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<nettime> Hacking the Art OS - Interview with Cornelia Sollfrank [1/2]
Florian Cramer on Fri, 15 Mar 2002 22:26:00 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Hacking the Art OS - Interview with Cornelia Sollfrank [1/2]



[This is the English translation of the original-length German
interview, part 1 of 2; copyleft and publication data is given at the
end of part 2. -FC]



Hacking the art operating system

Cornelia Sollfrank interviewed by Florian Cramer, December 28th, 2001,
during the annual congress of the Chaos Computer Club (German Hacker's
Club) in Berlin.


FC: I have questions on various thematic complexes which in your work
seem to be continually referring to each other: hacking and art, computer
generated, or more specifically, generative art, cyberfeminism, or the
questions that your new work entitled 'Improvised Tele-vision' throw
up. And of course the thematic complex plagiarism and appropriation -
as well as what can be seen as an appendix to that, art and code, code
art and code aesthetics.

CS: Surely code art and code aesthetics are more your themes than mine. I
think I should be the one asking the questions here. (laughter)

FC: ...no, this refers very specifically to statements made by you,
for example in your Telepolis interview with 0100101110111001.org,
which I found excellent because of its rather sceptical undertones. If
that really is more my area though, then by all means we can bracket it
out of the interview.

CS: No, no. I didn't mean it like that. Quite the opposite in
fact. However that is what is so interesting and difficult about the
relationship between these complexes - and which I often find myself
arguing about.  A lot of things appear to run parallel, or better put,
one invests more in one area for a particular period of time, then returns
back to something else. To keep an eye on how these various activities
link together is not easy.

FC: When I look at your work, I notice that on the one hand you are a
very important net artist, on the other hand - what nevertheless seems
closely related to the this - you work as a critical journalist for among
others, Telepolis, and frequently write about hacker culture: for example,
you've written about an Italian hacker congress and interviewed the
Chaos-Computer-Club spokesperson Andy Müller-Maguhn about the Cybercrime
Convention. Am I right in supposing that when you write about hacking, you
always maintain an aesthetic interest in net art - and that, vice-versa,
when you are writing about net art, you investigate to what extent it
tends towards computer hacking.

CS: I see myself foremost as an artist, and that is my point of departure
for everything else; it gives me the motivation too to slip into
other roles. Being a journalist is more a means to an end, because as a
journalist I obtain information that as an artist I would not obtain. That
means, I instrumentalise this function, as I did at the ars electronica
2001. The theme there was 'Takeover' and I was invited to participate on
the panel Female Takeover. An interview that I did for Telepolis with the
head of the ars electronica, Gerfried Stocker, helped me understand what
he thought about the theme - and how this somewhat vague concept came
about. That's why journalism and scrutiny are basic tools of my art.
My product though - I don't know if I should refer to it like that -
is ultimately artistic, or if you want to call it that, aesthetic.

FC: In the conclusion to your review on ars electronica you write:
"perhaps art no longer needs ars electronica either". I have to add that
I warmed to that remark. (laughter)

CS: But perhaps it does! "Perhaps" is what is written and
meant. (laughter)

FC: The motto of the event does not imply that art wants to appropriate
technology, rather to the contrary, that technicians want to control
art and make artists superfluous.

CS: I saw another 'Takeover' there. Stocker felt it was a 'Takeover'
by people working in the free market who have virtually taken over
art. And basically for the very reason that they are more creative
than artists. His whole concept of art circles around creativity;
nothing else seems to occur to him about a possible definition of
art. (Quoting our good colleague Merz here, creativity becomes something
for hairdressers!) Sure, Stocker's thesis was meant as a provocation
to artists - on the lines of look at yourselves for once, what a bunch
of boring shits you are compared to the young laid back super-kids in
the companies who come up with the wildest things. But even that can
be interpreted in various ways. You could open up a wider spectrum to
'Takeovers', just like we did when we discussed and engaged with the
issues of 'Female Takeover'. By the way, one result of our panel was
that at a future ars electronica there should be a 'women only' ars
electronica.

FC: In order to come back to the question of defining contexts - such as
art and non-art, art and hacking: it occurred to me while reading your
article on the hacker conference in Italy that usually the domains of
art and the hacking are kept apart from one another. Even if in Italy
this division was not so rigorously kept in force. That seemed to be a
sociological observation, and not a thesis that you support and want to
concretize. Is hacking then for you art and does hacking have something
to do with art?

