nullSports results, latest news and of course the interactive quiz Bamboozle were all available amongst much else at the touch of a button and with a little patience with the page load time. The rise and rise of the internet inevitably lessened the demand for information through your TV, with CNN closing their teletext service in 2006 and the BBC ending Ceefax in 2012.
They say scarcity breeds innovation though and the options for imagery on teletext were certainly limited. These limitations led to the creative use of colour and shape, and a whole new sub-genre of art and one of the earliest forms of digital design.
“The minimal aesthetics and limited technical possibilities make teletext a unique medium and also an interesting challenge for artists: To make teletext pages a specific file format and editor are needed. A teletext page can be perceived as a grid of 24 rows and 40 columns. To change the colours of the graphics, text and background or to add a blink effect, a control character needs to be inserted. Each time a control character is placed it uses up one space in the grid, which then appears black.”
In 2013, a year after the cessation of Ceefax, the International Teletext Art Prize began and this year this will be awarded during the third International Teletext Art Festival. There’s even a Museum of Teletext Art called MUTA.
Bright & Bold Geometric Art
The festival, in its third year, will be run by Finnish art collective FixC, from 14 August to 14 September 2014. The event hopes to showcase those who have used this minimal yet striking medium as an art form:
Original story posted on the BBC website