L a
t e
s t

The documenta archiv to receive an important donation: The internationally unique performance art archive "Die Schwarze Lade / the Black Kit: Archive for Performance, Action and Intermedia Art" to be presented by documenta artist Boris Nieslony

D a t e s
& E v
e n t s

A Situated Archive of the Old Boys Network and its Discontents. Talk with Cornelia Sollfrank


Explorative Talk #1


Thursday, September 02, 2021, 5.00 pm


Venue: ruruHaus, Obere Königsstraße 43, 34117 Kassel, Germany


Admission free


Explorative talk with artist/researcher and pioneer of cyberfeminism Cornelia Sollfrank about the creation of an archive of the Old Boys Network (1997-2001).


obn_archive is a project of documenta studies at Kunsthochschule Kassel in collaboration with documenta archiv.


COVID-19 notice*

© documenta archiv / Foto: Nicolas Wefers

ruruHaus at Obere Königsstrasse 43

The documenta archiv is working on the project "Manual for the Dying" together with the team of ruangrupa, the artistic director of documenta fifteen, the curator Frederikke Hansen and the artistic editor Erick Beltran.


Being bestowed with the estate of a dying or departed artist or a disbanded artist group can be an overwhelming task, especially if the work has not been identified, registered, and archived in preparation of this ‘afterlife’ by either the artist or the support system surrounding the person, or collective. Other artists who know that they will die soon do not know how they can make their legacy available for future parties, because they find no interest and support while alive. Many of those who end up taking responsibility for the legacy are not equipped for the specialized tasks of locating, preserving, and making it accessible to the public.


Based on a collaboration with documenta archiv and a series of explorative talks and workshops on how to prepare for one’s death respectively caring for an estate, a publication shall serve as a practical guide for dying artists and the bereaved alike. The output of the manual could be a small book along with a podcast series, a series of booklets, or a classic handbook on the practical issues of (self-)archiving and legacy planning on the one hand and, on the other, discussions on interests and ethics of institutional and commercial stakeholders and researchers, decolonizing instead of patronizing approaches etc.


The artist Cornelia Sollfrank, will talk about the OBN archive and the plans for its processing, indexing and future storage during the Kassel museums week KW 35 at ruru-Haus, thus opening the series of explorative talks. Sollfrank is a pioneer of cyberfeminism in the 1990s, co-founder of OBN (Old Boys Network) in 1997 and participant in documenta 10 as part of Hybrid Workspace.

© Old Boys Network
© Old Boys Network
© Old Boys Network

The Old Boys Network described itself as “the first international cyberfeminist alliance.” Founded in 1997, the connecting element of the network was the term “cyberfeminism.” The formulated concern of the organization that was launchen at Hybrid WorkSpace at documenta x, was “to create spaces in which cyberfeminists can research, experiment, communicate and act. Such spaces include virtual ones such as the cyberfeminist server and the <oldboys> mailing list as well as temporary meetings such as workshops and international conferences. All the activities have the purpose of providing a contextualized presence for different artistic, theoretical and political formulations related to cyberfeminism. At times mysterious, at times transparent, OBN is setting an agenda for communication, intervention and production.” (www.obn.org)


A group of enthusiasts [https://obn-archive.multiplace.org/doku.php/background] is currently working on creating a living archive of this self-organization work, making it accessible for subsequent research, art and activism while facing the challenges of OBN’s collective and processual character. The desired goal is to create an open-source and multi-lingual archive of the cyberfeminist alliance, an infrastructure that allows for research on cyberfeminism, its spirit, its objectives and its expressions in theory, art and visual culture, as well as to understand, more broadly, the spirit of early internet culture. The guiding principles for the archiving process are based on a concept OBN itself proposed for its workings: “The mode is the message. The code is the collective.”


In a time where digital networked technologies have pervaded everyday lives in unexpected density, the renewed interest in early feminist criticism of technology shows OBN’s relevance as an important inspiration for the development of contemporary forms of power-critical approaches to technology.

*COVID-19 notice

Access to ruruHaus is possible only with proof of recovery, vaccination or current negative test, which is not older than 24 hours (3G rule).


The event takes place under consideration of currently valid hygiene guidelines. There is an obligation to cover the mouth and nose in the entire indoor area. The data of the visitors will be recorded in order to trace a possible chain of infection. The data protection regulation applies.