CS: Both. As far as sociological theories on art and hacking go, I've come
increasingly to the conclusion over the last four, five years in which I
have been involved in hacking, that hacking culture always has something
bordering on a national...(laughter) flavor.  That's why it is interesting
for me to visit other countries and especially Italy, where it appears
as if there does not exist the slightest fear of contact between artists,
activists, philosophers etc. They coexist there naturally, dialogue with
each other and create a common language in which they can communicate
(laughter), which is something I haven't experienced in Germany. As a
female artist in the Chaos Computer Club, I have come face to face with
some of the worse preconceptions, accusations and verbal abuse of my life
(unfortunately).

FC: You said: as a 'female artist' in the Chaos Computer Club. What do
you put the emphasis on? Being an 'artist' or being 'female'?

CS: On both. As far as gender goes there is a basic frankness
involved. When one deals with the same themes identically and speaks
the same language, gender means less hurdles to cross. (laughter) Since
that is seldom the case it becomes one. The bigger problem however is
art. That left me utterly dumbfounded. I was having a nice chat with
someone at one or other of the Chaos Computer Club's parties and was
asked what I do.  When I replied "I am an artist", the reaction I got
was a hoarse exclamation: "I hate artists", which left me thinking, oh,
that's a pity! That usually makes for an abrupt end to any conversation
you might have. I find it very difficult to find new topics to talk
about, or reasons to stay and ask questions. That has no doubt to do
with the fact that hackers see themselves as artists - and more to the
point the only genuine ones - and that everyone else is just an idiot
and hasn't a clue (laughter). On the other hand though a connection to
art has arisen out of the formative days of the Chaos Computer Club. For
example in Bielefeld, where padeluun and Rena Tangens see themselves as
being active as both artists and gallerists - although they are by no
means equally loved and cherished by everyone at CCC.

FC: ...Felix von Leitner for example, one of the most skilled computer
experts in the CCC, enjoys giving padeluum a regular bashing ...

CS: In the German CCC that has a lot to do with the person padelun - who
many simply can't stand. He embodies for some what they are accustomed
to in art, and which means the subject is put to an end.

FC: Is that not a problem perhaps of the definition of art? Because since
the middle of the 18th century, and at the latest since Romanticism,
we have a definition of art that is no longer focused on the 'ars',
the actual skill involved, but rather on the genius and the aesthetic
vision. If one nonetheless sees hacking as art, this seems to have a
lot to do with the older definition of 'ars'.

CS: That can also have to do with a newer definition of art, if it is
exists in the minds of people. For me this has less to do with skill
directly, because one person alone in our times does not have the skill
to produce something relevant, rather different people with different
skills have to come together. A typical hacker would fit into such a
team. However it is very tough to get a foot into the German hacker
culture with that idea. You probably don't know my work with women
hackers?

FC: I know the interview that you also did with a female hacker at a
Chaos Computer Congress in 1999.

CS: ...Clara SOpht...

FC: ...right. And you are working on a comprehensive video documentation
of this theme!

CS: I'm making a five part series. Due to my experience in the CCC,
I narrowed my research down and tried to find women who see themselves
as hackers. Besides posting to numerous mailing lists and newsgroups,
I asked a diverse number of experts. Bruce Sterling, for example, who
has written an erudite book "Hacker Cracker", and is seen as an expert
in the American scene, or the American hacker hunter, Gail Thackeray,
who was the co-founder of the Computer Crime Unit in the USA. They
are really specialists who know the scene very well, and all of them
confirmed that there are no highly skilled women in this area. That
proved very depressing for me. In my fantasies, I imagined there were
all this wild women, complete nerds, exotic, anarchistic and dangerous,
courageous enough to want to cross borders and break all conventions,
psychopathic and with criminal tendencies, politically active, artistic
and more: however they just didn't exist. That's when I switched
from the journalist-research modus to the artistic-modus and said to
myself, I have to try and reshape this boring reality. And that's why
I did the interview with Clara SOpht for example, who doesn't really
exist. (Laughter) I just started to invent female hackers.

FC: Oh, I see! (laughter) Great!

CS: I did show the videos which come out of this process in the art
scene, where they went down really well, although sometimes certain
clever people ask what they actually have to do with art. Depending on
the situation I then reveal that the female hackers do not exist or STILL
do not exist. I preferred showing them though in a hacker context. For
example I gave a talk at the CCC congress on women hackers and showed
the interview with Clara SOpht. It was pretty well attended, including a
lot of men, who watched everything and then attacked me for not defending
sufficiently Clara Sopht's privacy, because she had stressed that she did
not want details about herself being publicized. At the end of the event
I mentioned casually that the woman did not exist and that I had invented
her. Some people were gobsmacked. Quite unexpectedly they had experienced
art, an art which had come to them, to their congress, and talked in their
language. I found that very amusing. These little doses of 'pedagogy'
can trigger off a lot and no doubt help CCC to develop itself further.

