 1997