Pixel pushers rejoice - the next Block Party has been confirmed for Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st October 2018. This year, Britain's premier teletext festival will venture 'up north' to Wigan STEAM for a weekend of VBI, Videotext and Viewdata jollities. The fifth iteration of the Block Party is dubbed 'Bloktoberfest'. It will be a celebration of homebrew teletext, playing host to pixel art workshops as well as games and presentations much like those seen at Block Party Cambridge in 2017.
What will be there?
- Resident Teletext Artists: we have teletext artists you can chat to, see at work and get tips from before trying teletext art for yourself!
- The broadcast teletext archive: services spanning 42 years of actual teletext pages, all recovered from domestic videotape. Find out how it’s done and see pages from the dawn of teletext.
- A closed-circuit teletext system: teletext as you remember it: a TV set with four channels where and you can press ‘Text’ on the remote on each channel and enter its teletext service!
- Teefax: an online teletext service updated by enthusiasts which, using the Raspberry Pi, you can pipe into your teletext TV at home and watch teletext. It’s also available online!
- Teletext hardware, enhanced teletext and live subtitling
Who will be there?Carl Attrill (@that_other_Carl): A long-time teletext artist whose work makes up for its rarity with its originality and skill in the medium.
Alistair Cree: Alistair’s online teletext page editor supports enhanced, or Level 2.5, teletext, which is no mean feat given the complexities of the medium! Find out what Level 2.5 teletext is, how it works and what it can do.
Dan Farrimond: Credited with keeping the medium alive during its wilderness years, digital artist Dan is one of the UK’s most experienced teletext artists and teletext art’s premier cheerleader.
Horsenburger: Steve is an ex-Teletext Ltd. teletext artist and currently the most prolific artist in the medium, having created hundreds (thousands?) of teletext pages of graphics. Come and see an expert at work, then try your hand at teletext art yourself!
Peter Kwan: Peter worked in the teletext industry throughout its lifetime providing teletext hardware and software solutions to the broadcasters.
Raquel Meyers: Text mode expert Raquel is a winner of the International Teletext Art Festival's Special Achievement Award, and has conducted studies on the contextual history of teletext as an artform.
Jason Robertson: The Teletext Archaeologist will be around to chat and show the broadcast teletext archive recovered from domestic videotapes from the last 42 years. Want to see teletext from a particular channel on a certain year? Just ask!
What are the opening times?Saturday 20th October 2018: Doors open 12PM, close at 4PM. Sunday 21st October 2018: Doors open 10AM, close at 4PM.
What and where is Wigan STEAM?Wigan STEAM is a tech/arts hub in Wigan town centre, located just a few minutes' walk from Wallgate and North Western train stations. (Note: Wigan Bus Station is currently closed for development but a normal bus service still operates to various points in the town centre.)
Open Wigan STEAM location in Google Maps
Open Wigan STEAM location in Google Streetview
STEAM, otherwise known as the Chipboard Paradise, is home to a suite of Raspberry Pis, an art space, maker space and gallery. The latter will display a tech graphics exhibition by Dustin Lyon entitled 'The Lonely Sea' throughout the Block Party weekend.
Where can I park?There is ample parking on Library Street just outside the STEAM Hub in addition to a medium sized outdoor car park at the bottom of the street. There are also two large car parks in the vicinity, the Grand Arcade (<5mins walk) and the Galleries (<10mins walk). Click links for opening times. For those looking to stay overnight, both hotels have lots of parking spaces. Here is a map of parking areas in Wigan town centre with opening times.
What hotels are nearby?There are at least two major hotels in Wigan town centre: Premier Inn (<5mins walk, prices start at £40/nt) and Mercure (<10mins walk).
Should I bring my own laptop?Yes, please bring your laptops if you have them! We'll have computers set up in case you really can't, though.
What's the schedule? When can I get tickets?Admission is free and you can turn up on the day. We would appreciate if you could get register here to let us know if and when you're coming so we can gauge numbers. Further information will appear here and on the Teletext Facebook Group as the schedule is developed and exhibitors are confirmed.
Where can I see more pictures and artwork from previous Block Parties?
- Block Party I, London, 5 June 2015
- Block Party II, Berlin, 3 May 2016
- Block Party 2016: Digifest, Cambridge, 1 October 2016
- Block Party 2017, Cambridge, 25 & 26 February 2017 (Peter Fagan's photos here.)