Mert Akbal, born 1980 in Istanbul. I am a visual artist and academician working in fields of interactive digital art and animation. Since 2008 I am a teaching research fellow and Ph.D. candidate at the Media Art and Design Department of the Academy of Fine Arts Saar in Saarbruecken, Germany and since 2016 I am working as a resarch fellow in Berlin School of Mind and Brain at the Humboldt University of Berlin as well. Since 2015 I am also an associated Ph.D. candidate at the Graduiertenkolleg „European Dream Cultures“ of University of Saarland.

My artistic research focuses on “dreams”. I assume the dream experience in sleep as an artistic activity. The reconstruction of dream reality in waking reality and the transfer of dream elements into waking reality  is the main body of my research. My works are presented in scientific and artistic platforms such as the “Regional Conference of International Association for the Study of Dreams 2012” at the University of  Bern, the “International Forum on Psychomotoric, Performance and Interaction” in 2012 in Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, “Conference on Norbert Wiener in 21st Century” of Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) 2014 in Boston, USA and on the International Symposium on Electronic Arts 2016 in Hong Kong.

My works are shown in several other exhibitions and festivals like Max Ophuels Film Festival 2004 in Saarbruecken, at “State Art Exhibitions of Saarland” in 2008 and in 2013, at the National Theater of Bucharest in 2007, in Beijing Bienale 2010, in “Amber Art and Technology Festival 2012” in Istanbul and in 2013 in “Prix d’Art Robert Schuman”. I won also 2008 the luxembourgian Videoart Price “Octobre Rouge Mention Speciale”.

Beside my artistic research, I am developing educational projects at the intersection of art and technology, especially teaching free and libre open source software like Blender3D and Krita.

Chronological Vita

-1980 born in Istanbul

– living and working in Berlin, Saabruecken and Istanbul


– since 2008 research fellow in HBK Saar for animation and digital art.

– since 2016 research fellow at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University of Berlin.

Prizes & Scholarships

– 2008 Octobre Rouge Mansion Speciale, Esch-sur -Alzette, Luxembourg

– 2013 TANDEM Turkey Cultural Managers Exchange Program, Stiftung Mercator, European Cultural Foundation

– 2013 Nomination for “Prix d’Art Robert Schuman”

– 2015 Associated Ph.D. candidate at the Graduiertenkolleg „European Dream Cultures“ of University of Saarland


– 1992 – 2000 Istanbul Lisesi, german-turkish bilingual high-school

– 2000 – 2005 Academy of Fine Arts Saar in Saarbruecken, Diploma in Fine Arts

– since 2014 PhD candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts Saar in Saarbruecken

– since 2015 associated PhD candidate of Graduiertenkolleg European Dream Cultures at the University of Saarland

Exhibitions, Festivals, Performances

2003 Trier, „ Mit Pauken und Maltaschen ins Blaue „ Trier Staatstheater, Painting.

2004 Saarbrücken, Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis, Video.

2005 Stuttgart, „Kurzschluss“ erste nationale Workcamp und Ausstellung der deutschen Kunsthochschulen, Stuttgart, Germany, Installation.

2006 Saarbrücken, „Alltag und Tagtraum“ Malerei Ausstellung  in Galerie Gosz , Painting.

2007 Bucharest, Romania, „Puzzle Project“, Bucharest National Theater, Painting.

2007 Saarbrücken, “Das Inszinierte Fenster in der Nächtlichen Stadt” Licht und Videokunst in öffentlichem Raum, Installation.

2008 Belgrad, Serbien, Galerie SLU Akademie der Künste Belgrad, Painting.

2008 München, ”Gastspiele” Lothringer 13, Haus 45 – Kunstverein Domagk e.V, Installation.

2008 Istanbul, „the 1st International Roaming Biennial of Tehran“, Hafriyat Karakoy, Painting.

2008 Neunkirchen, „Landeskunstausstellung des Saarlandes“, Städtische Galerie Neunkirchen, Painting.

2009 Istanbul, „Lokale Illustratoren“, Galerie Mtaar, Painting.

2009 Holzgau, Tirol „Mythos und Heimat“, Installation.

2009 Saarbrücken, „Urban Bridges“, Künstler aus Belgrad und Istanbul in Saarbrücken, NN19, Painting.

2010 Peking, Biennale 2010 Peking, „Lass die visuelle Perzeption ausser Acht“ Caochangdi Galerie, Painting.

2011 Saarbrücken, “Ein Luftballon im Pavillion“, Galerie Besch, Painting.

2011 Saarbrücken, „Dogma“, Saarländisches Künstlerhaus, Installation.

2012 Trier, “Relique- Fetisch in Kirche, Kunst & Konsum”, TUFA, Installation.

2012 Bern, “Dream Connection, International Association for the Study of Dreams Conference“, Universität Bern, Installation & Presentation.

2012 Stuttgart, „International Forum for Psychomotoric / Performance / Interaction“, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Installation & Performance.

2012 Istanbul, “Paratactic Commons”, Amber’12 Exhibition, Beyoglu Municipality Youth Center, Installation.

2012 Saarbrücken, Avian Flight Simulator“, Saarländisches Künstlerhaus, Installation & Performance.

2013 Neunkirchen, „SaarArt – Landeskunstausstellung des Saarlandes“, Städtische Galerie Neunkirchen, Installation.

2013 Saarbrücken, “Kunstpreis Robert Schuman – Prix d’Art Robert Schuman”, Johanneskirche, Installation.

2014 Boston, IEEE Conference on Cybernetics, Norbert Wiener in 21st Century, Presentation.

2014 Izmir, ‘Dream Reproductions’, Input-Output, Presentation.

2015 Berlin, „I am a Ghost in Your Dream“, Berlin Apartment Project, Performance.

2016 Berlin, „Sit Behind my Eyes“, Transmediale 2016, Installation.

2016 Berlin & Mersin, “Anxious Borders”, Spacedigger, bi’bak.

2016 Hong Kong, ISEA 2016 „Reproduction of Dreams“, Presentation.

2016 Karlsruhe, ZKM “Real of Reality”, Presentation.


  • “Zoom 2004” Katalog, T-Systems, ISBN 3-9807878-6-9 2005
  • Akademie der Künste Stuttgart, “Kurzschluss” Katalog, 2005, ISBN 3-931485-80-3 2008
  • Stiftung Saarländischer Kulturbesitz, “Dein Land macht Kunst”Katalog, ISBN 3-932036-37-8 2012
  • ‘Acik Bilim’, turkish online science magazine (Open Science), “Rüyalar ve Video Oyunlari” (“Dreams and Video Games”),
  • 2013 Landeshauptstadt Saarbrücken, Kunstpreis Prix D’Art Robert Schuman Katalog.
  • Akbal, M., Zehle, S., & Schmitz, M. (2014). From Technomania to the School of Things. In Proceedings of the 2014 Workshops on Advances in Computer Entertainment Conference – ACE ’14 Workshops (pp. 1–8).
  • Schmitt, H., Kray, J., Schmitz, M., & Akbal, M. (2015). Training While Playing?: Enhancing Cognitive Control Through Digital Games. In Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (pp. 685–690).
  • Schmitz, M., Akbal, M., & Zehle, S. (2015). SpielRaum: Perspectives for Collaborative Play. Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, 427–432.
  • Schmitz, M., Fehringer, B. C. O. F., & Akbal, M. (2015). Expressing Emotions With Synthetic Affect Bursts. Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play – CHI PLAY ’15, 91–95.