Telidon Art

“Telidon was machine stitched into a corner of the Canadian modern age flag.”

— Glenn Howarth

Telidon began in 1978 as a project of the Canadian Federal Department of Communications to develop networked information services using Videotex technology and offered significantly higher quality graphics than competing systems developed by France and the United Kingdom. Lasting from 1978 through 1985, it was a uniquely Canadian effort with significant involvement from both the public and private sectors.

Glenn Howarth first encountered Telidon in 1981, when he met two University of Victoria faculty members working on projects to develop Telidon systems, Dr. David Godfrey in Creative Writing and Dr. Ernest Chang in Computer Science. Over the next three years Howarth gained international recognition for his work. At the apex of his involvement he represented Canada as a Telidon artist at the 1983 Biennale in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

NAPLPS graphic, 1984.

NAPLPS graphic, 1984.

He grew increasingly dissatisfied with the limitations of the medium and the difficulties of working with intractable technology. He formally declared his “emigration” from Telidon and returned to painting in1985. His disillusionment paralleled the failure of Telidon systems to gain a foothold in the marketplace and preceded the withdrawal of federal funding for the Telidon project by less than a month. The last major exhibition of Howarth’s Telidon art was at Expo 86 in Vancouver.


John Durno, UVic Libraries