Dr Francesca Franco

Job: Senior Research Fellow

Faculty: Technology

School/department: Leicester Media School

Research group(s): Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT)

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: n/a

E: ffranco@dmu.ac.uk

W: http://www.francescafranco.net

 

Personal profile

Francesca Franco is a researcher specialising in the history of art and technology.  She is Research Fellow at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester, where she is studying the Ernest Edmonds Archive of computational art material held at the Victoria & Albert Museum.  In 2009–10 she was Research Fellow on the AHRC funded project Computer Art and Technocultures (CAT) at Birkbeck, University of London, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.  She holds a PhD in the History of Art from Birkbeck (thesis title: Ars Ex Machina – The Missing History of New Media Art at the Venice Biennale, 1966–86).  Her most recent publications include The First Computer Art Show at the 1970 Venice Biennale.  An Experiment or Product of the Bourgeois Culture? in Relive: Media Art Histories, Cubitt and Thomas, editors, MIT Press (forthcoming); Exploring Intersections: Ernest Edmonds and his time-based generative art, Digital Creativity Journal (forthcoming); Shifts in the Curatorial Model of the Venice Biennale, 1895–1974, in Manifesta Journal 11, Amsterdam, 2011.  She has been on the editorial board of Computers and the History of Art (CHArt) since 2005.

Publications and outputs 

  • Evolving Installations: Shaping Space
    Evolving Installations: Shaping Space Edmonds, Ernest; Franco, Francesca Having been working on several projects together over the past nine years, the authors - an artist and a curator both specialised in computational and media art - discuss a range of issues that have arisen during the installation of Edmonds' generative interactive artwork Shaping Space in each of the six locations where it has been shown. The work arose in part from significant experiences by Edmonds in the work discussed in the chapters by Deborah Turbull Tilman and by the collaborators Matthew Connell and Lizzie. Muller. The installations of Shaping Space described range from its first at the Site Gallery in Sheffield, UK, (2012), a contemporary art space specialising in moving image, new media and performance, to its latest at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice (2017), a historical non-for profit institution that supports more traditional and current developments in contemporary art practice. Technical and aesthetic questions arose and pragmatics sometimes caused interesting unexpected innovation. What was the inspiration behind these works? Are they connected to each other, and if so, how? What were the major challenges in installing each iteration of the work? How did the different institutions involved in installing the work over the years approached and solved the technical issues around the installation? How did the various venues and surrounding environment influence the work?
  • Systems Theory, Systems Art and the Computer: Ernest Edmonds interviewed by Francesca Fanco
    Systems Theory, Systems Art and the Computer: Ernest Edmonds interviewed by Francesca Fanco Edmonds, Ernest; Franco, Francesca Ernest Edmonds has pioneered the field of computational art and contributed to the broader field of contemporary art from the late 1960s to the present. Francesca Franco is a Venetian-born art historian based in the UK whose research focuses on the history of art and technology. The central theme of her research is the history of art and technology and the pioneers of computer art. This interview with Edmonds, conducted by Franco in 2016, explores how Systems art, Systems Theory, and his personal relationships with artists such as Malcolm Hughes, Kenneth Martin and Edward Ihnatowicz influenced his art practice The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Documenting Art as Art: The Case of Notes (2000–ongoing) by British Artist Ernest Edmonds
    Documenting Art as Art: The Case of Notes (2000–ongoing) by British Artist Ernest Edmonds Franco, Francesca
  • Exploring creative intersections: Ernest Edmonds and his time-based generative art
    Exploring creative intersections: Ernest Edmonds and his time-based generative art Franco, Francesca
  • The First Computer Art Show at the 1970 Venice Biennale. An Experiment or Product of the Bourgeois Culture?
    The First Computer Art Show at the 1970 Venice Biennale. An Experiment or Product of the Bourgeois Culture? Franco, Francesca
  • Ernest Edmond's Experiments in Colour, Structure, Time and Space
    Ernest Edmond's Experiments in Colour, Structure, Time and Space Franco, Francesca
  • From Communications Game to Cities Tango
    From Communications Game to Cities Tango Edmonds, Ernest; Franco, Francesca
  • Shifts in the Curatorial Model of the Venice Biennale, 1895-1974
    Shifts in the Curatorial Model of the Venice Biennale, 1895-1974 Franco, Francesca
  • CAT 2010: Ideas Before Their Time: Connecting the Past and Present in Computer Art (eWIC)
    CAT 2010: Ideas Before Their Time: Connecting the Past and Present in Computer Art (eWIC) Franco, Francesca; Lambert, N.; Gardiner, J.

Click here to view a full listing of Francesca Franco's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

EDITED BOOKS: 

Ideas before their time – Connecting the past and present in computer art. Lambert, N., Gardiner, J., Franco, F. (Eds.), British Computer Society, London 2010.

BOOK CHAPTERS:

The First Computer Art Show at the 1970 Venice Biennale. An Experiment or Product of the Bourgeois Culture? in Relive: Media Art Histories, Cubitt and Thomas, editors, MIT Press (forthcoming)

REFEREED JOURNAL ARTICLES: 

“Shifts in the Curatorial Model of the Venice Biennale, 1895-1974”, in Manifesta Journal 11, Amsterdam, 2011.

