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Honorary Doctorate for Herbert W. Franke

The doctoral committee of the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe has decided to confer an honorary doctorate on the scientist, computer artist and writer Herbert W. Franke for his extraordinary services in bridging science, philosophy and art. The ceremonial conferral of the honorary doctorate on Herbert W. Franke will take place during a public celebration on February 14, 2018 at 6 p.m. in the ZKM lecture hall.

On the occasion of the award, Prof. Dr. Siegfried Zielinski, Dean of the university, who has followed Franke’s life and work for many decades, emphasizes Franke’s “special merits as one of the most important pioneers of a scientific, artistic, intellectual, and poetic practice influenced, inspired, and even generated by computers and developed technologies of communication.”

The award also marks the presentation of the Herbert W. Franke Archive, which is currently under construction at the ZKM | Karlsruhe. The extensive archive, which has been created over many decades, is not only a unique treasure of the history of computer and media art, but also of speleology and science fiction – those three fields in which Franke was a pioneer and also cultivated numerous international contacts through his publishing activities. The archive, a first part of which Franke has already given to the ZKM as an estate, is currently being made accessible for research.

“As an artist and scientist, as a historian and pioneer, Franke is a Renaissance man who accomplished very early and very decisive achievements in many disciplines, from chemistry to electronic art. With his enormous power of imagination, Franke has always operated on the front lines of research – from science fiction literature to art, from physics to speleology. His signature is the freedom of utopia in the age of technical media.” (Peter Weibel, Artistic Director of the ZKM | Karlsruhe)

Margit Rosen, Head of the Knowledge Department, will also report on the development of the archive during the presentation. After the laudation by Prof. Zielinski, Herbert W. Franke will talk about his life under the title “Wanderer between the worlds”. Finally, Siegfried Zielinski and Peter Weibel will speak with the laureate in a panel discussion.

Report on the award of the honorary doctorate to Herbert W. Franke at the ZKM