Tribute to Herbert W. Franke


‘Involuntary Journeys’ – NFT at Artlabb

• SPS Meta – ArtLabb NFT exhibition

Fall 2022:

Involuntary Journeys as NFT and

Involuntary Journeys in the METAVERSE exhibition VR WSPark – Washington Square Park.

TreeTalk – Engaged Media: Lalbagh TreeStory (EVA22-London)

Thank you to EVA22/London for inviting me to speak + for posting everyone’s recording on YouTube.(July 8, 2022)

SPARKS Talk: Environmental Issues, Sustainability, Climate Change

Thank you to Pat Badani and Bonnie Mitchell from our Siggraph Digital Arts community for curating and moderating the SPARKS Talk on Environmental Issues, Sustainability, Climate Change. I was happy to present with fellow artists Aviva Rahmani, Carmen Gil Vrolijk, Victoria Vesna and Siddharth Ramakrishnan, Rejane Spitz, Leanne Elias, Julieta Aguilera, and Don Ritter. (March 26, 2021).

Follow this link to projects + recording!

‘Engaged Media’ meets ‘Art in Transit’

Despite Corona cutting into my Fulbright grant, the 14 weeks in India are still growing in my thoughts.
I am thankful to Arzu Mistry and Natasha Sharma from Srishti Art Institute and Art in Transit Bangalore for publishing the path to my project: ‘Engaged Media’ meets ‘Art in Transit’. (May 1, 2020). Read it here:

INDIA Blog 3 (Feb + March)

Scroll down to jump to any of the 5 pages:

  1. Mysore
  2. Fulbright Conference + Kerala Backwaters
  3. Lalbagh Garden and Metro
  4. TreeStory project
  5. Corona and Epilogue

My last batch of entries was a month ago. Since then, so much has happened, and I am afraid my current situation tints earlier days – I try not to + write in present tense (tense is alright!). So much happened around, before, after and in parallel to my research and project prep (which I get to at the end)

I start with a few small but beautiful interactions: Srishti has a system of ‘Master Classes’ or guest lectures. I already wrote about my first talk. This month I was invited to Vasanthi’s Film Art history class to present my work. Later I conducted 2 sessions with our class and a group interested in mapping and animating.

Then Petja and Elena from Ljubljana arrived as my new roommates for a 10-day workshop. We were instant soul mates. Elena’s art installations and Petja’s clothing line are beautiful environmentally conscious work. A side note of utter serendipity: what are the chances of Apsara, a friend of a friend in NY to equally live a few minutes from me in NY AND in Bangalore – AND is friends with Petja and Elena from Ljubljana? Love it!  Ok – next topic:


The 19th century opulent Mysore Palace

On a breather from my work + in search of Mughal architecture and temples I go on an overnight trip to Mysore, once a south-Indian capital. While the most famous monument is the opulent 19th century Mysore palace, my favorite was the late 18th century Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan outside Mysore in Srirangapatna. Unassuming from the outside, the green shades are hiding a treasure of paintings and carvings covering all outside walls. Beautiful arches open to a terrace and open courtyard. On the way back I reluctantly stopped at a bird sanctuary – and it was so beautiful, lush, and serene!

Tipu Sultan’s 18th cent Summer Palace. Architecture with grace + lace.

Curious, I followed up with a visit to Tipu’s Bangalore summer palace – but it pales in comparison.

INDIA Blog 2 (Jan-Feb)

CONTENT: You can jump to these 5 pages (links at bottom)

  • 1- Jaipur + Literature Festival
  • 2- Mughal Architecture + water preservation
  • 3- Barefoot College + Off-the-grid solar energy in Tilonia (if you only have 1 minute, jump to the women singing here!
  • 4- Many Barefoot College projects + a special birthday
  • 5- First weeks in February – closing in on a project


January 22 – 27   –  Jaipur Literature Festival

We have the afternoon, so Sammi (Bangalore), Mike (Delhi) and I go on a first excursion to City Palace. Behind thick walls is the most graceful, ornate and light Mughal architecture – now serving as a museum (We did not go see the private quarters). By night most of the 9 Fulbrighters had arrived in our AirBnB. So nice to put faces to the names.  The next days are a mix of Literature Festival + Visual culture/craft.

