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With: Hochschule Esslingen

© Maike Sander

Esslingen am Neckar, Esslingen University

Cornelia Sollfrank: »Computer-aided Protest«

Digitalisation and social media have created a major turning point in the development of protest movements. The interaction of different media has made it possible for brand new forms of protest to emerge. They go beyond national borders and promote solidarity at a global level. Along with larger organisations, individual users can use these channels to protest and have a major impact on political outcomes. Liking and sharing posts creates sub-sections of the public who are in a position to determine media and political agendas. But this is only one part of the story. The new media are also being used to influence people's opinions through targeted manipulation and misinformation.

The artist Cornelia Sollfrank (PhD) used a range of formats to look at the topic of digital networked technologies from a gender perspective. »Computer-Aided Protest«, a documentary exhibition at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences, showed items from a campaign called »Purple Noise - UP!«, a technofeminist protest staged as an intervention in public space (online and offline).

This was being held from 28th – 30th September 2018 as part of the »Stadt der Frauen*« (City of Women) cultural festival in Esslingen. It used this small, local, feminist protest to examine the use of social bots and the practice of purchasing likes, retweets and comments.

As part of its General Studies programme, on 9th October 2018 Esslingen University also hosted a lecture/performance on »The Other Technology. Why technology is not neutral and who knows that.« The artist took a foray into Science and Technology Studies (STS), hoping to raise awareness of the naivety that we display in our daily dealings with technology.

The Artist

Cornelia Sollfrank (PhD) is an artist, researcher and university lecturer based in Berlin. Her work with and about digital media and internet culture features a number of recurring themes: different kinds of (political) organisation, authorship and intellectual property, gender and technofeminism. She is co-founder of the cyberfeminist collectives Frauen-und-technik, -Innen and Old Boys Network, and is currently working on a research project entitled Creating Commons at Zurich University of the Arts. Her new book »Die schönen Kriegerinnen. Technofeministische Praxis im 21. Jahrhundert« will be published imminently by transversal, Vienna.

Artist website

The Partner



Esslingen University
Kanalstraße 33
73728 Esslingen am Neckar


5–28 October 2018