Artist Chris Shen has taken 625 remote controls and transformed them into a glowing LED installation at London’s 18 Hewett Street Gallery. Dubbed INFRA, the piece recognizes the power that these cast-off remotes once possessed. With the aid of infrared goggles, visitors can view Shen’s light show, which repurposes the tiny infrared lights into a grid that forms almost recognizable images from live television.
The television remote control changed households around the world by enabling lazy couch potatoes to flip through the stations while seated. However many remotes have become obsolete as modern technology yields newer and newer electronics. Taking this disposable culture in mind, Shen created INFRA as a way to upcycle these cast offs into the object they once controlled – the TV itself.
Using a large metal display frame, Shen created rows and rows of television remote controls of different sizes and shapes and then wired them all together with their dim infrared bulbs facing out. Once the grid was assembled, the lights were connected to a television broadcast, and each light acts as a pixel in a screen image. The remotes create a television that is only viewable through infrared goggles. Shen also created a limited edition book to coincide with the gallery exhibition.