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Exhibition – Marionettes – Tribute News

Events and latest News from our two Tribute-Projects with ZKM and in Namibia

Overwiev of the public activities of art meets science – Foundation Herbert W. Franke in autumn 2023.

apple program Zentrum by Herbert W. Franke (1982)

Vernissage of the new exhibition at expanded art, together with computer art pioneer Lee Mulligan. This time Franke’s work, one of his first PC- codes, will be shown on several screens:  a dynamic, endlessly running abstract animation made of structural elements and random codes, written in 1982 for the apple II in Basic. Due to the random generator each endless loop is unique. The interplay of artistic design and randomness generated by the machine was a fundamental design theme of Franke’s digital programs. The exhibition runs until October 30.

Scene from Der Kristallplanet

In October and November we take off again to the crystal planet. The crew around Elena, Commander Spoerk and Collison will fly to an unknown planet with a crystalline surface structure in a multimedia expanded sdtage – in search of the spaceship of the long-lost astronaut Melanchton. What they don’t know: The characters’ adventurous journey on strings is closely followed by a secret government surveillance team. In this respect, the performance with the figurines on wires is also an allegory for the modern surveillance state. The Süddetutsche Zeitung wrote: “a fascinating journey into a dark, alien universe – and at the same time a daring mental experiment: is intelligence bound to us humans or can it exist on its own, in crystalline form, timeless, peaceful and meaningful?”

The two projects of manuscript digitization and for the support of computer science and robotics education in Africa were made possible by donations, which the foundation realized together with Anika Meier and 80 invited, world-renowned crypto and computer artists as part of the large Tribute Project 2022.

Herbert W. Franke and Felix Mittelberger working in the archive 2017

At the beginning of October, the gradual publication of the manuscripts of the Herbert W. Franke Archive at the ZKM is going to begin. The first manuscripts, already more than 2000, have been digitalized and scientifically archived. In a follow-up project, the manuscripts are to be brought together with the associated publications and made publicly accessible in their entirety in the ZKM Archive’s online index. At the same time, the foundation has begun translating selected, particularly relevant articles into English. Foundation founder Susanne Päch: “The publication of the database is an important step in making Herbert W. Franke’s extensive work as a publicist accessible.” It includes non-fiction texts on media art and art theoretical considerations as well as articles for art and computer magazines on algorithmic art. Contributions to the role of futurology and science fiction in society can be found as well as popular non-fiction texts on topics in science and technology. Finally, there are contributions on cave exploration and Franke’s expeditions, as well as various unpublished concepts. In addition, some biographical texts shed light on how the author and artist himself sees the connection between the three worlds he worked with – art, science fiction, cave exploration – at different stages of his life. Felix Mittelberger, responsible for the archive at the ZKM: “We are pleased that with this database an essential part of the extensive Herbert W. Franke archive will now be accessible digitally and online. This provides researchers with a large reservoir of materials relevant to answering questions about the history of art and literature, and will also provide impulses for historical cave research.“

The second Tribute project, which supports pupils in Namibia with IT and robotics lessons and is realized together with the Rütgers Foundation, also has news to report. More Lego robotics boxes are on the way for our operating pilot school in Walvis Bay. There, the computer club is working with interested students from several classes under the leadership of Namibian math teacher Jesaya Sakarias to develop a suitable lesson plan for robotics instruction. In autumn, discussions will begin on how other schools in Namibia can be included in the project.

Additionally,  the Foundation can report on the newly concluded cooperation with Tangeni Shilongo Namibia in Swakopmund. As of January 2024, we will support the school area of the OPEN DOORS Education Centre (ODEC), a project of this association. The non-profit association has been designing and building educational programs for children and youth in Namibia since 2015. This new facility is currently in the completion phase of a building which will house a kindergarten, preschool, and state-approved classes for the 1st to 3rd grade with 25 children each, starting from January 2024. The complex also includes an IT center, a Library, and a homework tutoring. Hot, nutritious school meals will be served twice a day. The facility will be available to children and young people free of charge and a minimum of 250 children and young people are expected to attend daily. Thanks to the support of the Foundation, the teaching staff will gain an IT- teacher. This will firmly anchor the computer science course in the students’ curriculum. In addition there will also be computer science courses for young people and adults who are interested. The primary target group of all offers is the residential area DRC (Democratic Resettlement Community), a region with around 40,000 inhabitants living in the most basic housing conditions, as well as adjacent neighborhoods.

Founder of art meets science,  Susanne Päch: “We are very pleased, that, in addition to other schools in Namibia, the tribute donations will now be used to support the educational center of the association Tangeni Shilongo Namibia. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the artists who made it possible for us to make this contribution to education in Namibia together with the Ruetgers Foundation.” The founder of the Tangeni Shilongo Namibia Association, Volkan Sazli, adds: “It was a wonderful twist of fate that just at the time we were looking for a sponsor for the employment of a computer science teacher, we came into contact with the Herbert W. Franke Foundation. In the spirit of the foundation, these classes will make it possible to teach our youth important IT- knowledge to grapple tasks of the future in the country.”