Back to the Future: The Potential of the Digital in Art-Then and Now

On the occasion of the opening of the exhibition HERBERT W. FRANKE–VISIONARY at the Francisco Carolinum Linz, the curators of the exhibition, Susanne Päch and Genoveva Rückert, discussed the potential of the digital in art together with artists who are visionaries in their time. The panel was moderated by author and curator Anika Meier.

Herbert W. Franke is a pioneer in many worlds, a border crosser between art and science, who made very early and decisive achievements in numerous disciplines. As a computer artist of the first hour, he first experimented with generative photography in 1952, but as early as 1954, he first used an analogue computer and then, from the 1960s onwards, the first computer systems for his abstract “algorithmic” art based on mathematical principles.

Rafaël Rozendaal, Photo by Shintaro Maki, Towada, Japan.

Rafaël Rozendaal is a pioneer of internet art, using the internet as his canvas and the screen as a painterly space. He was one of the first artists to sell websites as artworks to collectors.

In 2015, Kevin Abosch's photograph of a potato was sold for 1 million Euros, making it one of the most expensive photographs in the world. Since then, Abosch has been one of the thought leaders in the field of crypto art, using blockchain as a medium and addressing the question of values, for example, together with Ai Weiwei, the question of the value of human life.

Christa Sommerer has been shaping the art and cultural landscape in Austria and the international development of media art for more than 30 years. With her international exchange projects with university partners, she makes a strong contribution to the further development of the Ars Electronica environment both locally and internationally.

Rafaël Rozendaal, Trouble in Paradise at Kunsthal, Rotterdam, 2019. Photos by Job Janssen & Jan Adriaans.

Anika Meier: Good evening. Thank you to everyone for coming to celebrate the opening of Herbert W. Franke’s exhibition VISIONARY at Francisco Carolinum, the museum for photography and media art in Linz, the UNESCO city of media arts. Thank you to all the artists who made their way to Linz, to be with us tonight. Manuel Rossner from Berlin, Jan Robert Leegte from Amsterdam, Damjanski from New York, Mario Klingemann from Munich, and Cryptowiener from Vienna.

We'll speak about the development, history and reception of digital art. What were the beginnings of early computer art like? What prejudices did visionaries and pioneers face? To what extent has the reception of digital art changed, due to the hype surrounding NFTs? What does the future of digital art look like in the metaverse?

Susanne, Herbert and you have been living and working together for 40 years. Herbert has always been interested in discovering unexplored spaces, be it offline or online. How did he get started working with technology to create art?


Susanne Päch: Well, first of all, Herbert did not consider himself an artist at the beginning. He studied physics. As a physicist, you work with machines, you try to develop an understanding of physics, and therefore look for patterns. You put these patterns into a formalistic language, and that is the language of mathematics. Both apply to Herbert W. Franke, the physicist, and Herbert W. Franke, the artist.

How did he get into art? He wrote a doctoral thesis on electron optics, so he worked with light. It was then that he noticed, that the world of science is full of beauty, because many pictures made with machines are beautiful. Not all of them, of course, because it's not about taking beautiful pictures. But that was exactly what interested him: how are beautiful pictures created? What is behind aesthetics? And is it possible to find a mathematical language to explain, how aesthetics works? He approached art as a scientist.

MONDRIAN, 1979, HW Franke.

Anika Meier: When has the reception of his work changed by the art world and the public?

Susanne Päch: Oh, that took quite a while. Until now, Herbert and I had the impression, that most of the art world does not consider art what he has been creating for 60 years. As an artist, he was ignored for a long time. People did not care about what he was doing. Herbert always thought he would never be accepted as an artist in his lifetime. So it is very nice to see what is happening now: an exhibition in an art museum honors his work.