CATALOGUE ESSAYS:

Franco, Francesca, Ernest Edmond's Experiments in Colour, Structure, Time and Space, in "Ernest Edmonds - Light Logic", exhibition catalogue, Site Gallery, Sheffield (17 November 2012-2 February 2013). 

ISBN 978-1-899926-38-1

Research interests/expertise

History of new media art, computer art, interactive art, generative art, algorithmic art, Venice Biennale.

Qualifications

  • PhD in History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London
  • MA in Digital Art History, Birkbeck, University of London

Courses taught

2007-2009, Birkbeck, University of London
Series of seminars on the critical approaches to the history of art based on Barthes’ Rethoric of the Image and Foucault’s This Is Not a Pipe.  The course was compulsory for students enrolled for the BA in History of Art (Year 2).

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Computers and the History of Art (CHArt – www.chart.ac.uk).  From 2005 to present.  Role: editorial board member (2005-) and conference organiser (2005-2011).
  • Computer Art Society (CAS), 2008-PRESENT, Member.
  • Association of Art Historians (AAH), 2008-2009, Member.
  • Courtauld Association, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 2006-PRESENT, Member.

Conference attendance

Re:Wire 2011 The Fourth International Conference on the Histories of Media, Arts, Science and Technology, Liverpool, October 2011.  Paper presented: "Venice, Art & Technology. The breaking of the Biennale’s curatorial model, 1968", author: Francesca Franco, attendance funded by IOCT, DMU.

ISEA 2011, Istanbul, September 2011.  Paper presented: "Computer Art vs. Computer Music. Different approaches to art & technology at the 1970 Venice Biennale", author: Francesca Franco, attendance funded by IOCT, DMU.

ISEA2010 Ruhr, Dortmund, August 2010.  Paper presented: “Computer art in the mainstream. How the Venice Biennale responded to the historisation of computer art in the 1980s”, author: Francesca Franco, attendance funded by AHRC, CAT Project.

Re:live 2009, The Third International Conference on the Histories of Media, Arts, Science and Technology, Melbourne, November 2009.  Paper presented: “The first computer art show at the 1970 Venice Biennale. An experiment or product of the bourgeois culture?”, author: Francesca Franco, attendance funded by AHRC, CAT Project.

The Politics of Identity Symposium, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen, June 2009.  Paper presented: “New Media, Art and Politics at the Venice Biennale.  The Legacy of 1968”, author: Francesca Franco, attendance funded by Birkbeck, University of London.

International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA), Singapore, July 2008.  Paper presented: “Art and Democracy at the Venice Biennale”, author: Francesca Franco, attendance funded by Birkbeck, University of London.

SocialEast Seminar, Jagellonian University, Krakow, April 2008.  Paper presented: “Political Radical Ideals and Commercial Indulgence at the Venice Biennale.  The Legacy of 1968”, author: Francesca Franco, attendance funded by Birkbeck, University of London.

Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, Tate Britain and Tate Modern, London, April 2008.  Paper presented: “Democratic Space and Urban Intervention.  Venice Biennale 1986-1990”, author: Francesca Franco, attendance funded by Birkbeck, University of London. 

Consultancy work

History of new media art, computer art, interactive art, generative art, algorithmic art, Venice Biennale.

Currently available

Externally funded research grants information

Computer Art and Technocultures (CAT), AHRC funded project, Birkbeck and the Victoria & Albert Museum (www.technocultures.com).  The project aimed at examining the development of computer-based art from the late 1970s to the 1990s.  Amongst the outcomes of this project were the organization of the CAT Symposium (London, Feb 2010), the publication of the book Ideas Before Their Time (BCS London 2010) and the presentation of the CAT panel at ISEA conference (Dortmund, Aug 2010).

Dates: May 2009- August 2010; role: Research Fellow; collaborators: Dr Nicholas Lambert (PI), Prof. Jeremy Gardiner, Douglas Dodds (V&A).

Visiting Research Fellowship, funded by the Kompetenzzentrum Digitale Kunst – compArt | Center of Excellence Digital Art – group at FB Mathematics & Computer Science, University of Bremen, Germany, directed by Frieder Nake.  Working under Prof. Frieder Nake on two Leonardo publications (MIT Press): one article as co-author, and one Leonardo Electronic Almanac’s History Special Issue as co-editor.  Contributing to the compArt database’s early computer art entries (http://dada.compart-bremen.de/).  Presenting a series of weekly seminars to post-graduate students on various topics related to the history of early computer art.  Final lecture on the role of computer art at the Venice Biennale in the 1970s.

Dates: September-November 2010; role: Visiting Research Fellow; collaborators: Prof. Frieder Nake (PI), Dr Jens Streck, Dr Susan Grabowski, Jörn Ketelsen.

Professional esteem indicators

CHArt – Computers and the History of Art (www.chart.ac.uk). From 2005 to present.  Role: editorial board member and reviewer (2005-), conference organiser (2005-2011).

SHAPES 1.0, The Shape of Things CONTEXT 2011 Conference, Karlsruhe, Germany, Funded by Spatial Cognition Research Center (SFB/TR 8, Universities of Bremen and Freiburg), and the International Association of Applied Ontology and its Applications (IAOA)
Role: programme committee member and reviewer.

Case studies

On 19th November 2012, I organised the Algorithmic Dimension Master class at Phoenix, Leicester. It was Phoenix’s fastest sold-out event since their opening.

 

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