Who knew Teletext was 100 years old this year? Not many of us at Silvertoad can even remember using Ceefax on UK TV. Those of us old enough will admit to tuning into it to find out the latest Cricket or Football scores. I used to use it to keep up to date with cinema listings and lottery numbers, but it really was a helpful tool until the ubiquity of the Internet. We forget that we’ve had an Internet equivalent in our lives for the last 38 years. An amazing pre-historic version of the the net which was a slow yet eternal database on everything from gardening and recipes to world news and the Pop music Top 20! It also kept viewers engaged with a really strange synthesiser score? I don’t remember that facility at all though. I will say that it was a pain waiting for my chosen cinema listing to come around because my Mum was too tight to let me ring the automated phone line. Perhaps I knew something ultra fast like the Internet was just around the corner. I will say though, I did like the vibrant colours and the goofy illustrations!
The increase in the popularity of Apps and iPhones saw the BBC cancel Ceefax in 2012 but whilst the UK no longer have an ongoing analogue TV service there are still countries that keep the flame alive around the world.
Like anything retro and interesting there are enthusiasts and fanatics that live for Teletext. You can see examples of such devotion at the third International Teletext Art Festival takes place in Berlin in August 2014, showcasing a range of work inspired by the analogue text service. For the past three years, Finnish art collective FixC has been staging an annual showcase of Teletext-inspired visual art in Berlin.
Examples by: Dan Farrimond / Kim Asendorf / Anne Horel