JLF – Jaipur Literature Festival

JLF – Jaipur Literature Festival starts with Indian music before sessions on literature, politics – and for me: Climate. Most panelists are Indian, giving me a chance to hear an Indian perspective on a number of topics. Over the weekend the festival swells to thousands cramming the venues, artisan craft bazaar, food stands. The Masala Chai is a favorite!

Food comes in natural, recyclable pressed-leaf bowls and bamboo spoons – no plastic!

I was surprised by the strong female voice in the Kashmir session, the charismatic Oxford mathematician in the AI + Creativity session – but underwhelmed by the Brit + Euro-centric session on Populism and Authoritarianism. The book tent was pleasantly overcrowded. The Art Book fair in the old city was an alt-event for beautiful self-published work and small galleries.

Two Climate sessions stood out for me:

THE UNINHABITABLE EARTH with David Wallace-Wells, John Lanchester, Marcus Moench and Navroz K. Dubash in conversation with Prem Jha had carefully placed urgent and pragmatic voices on the stage. I met David in NY after his Times article in 2017 + hope to invite him to NYU-SPS.

And on the final day: CLIMATE EMERGENCY with Dia Mirza, Renata Lok-Dessallien, Sonam Wangchuk, Apoorva Oza, Namita Waikar and Shubhangi Swarup in conversation with Samir Saran, Presented by United Nations India.

Sonam Wangchuk impressed me most with his crowdfunding and community initiatives. He left immediately – but the moderator connected us. I hope we get to speak while I am here in India. In the meantime, I delayed writing this blog because I am immersed in the beautiful language of another panelist: Latitudes of Longing  by Shubhangi Swarup, a lyrical novel connecting humans back to nature, water, animals and plants – and metaphysics. In fact, I am going back to the book right now. How pleasant research can be!

INDIA Blog 1 (Dec-Jan)

Rajasthan woman

As a Fulbright scholar I will spent 5 months in India – based at Srishti Institute of Art, Design + Technology. As part of my “Engaged Media” project, I will explore India-specific sustainability initiatives + the art/media methods used to convey them.

CONTENT: You can jump to these pages (links at bottom)

  • 1- Do you like my India?
  • 2- Auroville Sustainability projects.
  • 3- First weeks in Malleswaram + with Srishti + Fulbright colleagues

“Do you like my India?”

The woman who asked me with a bright smile seemed to have taken pity on me after I got yelled at profusely for a cultural misstep on my first day in India. Admiring the large Tamil temple in Chennai I had pointed my camera towards the interior of the main temple. I was too jet-lagged and un-nerved to think of a more beautiful reply and just said something like “I will find out – it is my first day”. I later wished I had said that SHE made my day beautiful. (Chennai, December 11, 2019)

Bangalore Initiation Rites

Bangalore traffic

Day 2 in India brought me to the sheltered grounds of a charming if aging resort in Velahanka, in the north of Bangalore near Srishti art school, my academic base as a Fulbright-Nehru scholar.

The next day I met Arzu, my art + faculty contact/collaborator, who introduced me to a large number of faculty, all very welcoming and curious about my project. When Arzu left for her ‘Art in Transit’ project in the city, I settled into my desk + started to figure out who to turn to for the many arrival logistics from housing to FRRO (foreigner) registration + Indian SIM card. Well – to make a long story short: hurdles all around. But in hindsight, they all got solved (maybe I indulge in a long “getting an Indian SIM story”). Well, since I can only move into my guest apartment room on Jan 6, I decided to spend the time looking at sustainability projects (+ breath fresh air, listen to birds, eat organic food) in Auroville, the experimental, spiritual community near the coast.