His first exhibition was shown at MAK Vienna (Museum for Applied Arts) in 1959. I still don’t know why this happened back then. It must have been an accident. The show was titled EXPERIMENTAL AESTHETICS. On view were generative photography as well as oscillograms, which had been designed with a self-built analog computer. Of course, no bigger newspaper was interested in this kind of work. Nevertheless, it was very important for the young artist, to be shown in a museum. Then he had to wait quite a long time for his next exhibition in a museum to happen.

In between, however, there were a few solo exhibitions in colleges and at universities. And then there was the exhibition WEGE ZUR COMPUTERKUNST, curated by Herbert, which was sent all over the world by the Goethe-Institut–to almost 200 cities, among them Bucharest, Beijing, and Sao Paolo. But the traditional art museums remained completely uninterested.

His second big exhibition was shown at ZKM Karlsruhe (Center for Art and Media) 2010. WANDERER BETWEEN THE WORLDS shed light on his multi-facetted and varied impact on subjects, ranging from science to art. He was presented as philosopher and sciencefiction author, as speleologist, symmetry and bionic research scientist, physicist and mathematician, as well as art scholar and pioneer of computer and machine-generated art.

And this is his third really big show, an exhibition about Herbert as an artist. He never thought it would come to the point where his work would be presented by a traditional museum.

Kevin Abosch, SUN SIGNALS #0005, 2021.

Anika Meier: That's also what a lot of his writing is about. In 1957, his book KUNST UND KONSTRUKTION was published in which he explains, that technology can be used to create new forms of art and that it is actually art. In 1978, he wrote in KUNST KONTRA TECHNIK?, that the art-technology problem has been discussed for several decades without being able to come up with a common denominator. He has always been trying to convince people that technology, in combination with a scientific approach, can be applied to create art.

Three weeks ago, Herbert joined Twitter. Together with Alfred Weidinger, I visited you. My first question for Herbert was, whether he is aware that for many digital artists working these days, he is an inspiration. They call him a legend. Herbert looked at me and said: “really?” I asked him to join Twitter, to see it for himself. He did. And went viral. Within 48 hours, he had 10.000 followers, and a couple of days later, 13.000. His first tweet, in which he introduced himself as a dinosaur of computer art, has more than 15.000 likes.

Susanne Päch: It is astonishing to see, how this community has been growing. At the beginning, in the 1960s, there were only a few artists, who were experimenting with computers to create art. For example, take Manfred Mohr and Vera Molnar. These artists
knew each other personally. Of course, they did not have email or Twitter. So they wrote each other letters and met at conferences and exhibitions. What is happening right now is amazing. There is a big community online, exchanging thoughts and ideas about digital art. That was impressive for Herbert to take notice of.

Anika Meier: Herbert was a visionary, and the community online is aware of his pioneering achievements.

Genoveva, together with Susanne, you curated the exhibition VISIONARY at the Francisco Carolinum. Can you please give us examples of some of his visionary ideas?

Genoveva Rückert: Herbert W. Franke is an impressive person, not only as a media artist. He is a visionary and a pioneer in many ways. When Susanne and I started working on the exhibition, we compiled a hit list of many of his first achievements.

1952 first generative photograph: LICHTFORMEN
1954 first analog computer art: OSZILLOGRAMME
1959 first exhibition MAK, Vienna
1960 first science fiction book : DER GRÜNE KOMET
1967 first digital computer plot: QUADRATE
1971 first book about computer artists: COMPUTER GRAPHICS – COMPUTER ART
1974 first color ink jet computer art: FARBRASTER
1974 first picture processing computer art: DIGITALE IMPRESSIONEN
1974 first computer film: ROTATIONEN/PROJEKTIONEN
1979 first science fiction Cyberspace-novel: SIRIUS TRANSIT
1979 first interactive dynamic pc program: MONDRIAN (image/sound)
2008 opening of the METAVERSE Z-GALAXY

We all have inkjet printers now, but Herbert W. Franke used it for artistic reasons. He was interested in working with machines and find out, in which ways they can be used to create images. For him, machines were partners in the creative process. And yes, he was early with this approach.

