Them F*ckin' Robots
"Them F*ckin' Robots" (2011) is a documentary about Canadian artist Norman White by Ine Poppe and Sam Nemeth.
Five years in the making, a documentary celebrating the extraordinary career of one of the world's leading electronic artists.
Norman White is one of the most influential media artists in the field. He produces humorous and beautiful works, and has trained hundreds of artists at the Ontario College of Art and Design to make their own handcrafted media art from 1976 onwards. This is one of the reasons a vast number of acclaimed media artists come from Canada. However, media art does not cover the entire realm of White's work: he has a large oeuvre, from paintings to light murals to interactive robotics.
Dutch filmmakers Ine Poppe and Sam Nemeth filmed White in his studio based in a huge water mill in Ontario and followed him and his students at work. It took Poppe and Nemeth five years to finish the film. This was for several reasons: it was hard to obtain material of the early works of White (video was still a 'new' medium) but moreover was it hard to fund a film about media art. In the contemporary cultural climate in the Netherlands no art or film fund dared to take the risk of financing a documentary about media art, also because the film is about a 'foreign' artist. This reflects thematically in the film. The question whether or not media art has a place in the mainstream art world is addressed as well as why it took Norman White such a long time --he started in the sixties with electronic art -- to be widely recognized. The film contains material from the seventies, eighties, nineties and the present, including original footage of the White family shot in the forties, fifties and sixties. As from January 2012 Them F*ckin' Robots wil be distributed as a download on the internet.
Video, color, 53 min, 2011
See also the article by Ine Poppe: Norman T.White. Godfather of Canada’s Electronic Art, published in 2007 at http://newmediafix.net/daily/?p=1289