The net.art generator is a computer program that collects and recombines material from the internet to create new images. In the course of the 20 years of its existence, it not only became a classic of net.art, but alongside the images, also generated a number of discourses – not the least in the context of copyright and open source. Its most recent disruption has been related to a change in search engine politics. Relying on a Google interface, the program cannot do its job properly anymore and has to permanently frustrate its users, since the giant requires payment for its services.
The inventor of the net.art generator, Cornelia Sollfrank, engages in a dialogue with the programmer, artist and researcher Winnie Soon to discuss the question of “what is to be done?”. They take us on a journey into the eventful past of the project, they descend into the level of computer code exploring the value of the breaking points, and speculate on a less evil future.
Once more, the net.art generator lives up to its reputation! It is a playful tool to create fancy images, but, beyond that, it remains a conceptual tool that helps to comprehend the complexity of post-digital culture by revealing some of the hidden and invisible structures that make our daily lives work, especially when they break down.
Published with the support of Aarhus University Research Foundation