Kevin Abosch, 1111 #0004, 2021.

Anika Meier: Herbert W. Franke has always been early and one of the first. In 2008, before SECOND LIFE, together with Susanne Päch, he opened a three-dimensional exhibition area on the platform Active Worlds.

Georg, you are an art advisor and curator. As an expert in digital and especially generative art, what got you interested in Franke’s work?

Georg Bak: I started as a gallerist, and we worked with photography. We were interested in experimental and digital photography. When you look at the roots of where digital photography comes from, you very quickly stumble across the work of Gottfried Jäger and Herbert W. Franke.

Compared to other pioneers of computer art, you can always see a shift in the new technology, he was experimenting with. For Franke, it has always been about picking up the newest technology, whether it's the metaverse, Mathematica, or plotter drawings. With each new technology, his style changed. He built a whole universe. The future was his topic, as an artist, a science fiction author and a theorist.


Ausstellungsansicht, 'Visionär' Herbert W. Franke, Foto: OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH.

Anika Meier: Kevin, you are one of the thought leaders in the field of crypto art. You use the blockchain as a medium. It also took the public a few years, to get interested in NFTs and the blockchain. Let’s go back in time. Why did it take the art world and the public so long to seriously engage with generative art and digital art in general?

Kevin Abosch: I was asking myself, why it took so many decades for generative artists, and Herbert in particular, to reach the so-called traditional art world or the public. There was a disconnect. There was a division, it seemed, between generative and computer art and traditional methods. At first, I thought maybe it had something to do with it taking decades for us, to develop an intimacy with technology. We all run around with phones. We have computers. But soon I realized, no, it's not that, because, in fact, most people don't have any understanding of how these devices work anyway.

We must create emotional bridges. A lot of the academics, the artists themselves, the bold institutions back in the day that decided to show some of this work, and the curators, tended to intellectualize the art, which is perfectly fine. They looked at it scientifically. A lot of the discussions were easy to leave people feeling left out.

If you look at the work of Herbert and a handful of others, only a handful of others, you see the breadth of the work, the obsessive as we know, the scientific approach to exploring emergent technology, which not everybody did. While people may have had access to this technology, they weren't as prolific as Herbert has been. It has taken a long time to understand the emotional value of his work, which exists. So I think that's what we're dealing with here, is that divide. I think it was not doing justice to artists like Herbert, to deny this emotional conversation about the work.

Kevin Abosch, Yellow Lambo, 2018.

Anika Meier: The responses by artists, especially young artists, when Herbert joined Twitter were very emotional. They are impressed by the breadth of his work and by his early experiments with technology. A lot of his work looks like it could have been created yesterday.

Kevin Abosch: Time has brought us to a place where so many of the graphics, the compositions and the color schemes are now charged with a sense of nostalgia. So much of what his work gave birth to were the graphics, the ad campaigns and basically popular culture, that emerged out of it. I love this about time. You had work that was absolutely visionary and futuristic when it emerged. Then at some point, you could have looked at it and said, “It's passé.” Now you come back and realize, “well, it's retro, it's cool”. It's nostalgic, still visionary, and future-forward. You cannot deny the power of nostalgia. And the work itself is now in our DNA, whether we like it or not. It's embedded in our psyche. The cultural landscape is so full of the fruits he seeded.

Anika Meier: Since Herbert was experimenting with every new technology, he had basically done everything.

Kevin Abosch: As an artist, you certainly wouldn't want to inadvertently rip somebody off. It's almost impossible to create something using generative tools and not look like something Herbert has done. Herbert ruined it for everybody. He has done it all. Every shape, every composition, every color–he did the work. He didn't do it with a gimmicky filter or a preprogrammed tool, either. He built this stuff from scratch, from code up, and used tools in ways, they were not imagined to be used, before other people started doing the same.

