Nadja Buttendorf: Robotron – A Tech Opera

HMKV Video of the Month

HMKV Video des Monats August 2020 online!

On view  1–31 August 2020


Nadja Buttendorf

Robotron – a tech opera

2018 - ongoing

Web series


PRE-EPISODE: emotianal eyebrows (room tour & squiggle eyebrows) omg


Trailer, HD video, 4:14 min.

Title song:

Lyrics & rap by Futuremaps030

Beats stolen from Yung Hurn – Eisblock (prod. by Stickle)

In the official PRE-EPISODE: emotianal eyebrows (room tour & squiggle eyebrows) omg for the web series Robotron - a tech opera, the actual origin and the use of the Instagram trend Squiggle Eyebrows are explained. In the GDR, one was already ahead of the times and knew, although one often only had ONE eyebrow pencil at one’s disposal, exactly how to conjure as many waves as possible on one’s eyebrows. Unfortunately, this knowledge has been lost through disinterest.

In the room tour prior to this, the green screen paradise is presented, the 1-room apartment of the artist in which the web series is produced. OMG




HD video, 13:40 min. (7 episodes incl. pre-episode)




HD video, stereo, 6:31 min. (6 episodes)

Title song:

Lyrics & rap by Futuremaps030

Beats stolen from Yung Hurn – Eisblock (prod. by Stickle)

Robotron - a tech opera is the first soap opera that takes place in the computer industry of the GDR and deals with computer development in a planned economy and everyday life in East Germany. The VEB (state-owned enterprise) Robotron combine was the largest computer manufacturer of the former GDR and one of the most important producers of information technology in socialist Eastern Europe.

Based on her own family history, Buttendorf traces a history of technology that no longer interests anyone today, because it does not follow the logic of a success story and deals with already obsolete technology. Enriched with emotional entanglements, the history of technology is looked back on and elaborated upon to add an even more diverse and complex story to a successful American narrative.

Robotron - a tech opera takes place in the VEB Robotron-Elektronik Dresden, the central operations location of the VEB Robotron combine, and unfolds in the years from 1976 – 1990. Season 01 and season 02 have already been produced and take place in the period from 1976 to 1983. In the planned total of five seasons, the history of East German technology is told based on an autobiographically inspired relationship drama, until the VEB Robotron is liquidated by the trust in 1990. The GDR-futuristic everyday adventures of the protagonists and colleagues H, M and X take place in the Robotron cafeteria or at the workplace, the computer centre of the VEB Robotron.

For Buttendorf, it is not about looking back at her own family history, but instead about using this as exemplary starting material for generating a fiction. In the sci-fi selfie web series, which is produced entirely DIY, the artist assumes complete responsibility for direction, camera, screenplay, make-up, costume, sound design, lighting, as well as all the acting roles. Inspired by the videos of Nasime Aghdam, known as YouTube Shooter, Robotron oscillates between Star Trek, Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten (a long-running German soap opera) and a Snapchat aesthetic.


SEASON 4K aka Season 03


4K, work in progress

The adventures in the VEB Robotron combine continue, under new prerequisites. Colleague H still never does what she is supposed to. The consequences could be disastrous.



Nadja Buttendorf, *1984 in Dresden, GDR, based in Berlin, DE

In the series HMKV Video of the Month, HMKV presents in monthly rotation current video works by international artists - selected by Inke Arns.

Nadja Buttendorf
Robotron – A Tech Opera

Web series, 2018-2019, with trailer (pilot) + season 01 + season 02 = 20:20 min.