Herbert W. Franke
Herbert W. Franke is a physicist, science fiction writer, artist, curator, author of theoretical books and essays, and speleologist (cave researcher). Of interest in the current context are his contributions to digital art. He started this work in the mid-1950s when he used oscilloscope and camera to generate patterns of groups of continuous lines (“analog” graphics). He first exhibited these in 1956, only a few years after Ben F. Laposky had experimented in a similar way.
Soon after first algorithmicly generated graphics had been exhibited in galleries in Stuttgart and New York (in 1965), Franke became interested in digital technology. He published the first comprehensive history of computer art in 1971 (_Computergrafik_ – Computerkunst. München: Bruckmann, later by Springer Verlag, there also an English translation). Franke has written innumerable essays on computer art and related subjects. He has organized numerous exhibitions, and lectured worldwide on the subject. Since the early 1970s, he has contributed a comprehensive work of digital art. Some of his programs were written in collaboration with others.
Franke’s oeuvre finds its place in the cross-over of scientific and artistic methods. His two collections of works found their new home at Kunsthalle Bremen.
1945-50 Franke studies physics, mathematics, chemistry, psychology and philosophy at the University of Vienna
1950 DPhil. in Physics from the University of Vienna.
Commissioned research in electrical engineering (?) at the Technical University of Vienna.
1952-57 Works for Siemens AG in Erlangen. Begins to practice experimental photography.
1955-56 Analog pendular oscillogrammes, a pioneering achievement.
Since 1956 Freelance author of science fiction novels, and in other fields of writing; German Science Fiction Award in 1985 and 1991.
1961-62 Continues work on analog electronic graphics: film production Tanz der Elektronen.
1962 Starts work on experimental aesthetics.
From 1965 Temporary teaching jobs, since 1968 primarily on cybernetic aesthetics and computer art: in 1965 at the International College in Alpbach/Tirol (Austria), 1968/69 at the University of Frankfurt am Main, 1973-97 at the University of Munich, 1979/80 at the Polytechnic in Bielefeld, 1984-98 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.
1969 First plotter drawings, in collaboration with Siemens research laboratory in Munich. His first digital graphics are KAES (_Kurven aesthetisch_).
1970 Participates in the experimental exhibition at the 35th Biennale di Venezia, alongside artists Frieder Nake and Georg Nees.
1971 Book Computergrafik – Computerkunst (_Computer Graphics – Computer Art_), a first comprehensive history of computer art.
1972 A series of Einstein portraits are early examples of Picture Processing.
1978 President of the artistic council of the Gesellschaft für Computergrafik und Computerkunst e.V., founded in Munich in 1978.
1979 Co-founder of Festival Ars Electronica in Linz (Austria).
1980 Title of a professor from the Austrian Ministry of Education and Art.
1987 Computer Art Award of the Association of German Software Producers.
1992 Karl Theodor Vogel Prize for Journalism in Technology.
1993 Co-founder of the Media Laboratory in Munich.
2002 Dr.-Benno-Wolf Prize for his achievements in the field of speleology.
2008 Honoring him at the time of his 80th birthday, exhibitions, panel discussions, talks in various places in Germany and Austria.
Herbert W. Franke lives and works in Puppling near Munich (Germany).
[source: Herzogenrath & Nierhoff-Wielk 2007: 336-338]
More photos: www.art-meets-science.info/presse
TV report: www.hyperraum.tv/2009/12/13/das-making-of-eines-marionettenspiels