I am a visual media artist and researcher in cognitive sciences. I have been working in academia (media arts, computer science and cognitive sciences), teaching, researching, developing and conducting experiments.

The work presented here is founded on my „cognitive art theory“, propagating that every piece of visual art is experienced consciousness in its visible form.

My artistic works are presented in many international platforms, such as at the International Symposium on Electronic Arts in Hong Kong 2016  and in  Durban 2018 (South Africa), at the  ZKM, Center of Art and Media, in Karlsruhe, Mirage Digital Art Festival, in Lyon in 2018, Recto VRso Festival, at the Musée-École de la Perrine in Laval, France in 2021, re:publica 2021, and LASER Garden at Ars Electronica 2021. My works are now owned by  collectors and museum collections, such as Stiftung Saarländischer Kulturbesitz, the state art museum of Saarland.

Since 2012, I have been researching dreams and their connections to the visual arts. Visual arts and dreams are visual expressions. They map visual models of phenomenal consciousness. They help us in how we experience and perceive the world and also our own bodies. Fiction and fantasy in art and dreams also have simulation functions. Both reflect and document our experiences. Through dreams and art, we can think visually, ask questions, and solve problems. This process we can call cognitive art.

Animated paintings are created in the context of cognitive art from hand-drawn or computer-generated image sequences. They are presented in a continuous loop. The duration of the loop is as short as a long breath, usually less than 7 seconds. Within this short time frame, perception focuses on the totality of the animated images and captures as if they were layers of a static painting laid on top of each other. Over the last 20 years I have produced hundreds of such animated paintings. These have been presented either as individual pieces in exhibitions or online media, or compiled as short films.

I experiment with digital tools. I unconventionally release digital production, and experiment with surrealist and expressionist techniques, for example automatic drawing or action painting. Digital software have numerous parameters for image creation and editing. These parameters mainly achieve to create realistic scenes. However, it is also possible to play with this multitude of parameters to create images that the software is not actually intended for. This approach is, of course, widely used in an avant-garde way by many contemporary digital artists.

Mert Akbal

2005 Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar, Diplom-Malerei SAARBRÜCKEN (DE)
Professional Academic Experience / Akademische Berufserfahrung
2008 – aktuell Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar, Studiengang Media Art & Design/ academic researcher, SAARBRÜCKEN (DE)
2016 – 2019 Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften,
Abteilung Neurologie / academic researcher, LEIPZIG-BERLIN (DE)
Awards, Scholarships & Nominations / Preise, Stipendien & Nominierungen
2008 Octobre Rouge CIGL Video Art Prize / Mention Speciale, ESCH-SUR ALZETTE (LU)
2013 Prix D’Art Robert Schuman / Nominierung, SAARBRÜCKEN (DE)
2013 – 2014 TANDEM Cultural Managers Exchange Program / Stipendium,
European Cultural Foundation, Stiftung Mercator (EU)
2015 – 2018 The Research Training Group »European Dream-Cultures« / Assoziierter Doktorand Stipendium, Universität des Saarlandes, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SAARBRÜCKEN (DE)

Selected Exhibitions, Festivals & Conference Presentations

2004 Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis, SAARBRÜCKEN (DE)
2007 Puzzle Project / Teatrul Național, BUCHAREST (RO)
2008 Gastspiele / Lothringer 13, Haus 45 – Kunstverein Domagk e.V, MÜNCHEN (DE)
2008 The 1st International Roaming Biennial of Tehran / Hafriyat Karaköy, ISTANBUL (TR) / BERLIN (DE) / BELGRADE (RS)
2008 Landeskunstausstellung des Saarlandes / Städtische Galerie Neunkirchen, NEUNKIRCHEN (DE)
2008 Octobre Rouge Video Art Prize CIGL (LU)
2009 Mythos und Heimat / Holzgau, HOLZGAU, TIROL (AT)
2012 Reliquie – Fetisch in Kirche, Kunst & Konsum / TUFA Trier, TRIER (DE)
2012 Dream Connection / International Association for the Study of Dreams, BERN (CH)
2012 International Forum for Pyschomotoric/Performance/Interaction / Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, STUTTGART (DE)
2012 Paratactic Commons / AMBER’ 12 Art and Technology Festival, ISTANBUL (TR)
2013 SaarArt – Landeskunstausstellung des Saarlandes / Städtische Galerie Neunkirchen, NEUNKIRCHEN (DE)
2013 Prix d’Art Robert Schuman / Johanneskirche Saarbrücken, SAARBRÜCKEN (DE)
2015 I am a Ghost in Your Dream / Apartment Project Berlin, BERLIN (DE)
2016 Cultural Revolution / I International Symposium on Electronic Arts, HONG KONG (HK)
2016 Real of Reality / ZKM, KARLSRUHE (DE)
2016 Transmediale Vorspiel / ACUD, BERLIN (DE)
2017 SIESTA / Theater HOCHX, MUNICH (DE)
2017 Silberne Frequenz / LWL Museum für Kunst und Kultur, MÜNSTER (DE)
2018 Curious Dreams / Kunstverein Ulm, ULM (DE)
2018 Mirage Festival / Les Subsistances, LYON (FR)
2018 „Alternating Bodies. Oscillating Spaces“ / oMo artspace, BERLIN (DE)
2018 Intersections / International Symposium on Electronic Arts, DURBAN (SA)
2019 Oneiric Transductions / Laser Talks, FORTALEZA (BR)
2021 Discussion Rooms / Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken, SAARBRÜCKEN (DE)
2021 #2 Physical: Restitution / RectoVRso Festival-Laval Virtual, Musée-École de la Perrine – Laval (FR)
2021 Kosmos der Urbanen Liga / Urbane Liga, re:publica, BERLIN (DE)
2021 THERMAL / Laser Talks, Leonardo ISAST, ARS Electronica, LINZ (AT)
2022 SENSE Festival / BIOTOPIA Naturkundemuseum, MUNICH (DE)