But first things first: I attended the Srishti “Radical City” conference Dean Pithamber had invited me to. I enjoyed 2 days of varying urban theories, political + philosophical voices on re-evaluating a livable and sustainable city. The conference was back-to-back with the thesis exhibits and student projects of the Nov-Dec ‘Interlude’ workshops. Among the excellent exhibits was a First Year Master’s exploration of a Bangalore neighborhood with conceptual designs of sustainability improvements. On Sunday I was surprised to find so many Srishti faculty and staff visiting the “Art in Transit” projects in several subway stations. My new colleague Manjari took me under her wings and offered me a ride into the city (a trying 1-hour stop+go, lane-weaving (what lane??) odyssey to cover a mere 23 km on pollution + car-choked throughways. This was my 3rd time in the city. – Twice before I met Arzu to see her work-in-progress, try for a SIM + explore her own leafy neighborhood.

Arzu at her team's mud+ water mural project
Arzu at her team’s mud+ water mural project at Cubbon Park Metro station

Well, the journey was worth it. Of the many projects I want to just mention the largest, Arzu’s + her Art-In-Transit class’s mural on a rediscovery of ancient water-harvesting techniques – all built from local mud (in distinct colors) with engaging graphic + typographic overlays. Find a thorough description here. (Bangalore December 12-22)

At ‘Art In Transit’ with my new colleagues Manjari and Arzu (right)

Selected Talks after 2011

2019         Involuntary Journeys. Interactive Storytelling on a Mapping Platform, ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Art), Gwangju, South Korea (June) > see also post on Home page

 2019           Shanghai maps of light + shadow. Zustandsbericht, Talk at Fudan University Shanghai, China (June) > see also post on Home page

2018         Engaged Media –Art Spaces to Art sites to Public Spaces, EVA Berlin, Germany (Nov) > see also post on Home page

2017         Engaged Media: Storytelling Project in a Greek Refugee Center, NYU SPS (Dec) > see also post on Home page

2015         Engaged Media – Building ethical awareness, Talk at Sound Image Data conference (SID), NYU, New York, (July) > see Home page

 2015         Die Bauhausbühne und ihr Bezug zum digitalen Raum. Schlemmers Stabtanz im digitalen  Kontext, Designforum Dessau: University Anhalt-Dessau/Bauhaus, Germany (April 29) > see Home page

 2015       (S-E Asia Series) “Engaged Media”, Artist Talk and Senior Student Meetup, Assumption University/School of    Communication Arts/Department of CGI, Bangkok, Thailand (March13)

                 “Engaged Media”, Artist Talk with Tamiko Thiel at Sàn Art Gallery, HCMC , Vietnam  (March 7)

         “Engaged Media”, Lecture, Interactions Lecture Series at the NTU School of Art, Design and    Media, Singapore. (Feb 4)

2014        DAAD Alumni Association USA, Presentation RISE Scholars, Heidelberg, Germany (July)

2013        Introduction + workshop Second Life, NYU Tisch ITP ‘summer camp’ (June 24 + 25)

2012        Interactive Technologies for Teaching and Learning. Faculty Resource Network, NYU (June 12)

2011Mirror Garden 3: Twist, Turns and the Myth of Flying, Sculpting and Building in Second Life (Installation and Workshop), ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Art ), Istanbul, Sabanci University, Turkey

Involuntary Journeys – Artist Talk at ISEA, S. Korea

Gwangju, South Korea, June 25, 2019. “Involuntary Journeys – Interactive Storytelling on a Mapping Platform Artist Talk at the ISEA2019 (International Symposium on Electronic Art)

‘Shanghai maps of light + shadow’, at Fudan University and Center for Jewish Studies

Shanghai, May 31 and June 5, 2019.

Demonstrating project research on Zhoushan Road at Fudan University.

At CJSS with (l to r): Consul A. Braverman (Israel), Consul M. Hallensleben (Germany), Prof. M. Schmidt Feist, Prof Dr. Pan Guang, J.Erling (correspondent DieWelt), M. Golth and B.Gerstl (Austrian Service Abroad)

As an NYU GRI fellow (Global Research Initiative) at NYU Shanghai, I was invited to a talk at Fudan University by Dr. Sakine Weikert and Dean Li to present the work-in-progress of ‘Shanghai maps of light + shadow’, an interactive mapping project on Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. For the same project I met with Professor Prof. Pan Guang, at the Center for Jewish Studies Shanghai (CJSS) at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

