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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 60 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. The Tribute to Herbert W. Franke will launch on 30 September at 6 PM CET.

Kevin Abosch


Refik Anadol

Kim Asendorf

Justin Aversano

Loren Bednar

Ryan Bell

Christian Bök

Ana Maria Caballero

Jonathan Chomko

Jürgen Claus

Stefano Contiero

Sofia Crespo

Sterling Crispin

Jeff Davis

Brendan Dawes


Harm van den Dorpel

Figure31/Loucas Braconnier


Thomas Franke

Julien Gachadoat

John Gerrard


Eric de Giuli

Alexander Grasser

Hein Gravenhorst

Andreas Gysin

Benjamin & Heinrich Heidersberger

Leander Herzog

Karl Martin Holzhäuser

Gottfried Jäger

Aleksandra Jovanić

Mario Klingemann

Edgar Knoop

William Kolomyjec

Jan Robert Leegte

Lawrence Lek

Josef Linschinger

Anna Lucia

Jonas Lund

Maya Man

Tim Maxwell

Sarah Meyohas

Tomislav Mikulic

Vera Molnár

Frieder Nake



Aaron Penne


Casey Reas

Sarah Ridgley

Manuel Rossner

Sylvia Roubaud

Rafaël Rozendaal


Helena Sarin

Mechthild Schmidt Feist

Reiner Schneeberger

Marcel Schwittlick

Ix Shells

Travess Smalley


Sam Solooki

Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau

Marcelo Soria-Rodriguez

Anne Spalter

T. Michael Stephens

Sasha Stiles

Ivona Tau


Iskra Velitchkova


Derrick Woodham

Emily Xie


Harry Yeff & Trung Bao



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.


The NFT release schedule will be shared by mid-September on A percentage of the proceeds from the sales will be donated by each artist. The artists’ donations will be used by the art meet 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 | 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 | Ryan Bell | Ana Maria Caballero | Jeff Davis | Figure 31 | Mario Klingemann | William Kolomyjec | Anna Lucia | Operator | Phlins | Ivona Tau | Travess Smalley | Sasha Stiles | Yazid

14 OCTOBER | 6 PM CET | 12 PM ET | 9 AM PT
0xDeafbeef | Julien Gachadoat | Leander Herzog | Jonas Lund | P1xelboy | Sarah Ridgley | rudxane | Reiner Schneeberger | Snowfro

21 OCTOBER | 6 PM CET | 12 PM ET | 9 AM PT
Kevin Abosch | Kim Asendorf | Jonathan Chomko | Stefano Contiero | Sofia Crespo | Brendan Dawes | Eric de Giuli | Alexander Grasser | Maya Man | Manuel Rossner | Rafaël Rozendaal | Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau | Emily Xie