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Tribute to
Herbert W. Franke
In Honor of the Dinosaur of Computer Art
by art meets science – Foundation Herbert W. Franke

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Herbert W. Franke, a pioneer of computer art who anticipated the metaverse, passed away on July 16 at the age of 95. About 80 of the most renowned generative artists, photographers, poets, and virtual world builders working today were invited by art meets science – Foundation Herbert W. Franke to honor his life and work. 

Old Friends

Jürgen Claus
Memorial Solar Tower for Herbert

Thomas Franke
Keine Spur von Leben …

Heinrich Heidersberger
#3782_182b Rhythmogramm

Karl Martin Holzhäuser
Montage 7.2008 1/5

Josef Linschinger
SUDOKU 29 03 22 – Tribute to Herbert W. Franke

Tomislav Mikulic
Pixelated Homage

Sylvia Roubaud
Random Superposition and Explosion of Straight Lines

Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau
Portrait on the Fly (Herbert W. Franke)

T. Michael Stephens

New Friends

Kevin Abosch
Oscillogram (2022)

The Future Has Always Belonged to Him

Sofia Crespo
a fall of water, usually from a great height

Harm van den Dorpel
Mutant Garden Proto-Seeder ( #64)

Lawrence Lek
The Arrival – from the series Nepenthe Zone (Seoul Edition 2022)

Jonas Lund
The Impossibility of Representing Something Spherical Flat

Maya Man
Grid Worthy
Collect Now

Tim Maxwell
Followers, Leaders and Zeno’s Paradox

Sarah Meyohas
Liquid Speculations #23

Aaron Penne
Wonderfully Silent Conversations (w/HWF)

Helena Sarin
Großstadtlichter (Big City Lights)

Marcelo Soria-Rodriguez
Rectilinear and Curvilinear Paths Controlled by Sine Waves and Noise Colored in a Semi-Random Manner Over a Red Field of Pixels

The Longest Whistlegraph Ever (so far) w/ Media Archive

Harry Yeff & Trung Bao
Voice Gems: Herbert W. Franke


Herbert W. Franke (1927-2022) was a pivotal figure who bridged the gap between art and science. He was a scientist, science fiction author, curator, mathematician, physicist, and speleologist. In 1979, he co-founded Ars Electronica. Franke has been called “the most prominent German science fiction writer” by Die Zeit, and a “great storyteller” by the FAZ. As a literary writer, he was a pioneer of virtual worlds, beginning with the publication of his first collection of short stories entitled DER GRÜNE KOMET (Munich: Goldmann, 1960). 

As early as 1957, Franke demonstrated in his book ART AND CONSTRUCTION (Munich: Verlag F. Bruckmann) that technology “opens up new, entirely uncharted artistic territory.” In the course of more than 70 years, Franke consistently explored new terrain with the aid of analytical methods and machines, looking ahead to the future of digital art until he arrived in the metaverse as an artist and curator in the early 2000s. He began experimenting with generative photography in 1953, used an analogue computer in 1954, created his abstract algorithmic art on the first mainframe computers in the 1960s and 1970s, and began to write his own software on Apple II in 1980.

He was a pivotal figure in the development of digital art, which he helped to shape over the next few decades as a publicist and curator. At the Venice Biennale in 1970, he was represented with a silkscreen from his QUADRATE series, his first work created with a digital computer. QUADRATE was the result of the interplay between chance and algorithm.

From the beginning, Herbert W. Franke viewed mathematics, with its abstract world of formulas, as the essence of visual art. While he saw the artist as the analytical creator who uses mathematical methods to create forms and structures, he assigned the computer the task of modulating these principles of order through various random processes. Franke always viewed the computer as a partner. He was always searching for known or newly discovered mathematical principles that he could use in his artistic experiments. Opportunities and dangers in the field of tension between science and technology, society and the individual, were also at the center of his award-winning utopian novels and stories.


A percentage of the proceeds from the sales will be donated by each artist. The artists’ donations will be used by the art meets science – Foundation Herbert W. Franke for two earmarked projects. Herbert W. Franke’s archive has been housed at the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM Karlsruhe) since 2017. 20,000 EUR will be donated to the ZKM so that more than 1,800 manuscripts by Franke can be digitized and made accessible to the public. Together with the RÜTGERS Foundation, the Foundation Herbert W. Franke will also use the donations to support young people in Namibia to learn computer science and programming.


The artists mint the NFTs on their preferred blockchain and platform for the Tribute to Herbert W. Franke. They release 1/1s, editions, and generative art projects (on Art Blocks and fxhash).

30 SEPTEMBER | 6 PM CET | 12 PM ET | 9 AM PT
Loren Bednar | Christian Bök | Sterling Crispin | Fingacode | Gin | Aleksandra Jovanić | William Kolomyjec | Helena Sarin | Marcel Schwittlick | Sam Solooki | Anne Spalter | Iskra Velitchkova | Whistlegraph

7 OCTOBER | 6 PM CET | 12 PM ET | 9 AM PT
Justin Aversano (Auction) | Ryan Bell | Ana Maria Caballero | Jeff Davis | Figure31 | Mario Klingemann | William Kolomyjec | Lawrence Lek | Anna Lucia | Tim Maxwell | Phlins | Ivona Tau | Travess Smalley | Sasha Stiles | UBERMORGEN | Yazid | Zancan

14 OCTOBER | 6 PM CET | 12 PM ET | 9 AM PT
0xDeafbeef | Agoria | Julien Gachadoat | John Gerrard (15 October | 9 PM CEST) | Leander Herzog | Jonas Lund | P1xelboy | Aaron Penne | Casey Reas (15 October | 9 pm CEST) | Sarah Ridgley | Rudxane | Reiner Schneeberger | Snowfro (Auction) | Marcelo Soria-Rodríguez | Harry Yeff & Trung Bao |

21 OCTOBER | 6 PM CET | 12 PM ET | 9 AM PT
Kim Asendorf (22 October | 6 PM CET) | Jonathan Chomko | Stefano Contiero | CryptoWiener | Brendan Dawes | Harm van den Dorpel (Auction) | Eric de Giuli | Alexander Grasser | Andreas Gysin (22 October) | Jan Robert Leegte | Maya Man (22 October) | Operator | Manuel Rossner | Rafaël Rozendaal | Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau | Emily Xie