With its blocky, low-res graphics and clunky interaction, the television-based information retrieval system known as teletext seems out of place in today's world of touchscreens and flatscreen TVs. But in an excellent blog post on the history of teletext art posted Friday, Goto80 (aka Anders Carlsson) pointed out that the medium is still very much in use in several European countries. In fact, the iPhone and iPad app for Swedish teletext was one of the most popular iTunes downloads in that country 2011. And as Carlson writes, among the latter-day fans of the medium are numerous artists, from JODI to the participants in the 2006 Microtel project that inspired the title of this article to the participants of the second annual International Teletext Art Festival (through September 15).
Analog Sunset at Ludlow 38.
In 2009, I went to an amazing event at 38 Ludlow called Analog Sunset, which took place on the night that analog television was due to be turned off in the US forever, giving way to the digital broadcast future. Three artists going by the moniker Off the Record (Ethan Breckenridge, Liz Linden and Phil Vanderhyden) had piled up a stack of old TVs in the space. As the appointed hour approached, more and more urgent warnings began flashing at the bottom of the screen; the announcers on Univision grew particularly animated. And then, not at the same time, but—with true analog precision—one by one, over the course of several minutes, the televisions faded away to static. (Auspiciously, Liza Béar of Send/Receive was in attendance.)
Later this year, the analog sunset will hit Australia, as that country moves to solely digital broadcast. To mark the transition, Emma Ramsay and Alex White are organizing a series of events and broadcasts under the name Tele Visions. They're looking for new and existing works that engage with TV as a medium; the deadline is next week.
Now, without further ado, here is our weekly roundup of Events, Opportunities and Deadlines, culled from Rhizome Announce.
William Powhida and Jade Townsend's drawing Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes (2012). Detail.
William Powhida and Jade Townsend's drawing Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes is a depiction of the art world as a medieval battlefield populated by warring factions, complete with a legend identifying each faction in language that is part literary epic, part incoherent rant. It's an excellent time-waster, both funny and irritating. For example, one part of the drawing depicts a suburban hinterland where burghers gather outside the church of Thomas Kinkade (above). Steve Lambert can be seen rolling by with his "Capitalism works for me!" sign, one of only a few artists found in these uncharted middlebrow realms. (Lambert toured the large sign across the US, asking people to vote on whether the sign is true or false for them.)
Allan Sekula, artist and author of such indispensable texts as "The Body and the Archive," passed away over the weekend. While Sekula's primary medium was photography, his work had no small relevance to questions that surround art and technology, and is well worth revisiting in the wake of this sad news. Among his works that have been circulating on Tumblr over the past couple of days are his 1999 work Dear Bill Gates. The work involved a photographed action in which the artist swam as close as he could to the Microsoft founder's house.