Teletext Art

Interview: Dragan Espenschied, Digital Conservationist & Teletext Art Prize Winner

Modern Talking, entry for ARD’s ’30 Years of Teletext’ in 2010.

You may already know Dragan Espenschied for his ‘noob educating‘ 8-bit music, his digital art conservation endeavours, or perhaps his teletext art mini masterpieces.

Chances are that if you’ve ever Googled ‘teletext art’, you will have encountered the seminal ‘Lucky Cat’. Shortly after being selected as People’s Choice Winner of the 2013 International Teletext Art Festival, it was the first piece to be featured in the influential Museum of Teletext Art.

But Dragan’s success can be attributed to much more than mere good fortune. To find out why his teletext design career is deserving of further investigation, teletextart.co.uk approached the artist on Twitter…


Teletext Babez, 2000

Teletextart: Greetings, Dragan! Hope everything’s good with you today and in general.

What’s the story behind ‘Teletext Babez’ (link NSFW)?

Dragan: I once got a really cheap TV capture card for my laptop because I wanted to snap some screens of my Godzilla VHS tapes. The card also had a teletext mode that wasn’t advertised on the box and I ended up using it more than the video capture.

Probably everyone who went down the rabbit hole of phone sex pages on teletext admires the ability of the anonymous artists to depict a human body within the graphical limitations of teletext. Some true digital Berninis in there.

Art for VBI Microtel, 2006 (See all)

Some of your earlier teletext art was featured in the VBI Microtel project. How did you find out about it – were you invited to participate?

Dragan: I was invited to the Microtel project by my micromusic friend and colleague Emma Davidson (Lektrogirl).

International Teletext Art Festival, 2013

What did winning the International Teletext Art Festival people’s choice award mean to you?

I engineered my Lucky Cat piece as a floor filler and was definitely pleased with winning.

Digital conservation

Are you aware of the guys recovering teletext from VHS, and do you think there is value in digging up pages that were always meant to be ephemeral?

Recovering teletext pages from VHS tapes is one of the most noble tasks people can dedicate themselves to, and I’m always happy if that stuff shows up under #teletext.

I like your home page design. Do you plan on changing it any time soon?

Thanks for the kind comment. I need to update my home page! Should at least leave a “check back soon for updates” note.

I rather think web pages themselves are something that is going away, bloated or not. Hopefully we’ll have them for some time!


Dragan Espenschied currently leads the Digital Art Preservation Program at Rhizome. His website remains colourfully 90s.

See a list of Dragan’s teletext work here.

Dan Farrimond

Head mad scientist at the UK Teletext Art Research Lab (TARL).

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