The artist, physicist and science fiction author Herbert W. Franke is dead. He died on Saturday at the age of 95 with his family in Egling, Upper Bavaria (Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen district), a PR consultant said, citing the wife of the deceased. Born in Austria, the Franconian was considered a pioneer of computer art and a mastermind of the Metaverse, a digital space. In 1979 he co-founded the Ars Electronica festival in Linz.
“Dinosaurs of Computer Art”
His wife Susanne Päch spoke up after the death of her husband on his Twitter account. “Herbert liked to call himself the dinosaur of computer art,” she wrote in English. He died knowing that a community of artists and art enthusiasts deeply value his work and care about his art and legacy.
Franke also made it to the Venice Biennale in 1970 with a screen print. The work, created with a digital computer, was his first in which he allowed chance to work together with an algorithm, writes the PR consultant. Franke was also a member of the writers’ association PEN Germany and wrote science fiction works such as “The Green Comet” and “Center of the Milky Way”. He also had teaching assignments, including at the Ludwig Maximilian University and the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 2007, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Culture awarded him the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, 1st class.
The Francisco Carolinum Museum for Photography and Media Art, located in the Upper Austrian city of Linz, called Franke a universal genius and the forefather of media art. On the occasion of his 95th birthday on May 14, the museum dedicated an exhibition to him that only ended a few days ago.