Welcome, teletext fanatics! I'll just leave this here...

Friday, 27 April 2007

Teletext art

Edwin Van der Heide

In March 2000, artworks for TELETEXT pages on Dutch National Television were made by 5 artists: Edwin van der Heide, JODI, Joost Rekveld, Maki Ueda, and Wlfr. The project was initiated by Edwin van der Heide. Artworks are on air on the TELETEXT page 379 for 2 months.

The page 379 project was a collaborative effort between five artists initiated by Edwin van der Heide in 2000. The artists volunteered to take part in the project that embraced the limited medium of Teletext art - 40 x 23 characters, 80 x 69 pixels, 8 colours and a frame rate of at most 1 image per 5 seconds.

The image to the right, 'Paprika', is an animated gif of a paprika seed that gradually appears a few pixels at a time. Click the image for the full animated GIF. It becomes evident as the image slowly appears that this is perhaps an image of an apple or pepper, it's quite hard to distinguish exactly what the image is without the aid of the title. Eventually the whole of the image becomes visible and is just a filled in version of a paprika-shaped outline. As a piece of art it's quite simple but works quite well within the limitations of the medium. As an experiment it has a certain quality - doesn't necessarily push boundaries but is pleasant to look at nonetheless.

The screenshot to the left (click for full animation) is a part of the animation 'een dag van een eenzame hond' (Roughly 'The Day of A Lonely Dog'), an experiment in form with the image of a dog as a central character:

It is a dot-picture animation about a day of the lonely dog. She is a little, nervous dog. The day starts at 5:00AM. While all the family are out during the daytime, she feels lonely and bored. Then she starts exploring the adventures in the house. In a meantime she gets tired and start taking a nap. What is she dreaming of...?

In many ways this explores more areas of teletext's capabilities than the 'Paprika' piece: a series of separate stills and animations tell the story in pixels rather than words. Things 'move around' on the screen and use is made of many different colours from the teletext palette.