Biometrika continues and develops Robertshaw's concern to articulate the needs and difficulties of the 'handicapped' yet here the range is broader, the structure more complex as the issue of Jeannette, a girl of 17 who was sterlised to 'save her from the disaster of pregnancy' is interwoven with reference to the idea of 'selective breeding' and the theories of Eugenics.Carefully researched and presented, these interconnecting themes form the informational content of a tape which seeks to describe the issues through a rich mesmerizing style of video which is barely described by the term 'experimental documentary'. Mixing TV footage of the 'Jeanettte' case with archive footage of Nazi propoganda film - which tells of the 'threat' of those deemed abnormal - and similarly archival film clips from a lecture explaining the supposed dangers of interbreeding, the tape is interspersed with the images of Robertshaw reading from the papers of Eugenics founder Galton (Galton proposed a system of categorising 'low types' according to their facial characsteristics; the Nazi regime took Galton's 'science' to horrific conclusion witht he slaughter of Jews, Gypsies and the eradication of the 'handicapped'rather than presenting this material in a blunt package of information and pictures, however, Robertshaw's strategy in Biometrika is to create a skilfully handled flow of imagery which uses the possibilities of video technology and effects in a way which is both engaging and innovatory. Nik Houghton 1988


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