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Generative Art Summit Berlin

“As a theorist, curator, and artist, Herbert W. Franke was a key figure in the early artistic use of computer technology. Since the 1950s, he has been a pioneer in exploring and shaping the interfaces between science, art, and science fiction. As a co-founder of Ars Electronica in particular, he continues to inspire creative minds and thinkers around the world. In his three main fields of activity – computer art, science fiction and cave research – Franke opened visionary worlds and new ways of thinking about the intertwining of technology and human existence. His knowledge of physics, mathematics, philosophy, and chemistry made him a polymath who broke down the boundaries between disciplines and explored new horizons. The NFTs that Franke still used for his Math Art bear witness to his engagement with generative art to the very end.

Perhaps it is the legacy of Herbert W. Franke to show the exciting fusion of science and art that opens a world of possibilities.

We are thrilled to be a part of the Generative Art Summit, which upholds his legacy and continues his vision of generative art as a group endeavor.”

Inspired by the works and working methods of our predecessors, Herbert W. Franke, Edmond Couchot, Frieder Nake, Peter Weibel, Vilém Flusser, Marvin Minsky, Paul Virilio, Joseph Weizenbaum – the great white men – we began our artistic production in the mid-1980s. We searched for our own forms of artistic expression and further developed the combination of art and science. From our background in collage and montage of images and architecture, we learn to use the computer. We create movement in virtual space as a walk-in movie. Between Zero and One shows generative pictorial spaces created through the manipulation of numerical data. Networked computers stand for interdisciplinary working methods of people in art and science. They lead to virtual spaces such as Berlin-Cyber City and Home of the Brain. We introduce interactive viewers to virtual image spaces. In Liquid Views and Rigid Waves, they reflect and rediscover their senses. Networked Data transforms the media art archive into an intelligent knowledge network of self-organizing knowledge maps and demonstrates the new public space of the Internet. Semantic Mapping shows the most important keywords of the daily press as an interactive language game in front of the Literaturhaus in Munich. The artistic expression of our work is the performative interface to the space of thought: what you get is what you have not seen before. Making the invisible visible in interactive image space.

Monika Fleischmann (*1950) and Wolfgang Strauss (*1951) are media artists whose multifaceted work at ART+COM, the Fraunhofer Institute and other research institutions has promoted the connection between art and science. While working together with Edouard Bannwart and Wolfgang Krueger at ART+COM in Berlin, Monika Fleischmann and Wolfgang Strauss had the privilege of meeting Herbert W. Franke personally and getting to know and appreciate his work.

Inspired by these visionaries, they have formed interdisciplinary teams, collaborating with the international community at places like Ars Electronica, Imagina, and Siggraph, including through their AI-based platform, while working in interdisciplinary research environments at the KHM Academy of Media Arts, the GMD Research Center for Information Technology, and the Fraunhofer AI Institute with their Media Arts ReSearch – the MARS Lab.

Fleischmann/Strauss’ concept of the “performative interface” transforms human-machine interaction from “what you see is what you get” to “what you get is what you haven’t seen yet”. The central theme of their projects is the motif of the playful “thinking space,” which encourages reflection on cognitive processes as an alternative to the dehumanization and isolation of digital environments. 

For their work “Home of the Brain” (1989), they received the Golden Nica for Interactive Art at the 1992 Prix Ars Electronica. In 2018, they received the ACM SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art, and Monika was inducted into the SIGGRAPH Academy.