Anika Meier: That's why everything looks so familiar when you look at generative art on Artblocks, for example.

Kevin Abosch: It's not the fault of young artists that they are not aware of everything, but they are becoming aware of it now. I encourage any artist in the room who does not have a sense of where they fit in that continuum of the tradition of making art, to take the time and look at the history of digital art.

Kevin Abosch, COLLAPSE, 2021.

Anika Meier: Rafaël, you are one of the pioneers of internet art, the internet is your canvas. How did you get started working as an artist on the internet? What has changed for you over the years?

Rafaël Rozendaal: Before I introduce myself, I wanted to quickly reply to the question of why computer art is being accepted only now. The art world was based on parties. It was always: “who do you meet at the party? Who do you hang out with at the party?” Nerds don't like parties. And so all these nerdy artists were making art, but they felt really bad at the parties. And now, all of a sudden, there's this distribution on the internet, and they can get away with being not really people-oriented.

This whole idea of galleries and biennials, where you have to be cool and meet the right people, that era is over. Now nerds can just make their work and spread it online. Maybe that answers the question of why we're seeing it grow now.

Anika Meier: Now it's enough being on Twitter.

Rafaël Rozendaal: The old idea of Jackson Pollock on a motorcycle and being drunk and fighting with other artists in the bar, that's a different era.

Anika Meier: How did you get started as an artist using the internet as your canvas?

Rafaël Rozendaal: What really got me started was the Dutch public TV. They had a website that was very experimental. They asked artists, “what can you do in the browser that you cannot do on TV?”. That was very inspiring to me. The Dutch broadcasting culture is kind of anti-commercial and experimental.

Classes in school were really important to me, and I felt intimidated at first. And then I learned that, oh, you really don't need to know everything to do something on the internet. You simply get started. The understanding that my browser window is the same browser window as a museum or Coca-Cola gave me the feeling ,that I could just do whatever I wanted and connect with an audience without any editor or anyone in between. That was very energizing to me.

Anika Meier: You are one of the first artists who was able to actually sell artworks as websites. What has changed for you through NFTs?

Rafaël Rozendaal: First, I used domain names, then the blockchain. I always thought of the internet as a medium-specific space for experiences. It is not documentation, you are looking at art. That is fundamental: this is not a website with photos of the work, this is the work. I always felt strongly, that there was a huge audience that might feel intimidated about going to museums or might not live near one. I always wanted everyone to feel welcome. That is the same for me on web 1, web 2, and web 3. It's really about giving everyone the option to participate. That's the ground emotion for me.

Anika Meier: That is also what the blockchain and NFTs make possible, when it comes to collecting art: participation. Pieces in your most recent drop cost 0.2 ETH, that’s about 500 USD.

Rafaël Rozendaal: This was, to me, the piece that was missing. On web 1, I displayed domain name work, but it was always for a high price. So there was a disconnect between the web audience and the collectors. Now, ownership and viewership are completely intertwined.

There are also downsides to tying the viewing of the work to the sale. I don't think that's ideal. Sometimes you should view a work without thinking about its value. But I do think that the ownership creates a more emotional connection for the audience to the work that wasn't there before.

Rafaël Rozendaal, Permanent Distraction at Site Gallery, Sheffield, 2021. Photos by Jules Lister.

Anika Meier: Susanne, speaking about audiences. Herbert co-founded the Ars Electronica in 1979. Since then people from all over the world travel to Linz, now the UNESCO city of media arts, to attend the world’s most important festival for digital art. What was his motivation to work on such a concept?

Susanne Päch: Technologies are at the heart of our modern society. Herbert, in contrast to most artists of the time, had the opinion, that technologies and machines of all kinds should not only be left to commerce or even the military, but that it was also important to examine them for their aesthetic potential. Together with Hannes Leopoldseder, he designed the concept of Ars Electronica, a forum in which this small group of avant-garde artists could also exchange ideas with the public about the possibilities of this art form, which was still quite unusual at the time with aspects such as dynamic images, interactive art or picture-musiccombinations.