FC: There you become a hacker yourself, but in a different system from
that of computer codes. You do 'social hacking'.

CS: Exactly - my favorite hack in the CCC concerned the Website of the
Hacker Club, the 'Lost and Found' Page, which I always liked to study
after every congress. I found it fascinating to discover what things
hackers have on them and have forgotten. I then turned that around. While
I was working on the theme 'women hackers', I deliberately left things
at the congress so that they would turn up on the 'Lost and Found'
page and cause commotion and upheaval. By that, I mean I left things
there which normally only women have or possess. The main object was a
small electronic device with a display and two little lights that women
use to calculate their fertility cycle. I handed that in to the 'Lost
and Found' and added that I had found it in the ladies' toilets. Five
hackers grouped around this device and studied it ...(laughter) to find
out what it is. This ominous device became the center of a lot of heated
discussions before it was finally pinned up as a large photo in 'Lost &
Found' Page. Those are examples of some of my small hacks at the CCC -
back then while in the process of leaving clues to female hacker and
characters who do not exist.

FC: In the early nineties the art critic Thomas Wulffen coined the phrase
'art operating system'.  Can you relate to that in any way? Or do you
find it problematic? Your artistic hacks that you've mentioned do not
engage directly with the art operating system!

CS: I can relate to that in a big way because what interests me most in
art is it's operating system, the parameters which define it, and how they
can be changed and what the possibilities of new media contribute to this
change. What also belongs to the operating system is the concept of the
artist, the notion of an artistic program, an artist's body of work, and
last but not least the interfaces - who and what will be exhibited and who
will look at it. This system is actually what interests me most in art. To
intervene and be able to play with it I have to know how it functions.

FC: But then isn't it difficult to be a net artist as well? In my
perception of net art what astonished me most and what affects you
too, is how petty bourgeois, reactionary and utterly humorless this
contemporary art scene really is - although one always thought it was
the most aesthetically permissive around. In the example of net art,
one could see how in the very moment in which no new objects were being
produced which lent themselves to being exhibited, that it (net art)
lost its footing and was not given proper recognition in the art world. I
still find it astonishing how much net art has to fight against this
in order to be taken seriously in the first place by the art operating
system. Is that not difficult for you, as an artist, to want to try and
hack the art operating system, and to do as a net artist?

CS: First of all I do not see myself solely as a net artist, but rather
as a kind of concept artist. I find the net indeed very interesting, and
to be active in it fulfills many of my wishes, but that aside, I also
work with video, text, performance and whatever else is required for a
particular project. That net art is not recognized in the art world and
has problems there is primarily due to the fact that, in my opinion, there
are no pieces/objects which can be exchanged from one owner to another in
a meaningful way. An art which is not compatible with the art market is
hardly of any interest, because in the last analysis the market is the
governing force in the art operating system. Another further difficulty
is the ability to exhibit. What justification is there to show net art
in the 'White Cube'?

In that way all curators have to ask themselves: why should we actually
show net art here in our museum? Some net artists quickly understood that
they wouldn't get far with their non-commodifiable, difficult to represent
art in the market, and expanded to working with installations. That has
worked well - just as it did with video art. It is not a new phenomenon
that is happening to net art. Before it, there was also ephemeral
art, Fluxus and performance art for example, or technically perfect
reproducible art forms such as video and photography. All these art
forms had enormous problems at the beginning, but then opportunities
surfaced in the market and certain intermediaries really supported them
and managed to create a space for them. And when everything becomes too
much, another decade of 'new painting' is heralded in order to let the
market recuperate.

Nevertheless I think there is an interest regarding net art in the
art world. For a long period it was given a lot of hype, and at the
moment I see a kind of consolidation. Ultimately there are a few big
institutions like the Guggenheim, the Tate Gallery or the Walker Art
Center that commission new works. What goes wrong in net art is that
artists - I'm talking mainly about the group net.art and that scene -
have not developed collective strategies as to how they should deal with
the art system - which was one of the great strengths of the Fluxus
artists. There is missing a willingness to accept that a problem even
exists in the first place.

