After the definitive switchover from analog to digital television about three years ago, Luca Schenardi noticed some puzzling non sequiturs one day while viewing teletext – one of his preferred media. In the wake of the digital TV revolution, teletext headlines on a number of channels were scrambled and apparently randomly recombined. In early 2015, for example, Schenardi happened upon the following item: “Pegida Alliance supporters held another rally in Dresden last night. According to the police, roughly 17,000 Pegida activists turned out at the Semperoper [Dresden opera house]. Meyer calls it free coffee.” This gem of a non sequitur was clearly worth saving, whereupon Schenardi began perusing and photographing teletexts on various channels every day. Seized with a mania for collecting suchlike glitches, he transcribed them in black marker and tusche into self-made A5-size notebooks and illustrated his finds with sketches. To date he has filled twenty such notebooks, roughly eight hundred pages, with this peculiar collection.
Naturally bound up with daily news coverage, the transcriptions sometimes seem to convey uncanny truths, then get tangled up in utter absurdities, as though attempting a novel approach to relating news of war and calamity around the world in the guise of news ticker headlines. They bear an uncanny resemblance to the serious – though no less absurd – news headlines inundating our daily lives, whether online or in print. In Meyer spricht von Gratiskaffee (“Meyer calls it free coffee”), Schenardi releases a selection of these illustrated teletext quotations, rather like hoverflies – those masters of mimicry – disguised as wasps, into the infotainment jungle.