News | December 28, 2022

Herbert W. Franke Archive Receives Digitization Boost

OÖ Landes-Kultur Gmbh Linz

Herbert W. Franke

The ZKM Center for Art and Media is receiving 20,000 euros from the 'art meets science - Herbert W. Franke Foundation' to digitize over 1,800 manuscripts by Herbert W. Franke, whose archive has been at the ZKM since 2017. The donation will enable the ZKM to make articles and unpublished lecture notes as well as concepts and idea sketches accessible online, thus providing the public and scholars with new insights into the world of thought of the physicist, artist, art theorist, science fiction author, and speleologist.

Herbert W. Franke, who died in July 2022 at the age of 95, as an art theorist and artist not only significantly influenced the early development of the computer art era, but also inspired the youngest generation of generative art. 80 artists accepted the invitation of the 'art meets science - Herbert W. Franke Foundation' to participate in the project 'Tribute to Herbert W. Franke', which was launched in September of this year.

60 of these artists published a variety of artistic formats on different blockchains and NFT platforms. Part of the proceeds from the sale went to the 'art meets science - Stiftung Herbert W. Franke' foundation, which uses them to support two projects: a project to promote computer science in schools in Namibia, which was launched together with the Rütgers Foundation, and the ZKM Karlsruhe project to digitize Herbert W. Franke's manuscripts.  

The ZKM Karlsruhe promotes digital art not only through artistic productions, exhibitions, and publications, but also by preserving and making its archives available to the public. The archive of Herbert W. Franke is part of a comprehensive archive holdings at the ZKM on the history of digital arts, which includes numerous archival estates, including those of Vladimir Bonačić, Hiroshi Kawano, Manfred Mohr, Frieder Nake, and Jeffrey Shaw. The digitization of the manuscripts is another important step in researching the beginnings of the digital arts.

"We are deeply grateful to the participating artist and the Foundation for their generous support," Peter Weibel, Scientific Artistic Director of the ZKM. "This donation will enable us not only to secure these important historical documents for the long term, but also to make them accessible to a worldwide audience via our online platforms. The commitment of the artists is a testament to the lasting legacy of Herbert W. Franke and the important role that personalities like him, who combined art and science, play for our culture."

'art meets science - Herbert W. Franke Foundation' was initiated by Herbert W. Franke and his wife Susanne Päch in spring 2022 and officially established in August 2022. The Herbert W. Franke Foundation promotes connections between art and science.