Anika Meier: Christa, you live here in Linz for about 20 years. You are an artist yourself, and you teach, so you are very close to change. What has changed for you as an artist and for students when thinking about digital art?

Christa Sommerer: What is really important, when you're teaching at an art university, is that you make people aware of the history of the field you're working in. I have been teaching the history of media art for almost 20 years now. It's a must for our students to read Herbert W. Franke’s texts and reflect on them, to avoid the sudden realization that, oh my God, you know, something like this has been done. We appreciate our heroes, and of course, Herbert is a huge hero to everyone in this community.

When Laurent Mignonneau and myself started to do media art around 30 years ago, with a strong focus on interactive art, this was pretty much a small insider community, mostly gathering around Ars Electronica, Siggraph, ISEA and other international festivals and shows, that also had a strong academic connection.When I came to Linz, I think it was 17 years ago, there was no teaching of the history of media art at our art university. Now I see that these kinds of academic programs are spreading and this is a very good thing.

For example, at our department of Interface Cultures, a masters and PhD program, artists, students and scholars engage with media art history, interactive art, media archaeology, critical data, VR and MR applications, AI for artists, programming, dataism, post media practice, mobile interaction, audio visual interaction and robotic art, among others. Our students follow their own art practice and also reflect it within the field through their master or PhD thesis.

These days, NFTs are a hot topic. It’s important for young artists to understand, how to earn money with their art. That is not a bad thing. But it’s important to know about the history of digital art, in order to be able to make a significant contribution to the field and not just make something to earn money.

Phantastische Welten_Türme, 2001-2004, HW Franke.

Anika Meier: That brings us back to the topic of the art market. Georg, you started very early on as a gallerist selling computer art and generative art. What has changed through NFTs?

Georg Bak: There is a pre-NFT time and an after-NFT time. For galleries, it has always been quite tough. I think with generative photography, it was interesting to see, that when we showed it for the first time at art fairs, there were not so many people interested in that type of art, but the ones who were interested, were quite often very interesting collectors or museums. It was quite new to them. They discovered something new. I had to explain to everyone what “generative” means.

And with the NFTs, suddenly everything changed. There is now a lot of interest. All these NFT collectors—they're also interested in physical artworks. They are also starting to discover the whole history of digital art. There was always an interest there in digital art, but the market never took care of it.

Kevin Abosch: NFTs make a great delivery mechanism. It's a great delivery mechanism for natively digital work, for sure. But these stories you hear make NFTs, and suddenly you're rich... Here's a fact: Less than 1% of artists make more than $10,000 a year. Have NFTs changed this for some artists? Yes, for sure. There are people who didn't sell work before,that do now. But do you think that percentage of wealth has changed? No, it's still a fraction of one percent. I look around this room, and I see a couple of other artists, myself included. We are part of the fraction of a percent of people who actually make a living off this stuff. This isn't about discouraging people from making NFTs. It's just this gold rush, that the media would like you to believe exists. You know, take that with a grain of salt.

Rafaël Rozendaal: If you have a long view of history, maybe 200 years back, you'll see that we're moving to an information economy. The sector of people, who identify as artists or for whom the creative profession is a part of their lives, has grown in proportion to the population. The creative industry in its whole breadth is much bigger than 200 years ago. There were a couple of us at the court and a few artisans. Now, that has changed.

John Gerrard: The contemporary fine art world is heading into a crisis. When NFTs came in, everything changed. Suddenly, we can attach cultural value to digital things. I am amazed by the number of people collecting digital art and generative art on platforms like Artblocks, Feral File, and FX Hash. I am amazed at the amount of money they're spending. Digital art is being valued.

My question for the panel: Is the contemporary fine art world heading into a crisis at the same time, as the digital art world is coming into power, powered by this incredible assignation of value by NFTs?

