Chris Shen is a London-based artist with an affinity for the repurposed. His latest installation, "INFRA," is a radiant, TV-like display made from hundreds of discarded remote controls. Currently on display in London, Shen's light sculpture consists of 625 remotes arranged in a grid formation within a large metal frame. Each remote was positioned with its infrared bulb facing outward, and connected by individual speaker wires to a modified Peggy 2 LED pegboard. This allowed Shen to broadcast live TV through his metal display, with each remote's bulb acting as an individual pixel.
Constructing the piece required meticulous attention to detail, as Shen had to open, clean, and re-wire every single remote. Once activated, however, it creates a stunning array of glowing light, visible through infrared goggles.
Shen says he designed "INFRA" as a meditation on technological evolution and power. In creating a display from remote controls, he effectively inverts the hierarchy upon which traditional TV viewing was founded, while providing a glimpse into the invisible phenomena that facilitated it. By pointing the remotes directly at the viewer, Shen implicitly raises questions about the man-machine power structure, suggesting that the lines of "control" may not always be one-directional as we think.
"Each of the 625 remote controls is second-hand, without the corresponding TV set", the artist told SlamXHype earlier this month. "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."
"INFRA" is currently on display at 18 Hewett Street in London, through February 3rd.