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'A smart artist makes the machine do the work!'

Three net.art generators
by Cornelia Sollfrank

part of the exhibition 'Serialität: Reihen und Netze'
Städt. Galerie, Bremen
November 5 - December 9, 1999 Opening: November 6, 7pm The first net.art generator has been developed in 1997 during the work on the project Female Extension. The task was to find an easy and effective way to create net-art projects for 289 virtual netartists. The use of an automatically working computer program seemed to suggest itself. It followed from that to carry on with the idea of the net.art generator as an original project.

In collaboration with different programmers and following their individual preferences, three different versions have been developed. The basic idea was to write a perl script which would start a search by diverse search engines by typing in the title of a piece and the name of the author. The collected material (images and texts) from the web would then be recombined and put together to a new website. The generated sites should then be archived by the author's name and accessible in a kind of net.art gallery. Although they all started from the same basic instructions, the programmers came up with highly different concepts of how a generator should work. This clearly indicated that programming is not an objective work, but depends on many individual decisions made by the programmer.

The net.art generator does not only produce an endless number of works, but asks at the same time the basic questions on net.art: what does it mean, when there is no longer an identifiable author (artist) of a piece of work, when the creator has the chance to stay anonymous on the net? What is the material net.art is working with, and what new forms can to be developed out of it? In what context has net.art to take place in order to be identifiable as such? Who can access it?

For me this work is another attempt to change the focus of net.art from creative webdesign to other, more hidden levels of the net. At the same time I'm trying to play an ironic game with the widely spread idea of net.art as web(site)art by declaring exactly those websites to be art, which have been randomly generated of online found material.

To carry on the playing with traditional conceptions of art, the show will not only present three computers for individual use and experimentation with the generators, but also images of automatically generated net.art printed on cavas.

The net.art generator makes everyone become a net.artist. You just have to type in your artist name and the title of the piece you want to create, and the machine will do the work for you.

Special thanks to the programmers:
Ryan Johnston, generator I
Luka Frelih, generator II
Barbara Thoens und Ralf Prehn, generator III

Städt. Galerie im Buntentor
Buntentorsteinweg 112
28201 Bremen
tel 0421-361-6567