Therefore the result can only be disasterous when the two worlds
collide. Attitudes like: " I'll show my work at documenta or in the
Whitney Museum, but it doesn't mean anything" don't lead anywhere. That
is unpolitical and weakens every single artists' position.

Vuc Cosic acted similarly at the Biennale 2001 in Venice. Leaving aside
the strange circumstances which lead to him ending up in the Slovanian
Pavillion, it was a success for net art and for him personally, and it
was generally an interesting Pavillion. And instead of celebrating that
- which would have been honest - he tried to convey through his acting
that everything was trival and meaningless. Some people found this very
unpleasant and there arose quite spontaneously the idea of commenting what
was going on. The result was the very controversial 'flower action'. In
the name of the Old Boys' Network three cyberfeminists handed him a
large bouquet of flowers at the opening of the Pavillion in order to
gratulate him and pay tribute to his achievements in net art.

I like this action, because it works at different levels: the Slovanian
press were proud of their artist, and insiders would remember very
clearly Vuk's gesture - as part of the opening of the net.condition at
zkm - of laying down a bouquet of flowers to symbolize the death of net
art through its institutionalization. A wonderful refernce, I think. I
believe too that it was also a bit painful for him.

As I said, the lack of a collective strategy for net artists was and
still is a big problem. In 1997, a further symptom of this occurred
in the form of the first competition for net art a museum has launched:
EXTENSION by the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Like the introduction of net art at
the documenta x, artists here were very uncertain and didn't know how they
should deal with the idiotic and incomprehensible conditions. And so they
contributed half-heartedly. This was the time when it would have been easy
to hack the art operating system. It was definitely a missed opportunity.

FC: You see yourself as a concept artist, and on your homepage there
is a slogan that could be seen as an analogy: "A smart artist makes the
machine do the work". Is that supposed to mean that concept art actually
wasn't concept art before machines started to process the concepts?

CS: No, I wouldn't formulate it so radically, so one-dimensionally
(laughter). Ultimately one could take slaves instead of machines to
produce art (laughter).

FC: À la Andy Warhol Factory...

CS: Yes, somewhat similar. Or simply craftsmen and women, or keen art
students who implement the master's idea.

FC: ...Jeff Koons...

CS: Yeah Jeff Koons is a good example. I don't think that one needs a
machine to realize that idea of art. If the aethetic program is developed
with which the artist works then it doesn't matter who produces the actual
pieces. And the artist becomes a purely representational figure... He or
she simply has to fit well to the 'image' of an artist set as parameter
in the system.

FC: I want to add on something there. Yesterday I read on the 'eu-gene'
Mailing List for generative art - which was set up by among others
Adrian Ward - what I feel is the first enlightening definition of
generative art. It comes from Philip Galanter, a Professor at the New
York University, and dovetails nicely into what you just said:

"Generative art refers to any art practice where the artist creates a
process, such as a set of natural language rules, a computer program,
a machine, or other mechanism, which is then set into motion with some
degree of autonomy contributing to or resulting in a completed work
of art."

I find that an interesting definition, because it not only reflects
computer art, but also spans a lot more.

CS: Yes, I think so too. It's a good definition.

FC: Would you say that what you do is generative art?

CS: Not everything that I do. But definitely the work I've done with the
net art generator. Whether this set of rules he speaks about applies to
my work... I'd have to really give that some more thought. What seems to
support this though is that my point of departure is founded on not being
creative, in the sense of creating new images or a new aethetic. Rather,
I work with material that is already available. This material is then
reshaped under certain structural conditions or simply reworked. But I
couldn't give a NAME to this program. (laughter)

FC: I ask myself, however, whether for you in 'Female Extension' -
where you submitted several hundred art websites under different female
artist names to the net art competition EXTENSION, and which were
in fact generated by a computer program - the generative is simply a
vehicle, a means to an end. 'Female Extension' was also a 'social hack',
a cyberfeminist hack of the net art competition. How your generators
were programmed was actually pretty irrelevant!?

CS: In principle, yes. (laughter) However after 'Female Extension'
I continued to develop the concept of net art generators.

FC: What springs to mind now is that in one of your net art generators,
you used the 'Dada Engine' by Andrew Bulhak, which is also the basis
for his very humorous 'Postmodern Thesis Generator'...

CS: That's right. Unfortunately that is also the most complicated
generator and often causes problems.

FC: So the net art generators were not inspired by the 'Postmodern
Thesis Generator'?

