1970s tech meets art: Teletext Art Gallery opens


Two European broadcasters have opened a Teletext Art Gallery, showcasing what you can do with 1970s technology.

Germany's ARD and Austria's ORF are collaborating in a special project in conjunction with teletext artists from around the world, including two from the UK. The collaboration runs from 29th August through to 19th September 2019 in the latest teletext art event.

The canvas for the artists is based on the technology originally used for the BBC teletext service Ceefax, which ceased broadcasting in 2012, complete with its limited selection of colours and in-built blockiness.

A gradually declining number of channels in parts of Europe continue to use traditional Teletext on digital TV services to this day, although increasingly alongside newer HbbTV "red button" services.

"ARD-Text meets Art" and "ORF-Teletext meets Art" are available from page 840 in the respective channel's teletext services (Das Erste, ORF1, ORF2, ORF III), as well as internationally via the internet, including mobile devices (see screenshot image from ORF above).

Specifications for art on teletext
A teletext page is a grid of 24 lines and 40 columns. Each part of the grid can be used for a letter, a number, a special character, a control character or up to six graphics pixels. To change the colours of the graphic, text and background or add a blink effect, a control character must be inserted. Each time a control character is placed, it occupies a field of the grid, which then appears black. And there are only six colours as well as black and white available to artists.

The participating artists include :
Nadine Arbeiter (Germany), 
Cordula Ditz (Germany), 
Daniel Egg (Austria), 
Dan Farrimond (United Kingdom), 
Juha van Ingen (Finland), 
Joey Holder (United Kingdom), 
Kathrin Günter (Germany), 
Raquel Meyers (Spain), 
Matthias Moos (Switzerland), 
Niccolò Moronato (Italy), 
Jarkko Räsänen (Finland), 
Seppo Renvall (Finland) and 
UBERMORGEN (Austria, Switzerland/USA)

Teletext art hackathon
As part of this year's Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria,  five of the participating artists will take part in a teletext hackathon in Linz's POSTCITY, on Thursday 5th September, creating live teletext art.

The audience will also be invited to get creative on-site with teletext software. The resulting artworks can be published and admired on ORF-Teletext. On Friday 6th September, the art exhibition "ORF-Teletext meets Art" will also be presented in the Deep Space of the Ars Electronica Center on a 16 x 9 metre screen.