See also NYU articles:

Mechthild Schmidt Feist Clinical Professor, Department of Applied Undergraduate Studies, School of Professional Studies Faculty Fellows

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (May 27 – June 20, 2019)”

“DAUS Professor Mechthild Schmidt Feist Continues Her ‘Engaged Media’ Series” (Nov.14, 2019)

Involuntary Journeys – interactive maps + prints

Involuntary Journeys – Khairul, interrupted childhood

“Involuntary Journeys” traces the arduous paths of refugees I worked with on Lesbos. Part of an installation of dual projections of Google Earth paths and poetic overlays. Views of the enriched Google Earth story.

A blog with all stories, searchable by age + gender etc is on this Wix site:

Download the Google Earth path of the Rohingya Khairul here.

Download THIS .kmz file to follow the journey of a Syrian Painter ‘M’ from damascus. And watch under ‘Latest Project’ and ‘videos/engaged media’ on this site.

Update August 2020: I am happy to be part of the Siggraph digital arts show curated by Kathy Rae Huffman “Digital Power: Activism, Advocacy and the Influence of Women Online” – as everything this corona year online for all.

  • To come on August 13 2021: Siggraph Digital Arts panel curated by Kathy Rae Huffman on ‘Decoloniality’. Find it under ‘Digital Power’. It’s a live streaming event!

L.E.S.S. – Engaged Media at EVA Berlin (Nov 7-9)

L.E.S.S. will be at the  EVA (Electronic + Visual Arts) Conference Berlin 2018.


Th Nov 8 .: Installation+ Projection L.E.S.S.

Fr Nov 9. 4:20pm  ‘Engaged media – Building Ethical Awareness from Art spaces to Art sites to Public spaces.’

Kulturforum Berlin, Matthäikirchplatz 8, 10785 Berlin, WWW.EVA-BERLIN.DE

NEW GERMAN FILM IN NEW YORK: from the 60s to the 90s.

with Ingrid Scheib-Rothbart, Kathinka Dittrich van Weringh, Laurence Kardish. Moderated by Mechthild Schmidt Feist

March 28, 7:00pm Goethe-Institut New York, 30 Irving Place

The Goethe-Institut, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the DAAD Alumni Association are pleased to invite you to New German Film in New York: From the 60s to the 90s, an evening in honor of longtime Goethe-Institut film programmer and DAADAA 2018 Award for International Exchange recipient Ingrid Scheib-Rothbart. After World War II the newly established Goethe House New York emerged as a cultural mediator between a defeated Germany and the United States, starting a transatlantic cultural dialogue that would lead to a new mutual understanding. In the 1960s, the Goethe-Institut started introducing to New Yorkers a new generation of German filmmakers who sought to confront the country’s Nazi past and build a new civil society: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Volker Schlöndorff, Margarethe von Trotta, and Wim Wenders, to name just a few. To present these filmmakers to a wider audience, Scheib-Rothbart forged long-lasting ties with major New York cultural organizations including the Museum of Modern Art, the Jewish Museum, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Film Forum, Anthology Film Archives, local universities, and many others.   


7:00pm  Welcome and introductions by Georg Blochmann, Executive Director, Goethe-Institut New York; Benedikt Brisch, Director, DAAD North America; and Eric Haratsch, President DAADAA USA
7:15pm Conversation with Kathinka Dittrich van Weringh, former Program Director, Goethe-Institut New York; Laurence Kardish, former Senior Curator, Department of Film, Museum of Modern Art; and Ingrid Scheib-Rothbart. Moderated by Mechthild Schmidt Feist, New York University
Q&A session

8:30pm Reception

Engaged Media Project: Involuntary Journeys –

In July 2017 I set out to map their journeys with refugees stranded on Lesbos, using Google Earth in the best of cases – or paper when WiFi or media did not cooperate. I planned to add photos or related short notes at each station. Their stories became so much more:

My blog on the journeys, challenges, resilience – and hopes that are so very similar to your own. As one refugee wrote: Only Human.

