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Cornelia Sollfrank, Felix Stalder: Introduction
(p. 11 – 38)

Cornelia Sollfrank, Felix Stalder


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  • art
  • copyright
  • aesthetics
  • digital culture
  • authorship

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Cornelia Sollfrank

(PhD) is an artist, researcher and university lecturer, living in Berlin (Germany). Recurring subjects in her artistic and academic work in and about digital cultures are artistic infrastructures, new forms of (political) self-organization, authorship and intellectual property, techno-feminist practice and theory. As a pioneer of Internet art, Cornelia Sollfrank built up a reputation with two central projects: the generator—a web-based art-producing ‘machine,’ and Female Extension—her famous hack of the first competition for Internet art. Her experiments with the basic principles of aesthetic modernism implied conflicts with its institutional and legal framework and led to her academic research. In her PhD “Performing the Paradoxes of Intellectual Property,” Cornelia investigated the increasingly conflicting relationship between art and copyright. This led to her current research project ‘Creating Commons,’ based at the University of the Arts in Zurich. Her most recent artistic work, the performance À la recherche de l’information perdue, is about gender stereotypes in the digital underground with the example of Wikileaks. The artistic research group #purplenoise, founded in 2018, investigates the potential of social media for political manipulation. Her latest book Die schönen Kriegerinnen. Technofeministische Praxis im 21.Jahrhundert (The beautiful warriors. Technofeminist Praxis in the 21st Century) was published in August 2018 with transversal texts, Vienna, in German, and in October 2019 in English, with minor compositions.
Other texts by Cornelia Sollfrank for DIAPHANES
  • © 2004, Cornelia Sollfrank

    In: Claus Pias (ed.), Zukünfte des Computers

  • Internet

    In: Jens Badura (ed.), Selma Dubach (ed.), Anke Haarmann (ed.), Dieter Mersch (ed.), Anton Rey (ed.), Christoph Schenker (ed.), Germán Toro Pérez (ed.), Künstlerische Forschung. Ein Handbuch

Felix Stalder

is a Professor for Digital Culture in the Department Fine Arts, Zurich University of the Arts and Principal Investigator for the Creating Commons research project. His work focuses on the intersections of cultural, political and technological dynamics, in particular on commons, control society, copyright and transformation of subjectivity. He not only works as an academic, but also as a cultural producer, being a moderator of the mailing list < nettime > and a member of the World Information Institute as well as the Technopolitics Working Group (both in Vienna). Among his recent publications are Digital Solidarity (PML & Mute, 2014) and The Digital Condition (Polity Press, 2018).
Other texts by Felix Stalder for DIAPHANES
Shusha Niederberger (ed.), Cornelia Sollfrank (ed.), ...: Aesthetics of the Commons

What do a feminist server, an art space located in a public park in North London, a ‘pirate’ library of high cultural value yet dubious legal status, and an art school that emphasizes collectivity have in common? They all demonstrate that art can play an important role in imagining and producing a real quite different from what is currently hegemonic; that art has the possibility to not only envision or proclaim ideas in theory, but also to realize them materially.

Aesthetics of the Commons examines a series of artistic and cultural projects—drawn from what can loosely be called the (post)digital—that take up this challenge in different ways. What unites them, however, is that they all have a ‘double character.’ They are art in the sense that they place themselves in relation to (Western) cultural and art systems, developing discursive and aesthetic positions, but, at the same time, they are ‘operational’ in that they create recursive environments and freely available resources whose uses exceed these systems. The first aspect raises questions about the kind of aesthetics that are being embodied, the second creates a relation to the larger concept of the ‘commons.’ In Aesthetics of the Commons, the commons are understood not as a fixed set of principles that need to be adhered to in order to fit a definition, but instead as a ‘thinking tool’—in other words, the book’s interest lies in what can be made visible by applying the framework of the commons as a heuristic device.