CS: No, that was different. While the competition at the Hamburger
Kunsthalle in 1997 was taking place, it was clear to me that one of
the crucial points was: museum wants to incorporate net art. I wanted
to intervene and clarify things: on the one hand for the artists or net
artists. I felt we had to watch out with how we dealt with the situation,
so that the potential of net art - which had been acquired was used in
a subversive way - was not thrown away, given away to easily, and on
the other hand, that the museum was given a lesson. That's how 'Female
Extension' came about.

At the start I intended to make all the web sites manually, using
copy and paste, because I was not capable of programming them. The
programming happened more by chance through an artist friend of mine. I
was very happy with the results; the automatic generated pages looked
very artistic. The jury was definitely taken in by it, although none of
my female artists won a prize. Through 'Female Extension' and the social
hack I got caught up in the idea to conceptualize the generators in even
more detail. Three versions have now been around for some time now: one,
which works with images, one which combines images and texts in layers on
top of each other, and one that is a variation of the 'Dada Engine'. This
one is specialized in texts and invents wonderful word combinations,
sometimes even with elements from different languages. Two more are in
development for particular applications.

FC: There is a corresponding simultaneity that can be perceived in
various aesthetical processes in your new work 'Improvised Tele-vision'.
You are referring to Schöneberg's piece 'Verklärte Nacht'. It was recoded
by Nam June Paik, who let the record run at a quarter of its normal speed,
and then its recoding by Dieter Roth, who restored Schönberg's music to
it original tempo by speeding up Paik's version.  Then you join in, by
building a platform for the 'ultimate intervention', upon which the user
can decide which tempo to choose.  That immediately reminded me of the
literary theory of Harold Bloom, his so-called influence theory, according
to which history of literature is the product of famous writers, who each
in turn adopts to his/her predecessor as an oedipal super-ego (laughter)
... and who then again manages to free him-/herself from the predecessor.

CS: Oh really? The sub-title for 'Improvised Tele-vision' originally was
'apparent oedipal fixation', which I then discarded again. (laughter)
And it was the 'apparent' which was important to me.

FC: That is what I assumed. There are - from my point of view - these
tremendous artists, like Schönberg, Paik and Roth, who take each other
down from the pedestal in order to put themselves on that very pedestal.

CS: Exactly. [Laughter.] By the way I've heard a similar theory in art
history from Isabelle Graw, who apllied it in a lecture about Cosima
von Bonin to talk generally about female artists.

FC: ...and clearly your work also uses it, but in a playful way. You wrote
that you would leave open the speed at which the piece can be played.

CS: Yes, with the exception of the original speed, which cannot be played
on my platform.

FC: ...with the exception of the original speed. You nevertheless write:
"The decision is to be made by the user/listener and not by the composer,
or an intervening artist". But you nevertheless set massive limits,
for example by not allowing a one to one recording to be heard.

CS: Whoever wants to hear the original can get hold of it without any
problems. For me what is interesting is the fact that the three artists
who worked on the piece before me wanted to determine the one and only
tempo possible. That is a gesture which I bypass by offering a tool by
which the piece can be played at completely arbitrary speeds.

FC: Isn't the contextualisation with Schönberg, Paik, Roth already a
defining feature? And also the decision to pack all four interventions
into one room, as you did in the case of the installation, which forms
the second part of the work?

CS: Yes of course! My rhetoric about the ultimate intervention which is
made possible through the internet, such as participation, interactivity
and self-definition etc. is really a pure piece of irony! (laughter)

FC: Yes, that was precisely my question. Whether you really take that
seriously or not!? Or whether that is just some naïve understanding
of interactivity.

CS: It is not naïve, but rather I am making fun of it. And I take my
assumptions and lead them through the installation to the point of ad
absurdum. On the four walls of the space there are portraits of the four
of us. They create the impression of being painted on canvas - but in
fact they are nothing more than Photoshop manipulated photos - which
were then actually printed onto canvas and stretched onto adjustable
wooden frames. Next to each one of them there's an artist's text which
refers to 'Verklärte Nacht'.

The sound you hear in the installation is a piece which I composed of
four tracks: the original by Schönberg, the slowed-down version by Paik
and the speede-up version of Roth, which is practically the original,
but not really because of the vinyl cracklings and the fact that the
speed is not quite the same and is therefore not synchronous, and can only
ever approximate the original. On the fourth track I play Roth's version
backwards. This is also a reference to Schönberg and his later composition
theory as well as twelve tone music, in which the melodic motives are
played as crabs and backwards as crabs returning. I was gobsmacked how
good the playing backwards worked together with 'Verklärte Nacht'. This
music has nothing to do with the web project, the ultimate intervention,
but is rather an additional variation of the composition. And I also found
the visual transformation of the portraits important; that makes it clear
again where I position myself and inscribe myself in the genealogy. I, as
a woman, as an essentially younger woman, accuse them of setting things,
whereas I leave everything open, moan about how they put themselves on
the pedestal and by doing so put myself on that very same pedestal.

