Herbert W. Franke

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Franke talking at the opening of Tranmediale 2010

Herbert W. Franke (14 May 1927 – 16 July 2022) was an Austrian scientist and writer. Die Zeit calls him "the most prominent German writing Science Fiction author". He is also one of the important early computer artists (and collectors), creating computer graphics and early digital art since the late 1950s. Franke was also active in the fields of future research as well as speleology. He used his pen name Sergius Both as this Avatar name in Active Worlds and Opensimulator grids. The Sergius Both Award is given for creative scripting in Immersionskunst by Stiftung Kunstinformatik, first time issued at Amerika Art 2022.


Franke was born in Vienna on 14 May 1927.[1] Franke studied physics, mathematics, chemistry, psychology and philosophy in Vienna. He received his doctorate in theoretical physics in 1950 by writing a dissertation about electron optics.

Since 1957, he worked as a freelance author. From 1973 to 1997 he held a lectureship in "Cybernetical Aesthetic" at Munich University (later computer graphics – computer art). In 1979, he co-founded Ars Electronica in Linz/Austria. In 1979 and 1980, he lectured in "introduction to perception psychology" at the Art & Design division of the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. Also in 1980 he became a selected member of the German PEN club.[2]

A collection of short stories titled "The Green Comet" was his first publication. In 1998, Franke attended a SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference in Orlando and was a juror at the "VideoMath Festival" Berlin.[3] He also took part in innumerable performances and presentations.

Franke died in Egling on 16 July 2022 at the age of 95.[4]


  • 1963 "Planet der Verlorenen" (Planet of the lost) as Sergius Both.[5]
  • 1964 The Magic of Molecules (Magie der Moleküle, 1958)
  • 1973 The Orchid Cage (Der Orchideenkäfig, 1961)
  • 1974 The Mind Net (Das Gedankennetz, 1961)
  • 1974 Zone Null (Zone Null, 1970)
  • 1979 Ypsilon minus (Ypsilon Minus, 1976)
  • 1971 Computer Graphics: Computer Art (Computergraphik – Computerkunst, 1971)
  • 2003 "Vorstoß in die Unterwelt – Abenteuer Höhlenforschung" (Approach to the Underworld – Adventure Cave Research) was published.
  • 2004 "Sphinx_2" released.
  • 2005 "Cyber City Süd" released.
  • 2006 "Auf der Spur des Engels" released.
  • 2007 "Flucht zum Mars" released.

Awards and honours[edit]

Museum collections and exhibitions[edit]


  1. ^ "SFE: Franke, Herbert W". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  2. ^ Wolf Lieser. Digital Art. Langenscheidt: h.f. ullmann. 2009. pp. 26, 29, 31–2, 38, 274
  3. ^ VideoMath festival jury page
  4. ^ "Zwischen Computer und Kunst: Herbert W. Franke ist tot". dpa. 17 July 2022. Retrieved 17 July 2022 – via Die Zeit.
  5. ^ "Summary Bibliography: Herbert W. Franke". www.isfdb.org. Retrieved 19 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). p. 1774. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Museum Abteiberg". museum-abteiberg.de (in German).
  8. ^ "Herbert W. Franke Archives". ZKM.
  9. ^ "Kunsthalle Bremen". Archived from the original on 26 February 2017.
  10. ^ l.carini@vam.ac.uk, Luca Carini. "Search | V&A Explore the Collections". Victoria and Albert Museum.

External links[edit]