Kevin Abosch: I have strong feelings about this. I don't want to sound like I'm upset about everything. Some of my peers like you would like to believe there's a revolution happening. Decentralization versus the establishment. The artists, that have some success... Sotheby's or Christie's wave a little, and they come running. And so they, get co-opted by the establishment. The same psychological levers, that are at play in any economy are at play again in this decentralized world.

I listened to a talk the other day, where people were talking about how gender equity was not going to be a problem anymore. It's inclusive and creative sovereignty and all these wonderful ideas. And yet, when money is in the mix, as it is, you can throw all that out the window. Unfortunately, at least that's what I've seen.

Fotoexperimente Bandformen, 1953-1954, HW Franke.

Anika Meier: Rafaël, I always wanted to ask you one question. There is a money bag right next to your name on Twitter. Why?

Rafaël Rozendaal: I always found it interesting, that in popular culture, for movie stars and musicians, it is okay to make money. It seems that in the art world, there Is this power struggle that collectors say, “oh, artists shouldn't make money, they make better work when they're poor”. And they make you feel like when they buy your work, you still owe them something: Oh, now you have to do this for me. Now you have to listen to me. I will protect you.

So there is this power imbalance. That dream was supposed to be outside of the economy. That dream is very pure. Saying, it's okay to make money. I don't have to be embarrassed.
To me, it's just a personal statement. I feel very liberated that I can make a drop outside of any platform and connect to an audience.

Anika Meier: Kevin, you entered the crypto space because one of your photographs sold for more than 1 million USD. The photograph of a potato.

Kevin Abosch: I have been engaging with the blockchain as a method since late 2012 or early 2013. As Herbert well knows, as technologies emerge, you have a new paint or brush, and you play with it, you see what you can do with it.

I had been interested in cryptography for years. When I sold that photograph, I felt commodified. I think it's fair to say, after a couple of years of the attention being on the monetary value of my work as opposed to its artistic value. And so it was a playful way of controlling that narrative: I tokenized myself on the blockchain in the same way one would
create a crypto token. I created 10 million virtual works of art. If they wanted to treat me like a commodity, I was going to facilitate that, just for fun, but I did want a meaningful connection to it. And the way I thought I could do that was also to create a physical component, not for shock value, but actually because it was the easiest way with my blood. I used the contract address that is generated when you deploy a contract to the blockchain. I know it's all very technical: I made a rubber stamp with my blood. I printed these on paper. This resulted in a number of works, including the very first NFTs, which were not associated with any visual or other media. They were just tokens, the tokens as art.

Kevin Abosch, Brute KYC Using Unconventional Methods, 2021.

Rafael Rozendaal: The question is already a statement. We are seeing a shift, that is similar to classical music. When recorded music happened, I think the earliest recordings were of poor quality. And I'm sure the people of the opera said, “music happens in the opera house with costumes and the director and the symphony orchestra to its fullest potential”. And the early music recordings were of poor quality, people said. Oh, that's not music, that's just a bad recording. And as time went on, those recordings got better and better. And they created their own venues, their own distribution. And now we know, that classical music is siloed in a certain area and recorded music changes culture.

So what I think we will see with the visual arts is, that young people will grow up being very connected to art, maybe not even buying it. And maybe as they grow, they'll start buying. But that's not even important. You will see kids growing up with the artists of their generation in a way that we just haven't seen yet.

It's the same as the transition from theater to film. When movies started, people said, “well, movies are never going to be as good as the theater”. And now we understand, that films and TV shows have more cultural impact than theater. Both will exist. Institutions will play a large role in exhibiting digital art, maybe not so much in collecting it. But empowering a much larger audience by being a part of art and growing up with it from a young age. That's something, that I think we're going to see. That's the real shift: the connection between the audience and the artist.

