Videotexten is an image-based, artistic, client-server based communication software. It converts a text message into a dynamically generated animation consisting of photographs or short video sequences of urban communication.


A registered user logs on to and sends a text message. This text is stored in a database via server software. The server software sends a notification to the recipient, in which a link to appears. This link contains an assignment to the composed text message in the database. When the recipient calls up the link, the server software transmits a coded file that is translated by the client software into an animation consisting of photographs and video sequences. Thus, the image data is not transmitted until the message is called.

The file transmitted to the client is text-based and contains, for each image stored in the image database, information about the word or symbol depicted on it, the photographer, the location where the image was taken, as well as annotations by the photographer and control information for the client software. The text message is now converted into a sequence of photographs and video sequences for the recipient and played back. All meta information, such as shooting location and annotations, can be displayed at the end of the message. If a word in the text message is not stored in the image database, it is composed of individual letters. The image database is under construction, so in the future the number of compound words will decrease. It is maintained and monitored by a small editorial team to ensure appropriate artistic quality and to prevent possible misuse. Technical developments are also in progress. A videotext can then be sent by any registered user to any e-mail address/mobile number. In addition, own photos and videos of words can be added to the database via an editorial system.

History of origins

I developed an interest in the collage technique during my advanced art course at the Urspringschule near Ulm in 1993-1994. During the professional orientation phase after my community service, I began to create my first stop-motion animations from letters cut out of newspapers using an old Super8 camera. This was how my first moving collages were created. At the same time, I got to know the Lomo camera, which was very popular at the time. During my first internship, which I did in Heidelberg to prepare for my studies, I worked with computer-based animations for the first time.

During my subsequent multimedia studies at the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences (1998-2003), I combined the classic Lege-Trick technique and animation programs in my basic studies, e.g. with the help of a scanner, and thus created small animations for the subjects typography and AV design. At the same time as the design education, I also learned the basics of computer science, object-oriented programming and database design.It was then that I first thought about a project that would combine my previous areas of study and interest, the classic Lege Trick technique, lomography, interactivity and literature. Nevertheless, I decided on a thesis topic that would combine digital still images from urban situations into a computer animation. Over a period of three months, I photographed urban motifs with a digital camera, including typographies such as street signs and advertisements

On New Year's Eve 2007 in Berlin, I explained to an art historian friend my idea of creating a typographic-topological map combined with a dynamically generated animation. She encouraged me to tackle this project. The next day, I bought a handy digital camera at Alexanderplatz and started collecting the first words with it. Back in Munich, I expanded my word collection in everyday life, worked out a more detailed software specification and programmed the frontend with Macromedia Flash and the backend in PHP.

From an art historical point of view

The technique of collage is probably the artistic method and means of expression that, in many different variations, had the greatest influence on the art of the 20th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, the use of everyday objects and their fragments through gluing and artistic processing had the goal of giving the abstracting formal language of the cubists a higher character of reality. Pieces of patterned wallpaper, fabrics, printed letters and numbers from newspapers or posters - papiers collés - were the artistic material for Georges Braque's Still Life with Fruit and Bowl (1912), which is considered the first painting created using the collage technique. As a means of artistic expression, collage stands at the beginning of the classical avant-garde movements and was adapted by a wide variety of styles. In the First Manifesto of Futurism (1909), Filippo Tommaso Marinetti propagated faith in the present and a vision of a future of unimagined human heights in every respect. He was joined by painters who portrayed in their art the central themes of the urban society of the time, the big cities, their noise and speed in traffic and entertainment venues, and their inherent power. The Futurists were particularly interested in the visual impact of words and writing. They demanded a dissolution of valid syntax and traditional static typography. In this way, they exerted a strong influence on the Dadaists and their sound poems. The latter used, among other things, the collage technique as a means of expressing their anti-artistic attitude. With photomontage, Hannah Höch developed a special form of collage that, by combining various photographic motifs, creates new pictorial content that also involves a critical examination of reality.
On the first level of meaning, text messages composed by a sender and transmitted to a receiver are represented by means of videotexten made of words found and photographed in everyday life. The original meaning of the words, be they terms on street signs, billboards, construction sites, or parts of billboards, lose their everyday meaning, which is valid for every street participant, and are given an individual, personal meaning by the sender by means of videotexten, which is addressed exclusively to the one recipient. The general validity of the abstract signs for every participant of the urban everyday life is withdrawn and transformed into a new, personalized and only individually valid statement. Location information about the place where the used terms were found - as GPS data or through a written annotation by the photographer - lend the personal message a topographical assignment on a second level. The transmitted message thereby experiences a topographical map and reflects the ever larger, ever faster and ever more necessary mobility of our society. On a third level, the individual words contain stories about their origin and creation or about the associations made during the photographer's visual selection. These can be as much experiences during the photographing process as reasons for the selection or feelings and thoughts about the terms. Strung together, they lend an overarching, uncontrollable narrative to the text message, which is determined solely by the sender. Each impersonal word of the public world, valid for everyone, thus becomes not only the bearer of a single personal meaning conveyed by the sender in his text message, but is at the same time the bearer of a personal remark by the photographer.
Dr. Gundula Lang, 2009

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Heiko Stückle, Dipl.-Des. (FH)
Kerpener Straße 75
50937 Köln

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Heiko Stückle
Kerpener Str. 75
50937 Cologne, Germany

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