Chris Shen- Infra

I have a friend experimenting with low-rez video (of the tube variety) and I said I’d look into some ideas…little did I know it would lead me to Chris Shen’s fascinating work- Infra. A TV made from discarded remote controls. There’s so many great things about this piece that it’s hard to know where to start. Hacking, tinkering, re-purposing, and a smidge of nostalgia all rolled into one glorious low-rez display that has to be seen with infrared goggles. Love it! Personally, I use the Harmony 720 (actually three of them) and though I tried really hard- I could not find one in the photos. When I purchase a new monitor or TV, the remote is usually the first thing I toss- knowing full-well there are better alternatives out there. Kind of makes me think why the manufacturer bothers at all with a lame remote, but that’s a discussion for another day. The whole thing is wired to a Peggy 2, courtesy Evil Mad Scientist Labratories. Be sure to read the write up HERE.

From his press release:
In 1955, Eugene Polley (1915 – 2012) designed the first ever wireless remote control for the Zenith Radio Corporation. At the press of a button, the remote would magically flash an invisible light from across the room and turn your TV set on, off, or change channels, all without you budging from the couch. It was an invention that changed the nature of television.


To kick off 2013 at 18 Hewett Street, Protein is proud to present interactive artist Chris Shen’s original artwork INFRA, a largescale installation that marks the evolution of TV technology. Shen has repurposed 625 discarded remote controls into an infrared sculpture, highlighting the unseen technology in our digital landscape:

INFRA by Chris Shen from Chris Shen on Vimeo.


“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. 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.”

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.

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