You can access the Blog directly (+ check back as new stories get added):

or via its Facebook page:

‘Underdog will Fly’, electronic paintings shown on ACM Siggraph Digital Arts Community Members’ Reel conference

Schmidt Feist_Mechthild_Underdog will Fly-01-12 Shadows of our past_Be yourself

Underdog will Fly-01-12 Shadows of our past_Be yourself

‘Underdog will Fly’ is a series of electronic paintings on human suffering and resilience – in the midst of our media consumption. My paintings “Your Freedom- my luxury, Pietà” and “Next!, (aftermath) Sheltered – Skip this ad” were shown in: ACM Siggraph Digital Arts Community Members’ Reel at the ACM Siggraph conference , Los Angeles, July 30 – August 3, 2017, Chair and curator: Victoria Szabo, Duke University


The complete slide reel is on their site + on Vimeo.

L.E.S.S. video shown at ‘Faces’ Anniversary exhibit, Graz, Austria

L.E.S.S. (Less of Everything. Esthetics of Sharing + Sustainability)

A poetic motion design video on effects of our own consumption habits. It is part of a larger project that includes an installation, prints, and a facebook page.

The video is part of the exhibition:

FACES, WOMEN IN MEDIA. 20 YEARS OF INTERACTIONS CONNECTIONS AND COLLABORATIONS online community of women, working in art, gender and technology, group show curated by Kathy Rae Huffman and Eva Ursprung.


Exhibition: October 13 – November 5

L.E.S.S. print series shown at Festival in Maribor, Slovenia

L.E.S.S. (Less of Everything. Esthetics of Sharing + Sustainability)

The show will include a series of location-based prints on reducing my our own consumption habits, as well as the accompanying poetic video. It is part of a larger project that also includes an installation and a facebook page.


at: International Festival of Computer Arts (IFCA), Maribor , (Slovenia), October 6-18, 207, special program curated by Eva Ursprung and KathyRae Huffman

about (engl):

Article on “Lola” design, Deutscher Filmpreis

“Eine Statue für die Stars”, Gert Brichta, Badische Zeitung, Samstag, 29.7.2017, Titisee Neustadt

Article on my LOLA award statue design,–139947281.html

L.E.S.S. “Less of Everything – Esthetics of Sharing and Sustainability”


Less of Everything – Esthetics of Sharing and Sustainability

L.E.S.S. is an Art Project raising awareness of our depletion of Earth’s resources.

L.E.S.S. consumption starts with me,   L.E.S.S. attachment to my things

L.E.S.S. resources used,                           L.E.S.S. waste created

You can participate on the project facebook page and in the art show:

TAKE – Take an object from the pledge wall at the show – so we produce one less

GIVE – add an item to give away – so one less goes to a landfill

POST – post to spread the word

This project by Mechthild Schmidt Feist is part of the “Creative Climate Awards” show by the at the  Taipei Cultural Office, 1 E 42, NYC

Sept 27 –  Oct 27.

Watch the video HERE.

COP-cycle projection – part of climate art events ARTCOP 21>> NOW on DEC 11, 8pm

My COP-cycle projection is now part of ARTCOP 21.

Street projection on bike in NYC between Madison + Union Squares. COP- composite montr

YOU can participate on the COPcycle in Madison Square Park at the 25th street fountain. Event on  Dec 11, 8-9 pm. 

Cannot attend? See the animation on this site under ‘video’:

see fb event page   , #COPcycle and    artcop website

>>>#COPcycle  and  @artcop21 and ‪#‎artcop21‬

Machinima | Connect: Information Technology at NYU

Here is a link to a 2008 article I wrote on a machinima class in Second Life. We used to to location scout, build a castle interior, design costumes and masks, buy props for Excerpts of Macbeth. Turning avatar ‘babydolls’ into witches was fun!Machinima, Making movies in Second Life

Engaged Media – Talk on July 23, 10:30 AM at SID conference, NYU

  • 2015-07 SID conf Talk inviteThe “Engaged Media” Series continued at the S.I.D. (Sound, Image, Data) conference at NYU Steinhardt (35 W 4 St., #303) on Thursday July 23  (more under ‘Somewhere’ Tab)