Couch potatoes sure have had a great millennium thus far, with advancements in television and the ways in which we watch things on them have seen a steady amount of advancements, making things bigger, better, and easier to watch than ever before. But since we’re also a society that thrives on all things retro and inventively bizarre, how about a TV that’s the exact opposite of high definition?
Chris Shen, an interactive installation artist, is currently showing Infra, a live television display comprised of 625 discarded remote controls. They’re all attached to a modified Peggy 2 controller board used to create LED displays, and it’s actually the infrared light coming from each remote that creates the picture, which you can’t even be seen with the naked eye, which needs a pair of infrared goggles to see the images, which lack both definition and color. Kids are probably thinking this is what the cavemen watched. But it’s art. It’s not supposed to be easy.
Check out the time-lapsed creation and operation of the device, currently displayed and airing live TV at the 18 Hewitt Street gallery in London.
For an interview with Dazed Digital, Shen explains, “I’m interested in how technology works and how we use it. The remote control is often a subsidiary to the television but as objects the buttons wear out and even collect our skin flakes inside. We hold them in our hands everyday but what happens when you press the buttons?” He also brings up how advancements in how we watch things means, “Channel surfing is a dying act of our television experience.” But in showing us the ways in which older technologies are fading, he presents something that needs multiple aspects of technology in order to be enjoyed. Well done.
I don’t want to sit down and play Dead Space on it or anything, but Infra is still a pretty remarkable thing to behold. And for those interested, he also has something of a coffee table book out with the same title, which features a variety of remote controls through the years. Turn on, tune in, and don’t forget the special goggles.