Giving What You Don’t HaveCornelia Sollfrank


Interview videos




Giving What You Don’t Have (GWYDH) is an artistic research project exploring the relationship between art and the commons. On the basis of filmed interviews, GWYDH collects and presents statements from artists whose work contributes to the production and preservation of digital commons. ‘Artists’ in this context are cultural producers of various backgrounds; some of them collaborate with institutions, others are free-lance or create their own institutions. The resulting works are not artworks in the traditional sense, but rather are concerned with infrastructures such as platforms, archives, free software or digital tools. The projects may also be educational, as with independent schools, workshops for knowledge and skills transfer or simply handbooks. All projects are using conceptual and symbolic approaches to reflect complex copyright-critical attitudes and to thematize the changing relevance of knowledge and culture within the knowledge economy. In that sense, the projects are not just about the free circulation of knowledge and culture but also put it into practice in a performative way. The project is ongoing. The archive currently comprises of six videos including public library, graphic design, archive, piracy project, expanded appropriation, teleoommunisten ; two more are in planning.


Cornelia Sollfrank (PhD) is an artist, researcher and university lecturer, currently living in Berlin (Germany). He has studied painting at the Academy of Art in Munich and Fine Art at the University of the Arts Hamburg, and got her PhD from University of Dundee (UK).

Her means of expression include writing, performance, sound, video and (other) Internet-based formats. Recurring subjects in her artistic and academic work about digital cultures are authorship, self-organization, gender and techno-feminism. 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. The current artistic research project Giving What You Don’t Have brings together art projects that all contribute to the creating and maintenance of ‘digital commons.’ Her most recent performance À la recherche de l’information perdue is about gender stereotypes in the digital underground.