Christa Sommerer: What we see now is, that you don't even have to explain, why digital art is art. And some people even say, that the term digital art becomes obsolete as every art production can become hybrid and the digital will become part of almost any art practice. Digital art is becoming as valuable as any other art form. That's a very good trend.

Anika Meier: These are excellent closing words. Thank you to everyone for being with us tonight!

Panel: Back to the Future: The Potential in the Digital for Art–Then and Now.

Susanne Päch is a journalist and media expert. Among other things, she works as a consultant in the field of media and telecommunications. She worked as a freelance journalist for ten years and then founded the consulting company mce mediacomeurope GmbH, for which she performed journalistic tasks for Deutsche Telekom, among others, in the 1990s. In 2008, she founded her special interest channel HYPERRAUM.TV, which focuses on science and technology. She is a book author and editor of numerous publications. Since 1979, she has built up an extensive archive with Herbert W. Franke, the first part of which has already been donated to the ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien.

Genoveva Rückert is the curator for contemporary art at the OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH and responsible for the Artist in Residence Programme. Prior to this, she was curator for programme development, as well as for the development and mediation departments at the predecessor institutions OK since 2003 and at the OÖ Kulturquartierrquartier since 2011. Since 2005 she has been a lecturer for spatial theory at the Kunstuniversität Linz. She has curated numerous international exhibitions, including 20 years of Prix Ars Electronica winners, including media art pioneers such as Roy Ascott, Jeffrey Shaw, Jasia Reichhardt and Leonardo/ISAST, but also Lida Abdul, Roman Signer, Ryan Gander, Christina Lucas, etc, as well as many group exhibitions, including Höhenrausch and Sinnesrausch.

Kevin Abosch is a conceptual artist known for his work in photography, sculpture, installation, AI, blockchain and film. Abosch's work addresses the nature of identity and value by asking ontological questions and responding to sociological dilemmas. Abosch's work hasbeen exhibited around the world, often in public spaces including The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, The National Museum of China, The National Gallery of Ireland, Jeu de Paume (Paris), The Irish Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, TheBogotá Museum of Modern Art, ZKM (Centre for Art and Media) and Dublin Airport.

Rafaël Rozendaal is a Dutch-Brazilian visual artist who uses the internet as his canvas. He also creates installations, tapestries, lenticulars, books and lectures. Rozendaal's work has been exhibited all over the world: Times Square, Centre Pompidou, Whitney Museum, Valencia Biennial, Casa Franca Brasil Rio, Seoul Art Square, Stedelijk Museum.

Christa Sommerer is an internationally renowned media artist, researcher and pioneer of interactive art. She has worked at the IAMAS Academy in Gifu, Japan, ATR Research Labs in Kyoto, Japan, MIT CAVS in Cambridge US and NCSA in Champaign Urbana, IL, USA. In 2004, she co-founded the Interface Cultures Department in Linz, Austria with Laurent Mignonneau. Sommerer has held visiting professorships at CAFA Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing, Tsukuba University and Aalborg University, Denmark. Together with Laurent Mignonneau, she created around 40 interactive artworks that were shown in around 350 international exhibitions. They have received numerous awards, including the Austrian State Prize for Art in the media art category.

Georg Bak is an art consultant and curator specializing in digital art, NFTs and generative photography. Bak has worked in senior positions at Hauser & Wirth Zurich and London and as an art specialist at LGT Bank (CH) Fine Art Services. Bak advises institutions and collectors on the intersection of blockchain technology and art.

Anika Meier is an author and curator specializing in digital art. She writes a column for the German art magazine Kunstforum titled STATUS UPDATE about the developments around the topic of NFTs in the field of art.

Cover image: Laurent Mignonneau & Christa Sommerer, Portrait on the Fly (Herbert W. Franke), original plotter drawing, unique piece & 1AP, 50x50 cm, signed, framed, 2022, donated to and created in honor of Herbert W. Franke for his solo show VISIONARY at Francisco Carolinum Linz