art meets science ist ein Veranstaltungsprojekt zu Ehren des Physikers, Künstlers und Höhlenforschers Herbert W. Franke

Computergrafiken: Herbert W. Franke und Horst Helbig

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"Experimentelle Ästhetik" – Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna 1959

The fiftieth Anniversary of an Exhibition

In 1959, the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna opened the exhibition "Experimentelle Ästhetik". The exhibition presented pictures of a young physicist named Herbert W. Franke. The then 31 year old scientist and artist presented results of his artistic experiments using machines of different types to produce his visual art. The exhibition was shown afterwards in Zurich (Switzerland), Munich (Germany) and London (UK).

For the first time in the old continent, a recognized art museum presented a compilation of electronically generated visual art - a milestone in the progress of art. To mark this anniversary, we have reconstructed this exhibition on the website "art meets science" in honour of Herbert W. Franke’s life achievements. Here you can find the full art work of this exhibition in 1959 as a virtual tour on the web. The exhibition is organized into different categories describing the use of varying technical methods, experimentally tested in the framework of art by Franke.

"analogue graphics" – visual art produced with analogue computers

"light forms" – visual art by mechanical vibrations

"studies in 3D" – visual art showing time exposures of slowly moving wires

"Ultralight" – visual art originating by x-rays and similar frequencies

"Aerograms" – visual art with a special developed air brush method

Art work by Franke was also shown in the art festival "Nove Tendencije" in Zagreb 1969 as well in the Biennale in Venice 1970.

Today, Franke is known worldwide as a pioneer of computer art. His contribution has lasted more than fifty years now with important impulses to the scene.

He influenced the evolution of this new art section not only as an artist but also as a theorist and publicist. An exhibition arranged by Herbert W. Franke "Wege zur Computerkunst" was shown first time in 1970 und afterwards around the world in more than 160 places by the German "Goethe Institut". It was an art collection of 12 innovators and pioneers in the field of computer arts. Furthermore, he is a co-founder of the "ars electronica festival" in Linz, today one of the best known festivals for electronic arts worldwide.

Art Meets Science

Events in Honor of the 80th Birthday of Herbert W. Franke

Within the scope of the "art meets science" events on the occasion of his anniversary, Herbert W. Franke will conduct "Science Talks" with scientists of very different backgrounds - physicists, computer scientists, Artificial Intelligence experts, psychologists and philosophers - on topics such as the future of man or the origin of art, and discuss questions like "what does it mean to be a human being" or subjects as artificial intelligence, reality and cyberspace.

The events will also feature Mr. Franke reading and interpreting some of his utopian short stories with plots in line with the mentioned issues.

Subsequent to the "Science Talks", an exhibition of his works of computer art or a multimedia arts event are planned, as Kunsthalle Bremen (arts exhibition hall) for instance, has acquired Mr. Franke's collection of computer art. It has been gathered over fifty years and contains his own works as well as some of the works of nearly every recognized pioneer in computer art worldwide.

A selection from this internationally unique collection will be on display to the public for the first time, in a special exhibition at Kunsthalle Bremen in June 2007.

Also, Karlsruhe's ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (center for art and media technology) will show again his "Hommage à E.M.", a multimedia performance for a dancer and an interactive picture designer, first enacted in 1989.

Venues and topics

Berlin, Archenhold-Sternwarte:

"Mankind - accident, coincidence or purpose of nature?"

Bremen, Kunsthalle Bremen:

"The human being - an automaton: the self, the emotion and the art."

Karlsruhe, ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie:

"The universal roller coaster - within the net of illusion."

Dresden, T-Systems Multimedia Solutions:

"Man playing God - learning automata are advancing fast."

Vienna, Künstlerhaus Wien:

"Leonardo digital - art between logic and emotion."

Munich, Akademie der Bildenden Künste:

"God does play dice! Coincidence and necessity in universe."

World Premiere

Another highlight will be the world premiere of a puppet play in the Marionettentheater (string puppet theatre) in Bad Toelz (Southern Bavaria) in early summer 2007.

The play script by Herbert W. Franke "The Crystal Planet" will be staged by Albert Maly-Motta and Karl-Heinz Bille, who are both renowned artists of puppet making and puppeteering.

This will probably be not only the first puppet play whose plot is set in the future, but it will also combine for the first time traditional stage effects with the most advanced puppeteering technology.

Together with established animation techniques very special micro-animation and computer animation techniques will be applied.

Herbert W. Franke

Professor Herbert W. Franke has already started to generate works of art using computers in the Fifties. A physics PhD, he was fascinated by the possibilities of machine-supported graphical creation.

At the same time he gave much attention, right from the start, to aspects of information and reception theory that are relevant in the borderland of art and science.

This is how he made an important scientific contribution to the understanding of the aesthetic mechanisms.

In addition, Mr. Franke ranges among the most renowned German-speaking authors of utopian literature and has acquired great merits in the field of cave and karst exploration.




Gesellschaft für Computergrafik und Computerkunst e.V. Phantastische Bibliothek Wetzlar Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag mce GmbH Spektrum der Wissenschaft Josef Keller GmbH & Co. Verlags-KG

Statement zum 80. Geburtstag von Herbert W. Franke

Loren Means

Chefredakteur YLEM

"At this moment in time, the computer is being used to produce visual art that is as revolutionary as the visual art being produced by the Impressionists and after, and the art establishment is as far from appreciating and rewarding innovative work as it was at end of the Nineteenth Century. This is a tremendously exciting time to be a visual artist, and Herbert is one of the pioneers who made this possible."

Alan Sutcliffe

President "Computer Arts Society"

"Through his writings, scholarship and his own graphics, Herbert Franke has publicised, documented and so supported many throughout the world who have worked, and many more working now, in computer graphics and related areas.
His 1971 book Computer Graphics - Computer Art was a landmark, being the first to give a history of the topic with truly international coverage, and it did much to improve the standing and understanding of the validity and importance of the field: a revised and enlarged edition appeared in 1985."

Alle Statements