Tuesday, 19 January 2016

bandwidth and broomsticks

Archivists and students of modern history—which I think reinforces that strange feeling of being ungrounded, of something being just out of reach because it happened prior to the spread of the internet’s meticulous and totum pro parte record-keeping—are finding that the teletext pages, the subspace of the airwaves, were also encoded and can be teased out of VHS recordings.
This service, which reaches back to the early 1970s, was invented in the UK but has apparently been phased out entirely by most broadcasters but is still quite prominently featured and utilized on German stations, but the technology remains in place, as it’s the carrier-signal for closed-captions as well—as the notices, headlines, weather, score-cards, schedules, page after page (“magazines”) of programme descriptions and supplemental material provided have been supplanted by the advent of the World Wide Web—which the scheme rather previsioned and anticipated, at least in popularity and accessibility as formatting and compatibility issues tended towards compartmentalization. Recovering this ephemeral—even though parallel and complimentary to what’s on the television in most cases, I think it’s nonetheless a fascinating little snap-shot of the everyday and pushes back the wayback machine by at least sixteen years.