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Old TV Remote Controls Get Transformed Into Infrared Sculpture

Chris Shen’s INFRA repurposes 625 remote controls and turns them into a TV.

by Kevin Holmes
Jan 16 2013, 3:57pm

If you’re someone who still watches TV, then you’ll still be using a TV remote control to change the channels. What a fine and dear ally it is, sitting there next to you and your junk food as you stare at the screen and numbly flick through the channels looking for something to sustain your interest. But with smartphones now beginning to replace remote controls on some networks—like the Sky+ app in the UK—it could well become another piece of dead media (along with television, as it now stands) to add to the heap.

In a new exhibition, which opens in London tomorrow, artist Chris Shen uses 625 used remote controls to create an “infrared light sculpture” called INFRA, repurposing these once-loved pieces of tech to make a TV out of them.

“Each of the 625 remote controls is second-hand without the corresponding TV set—the remotes were discarded, or deemed useless by their previous owner.” Shen says in the press release. “I will reverse the roles of these devices that are intended to control our TVs, to become the TV itself. By exploring infrared technology, I hope to provide insight into a world that is by its very nature unseen.”

How the installation will work is explained below:

Every TV remote has a small infrared LED at the front. When viewed through infrared goggles a small light that cannot be seen normally becomes visible. Shen uses this invisible light to create a display capable of showing recognisable images in the form of live television, the infrared light then brings light to the room, but only in the infrared spectrum.

INFRA, 17/01/13 – 03/02/13, 18 Hewett Street, London, EC2A 3NN


dead media
Chris Shen
Remote Controls