FC: Precisely. But is that not the tragedy of every anti-oedipal
intervention, that it automatically - whether it wants to or not - becomes
inscribed in the oedipal logic again? That's what I see in this piece!

CS: If that is the case, then that's definitely tragic. Probably that's
the reason why I've made it into such a theme. I find the public's
reaction amusing, which was partly very aggressive. I received
such accusations as: "You don't want to be any different than they
are". (laughter) What it is actually about, however, is showing the
processes involved, how it functions. That I cannot extract myself
from it, if I want to be part of the system, is logical. And that is a
decision that I made. Nevertheless I want to know and reflect on what
the conditions are - in other words, I want to make that precisely my
theme. If it becomes intolerable, then I can always step back. But I lack
the belief that a real alternative is possible. As long as I manage to
handle this, like how I'm handling it now, then I find it acceptable. It
is a state of being simultaneously inside and outside.

Another example for this, which once again leads us back to the market
compatibility of net art, is the invitation of a five-star hotel to partly
decorate their interiors. Actually I was always fairly sure that I was
the last possible artist anyone would invite for such a task. But it did
interest me and I began to experiment with this. Fortunately I have the
net art generators which endlessly can produce for me, which meant I just
had to find a way to materialize the 'products' being created. I ended
up making prints on canvas or paper and frame everything. That's how I
create a series, series of images, and it is astonishing what actually
transpires. It is through the arranging however that I manage to tell
stories, which of course is massive manipulation. In that way I find
the idea of the rematerialization of net art interesting - by packing
it into accessible formats and then seeing what happens. I started by
being convinced that it was not actually possible. The whole episode
took place with a fair bit of raised eyebrows. However, I extended the
idea further at my first gallery exhibition that I recently had in Malmö
(Sweden). And it was overwhelming to see what the images were like and how
they were flushed out of the unconscious of the net and onto the surface.

FC: Is that still concept art?

CS: Yes, of course. At least for me it is. I have now offered the hotel
to let me do series for them. I insist that my images are hung in endless
rows in a long corridor (which for other artists definitely is not an
interesting place). And of course I hope to make a good deal on it:
first of all the money on offer is interesting. But over and above that,
this will be the first sale in the history of net art that is worth
mentioning! [laughter].

FC: That reminds me a little bit of Manzoni and his strategy in the
fifties to sell air in tin cans...

CS: Yes, whereby I don't sell air, rather real images (laughter). What
is interesting however is that there is no printing technology involved
which insures that the images remain in tact. They might well pale over
time. I sell them as products, though in a few years they could very well
be just white paper, which I also find an attractive thought. (laughter)

FC: And with that you once again have an oedipal reference to Dieter
Roth, who came up with the chocolate objects in the sixties and which
are now preserved by specialised restaurateurs.

CS: Yes, or the work with rubbish and mould. The ephemeral is a
very important aspect. And the example of the hotel is a successful
masterstroke for two reasons. One because I receive money, which is always
important, and two, because I set an example to the net art colleagues
who lease or sell their web sites for ridiculously cheap sums.

FC: I want to try to make the jump from here to cyberfeminism, which is
difficult... let's start with the key word 'strategy'...

C.S.: I can tell what the term 'Cyberfeminism' means to me or how I work
with it, and maybe in that way we can build a bridge.

FC: Perhaps I should begin like this: what always troubled me with the
term 'Cyberfeminism' was less the 'feminism' than the prefix 'cyber'. Does
that have to be?

CS: [laughter] That's amazing! If the feminism had troubled you I could
have related to that. (laughter) But you seem to be pc... (laughter). The
theme 'cyber': that is "what it is all about". I first heard about
Cyberfeminism rolling off the tongue of Geert Lovink, and I said to him:
what kind of nonsense is that? That was back then when everything went
'Cyber': 'Cybermoney' 'Cyberbody' etc.

FC: Yes, that's the point.

CS: I pigeonholed it together with all that and treated it like it was
utter nonsense. But the term lodged itself in the back of mind without


[continued in part 2]

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