Digital Media Pioneer Award

2018 Digifest Digital Pioneer Award Recipient


Norman White is recognized as an early pioneer of electronic, machine and robotic art. He started his career as a painter and later shifted his practice to kinetic electronics in the late 1960s. He presented his first collection of new media work at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1969. His electronic work merges motion, sound, movement and light. His work can be found in public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Canadian Art Bank. While White has exhibited in major institutions around the world, he feels that art functions best, and is most needed, outside of galleries and museums.

White taught for more than twenty-five years at OCAD University in the Integrated Media Program, Digital Electronics, Computer Programming and Mechanics for Real-Time Sculpture, and helped spearhead a program with a focus in electronics, mechanics and computer programming. He also taught similar subjects at Ryerson University in the School of Image Arts. White’s work has influenced many new media artists, including Doug Back, David Rokeby, Peter Flemming, Jeff Mann, and Graham Smith.

White currently resides north of Toronto in an old watermill, known as The Normill. It is there that he hosts annual gatherings to celebrate his friendships and fellow artists with swimming, music, art, robot fights, and machine wrestling.

Digifest will feature three works by Norman White including Telephonic Arm Wrestling, The Music Lesson and Midnight Special #1.

Media Arts and the Creative City Panel

Prior to the Digital Pioneer Award ceremony, Norman White will be featured on the Media Arts and Creative City Panel where he, and other experts in the field, will discuss how media arts is helping cities like Toronto be more creative and engaging more participation with the public in arts and culture. Register today to RSVP to this free event! 

The Digifest Digital Pioneer Award recognizes outstanding Canadians who have made significant contributions to the field of digital media. They are a true trailblazer within technology and culture. By embracing the unknown and standing at the forefront of innovation, their work explores previously unimagined uses for emerging technologies. Please join us at Digifest 2018 as we present the award to the next Canadian innovator!


Past Digital Pioneers

Don Tapscott (2017), Author and leading authority on technology and business

Bill Buxton (2016), Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research

Steve Mann (2015), Research and Inventor

Vera Frenkel (2014), Artist

Luc Courchesne (2012), President of the Society for Arts and Technology

Vincent John Vincent (2011), CEO and Co-Founder of GestureTek



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