Invisible Residue

infrared remote controls, photovoltaic panels

Invisible Residue is a performance work aimed at reshaping our everyday experience of infrared energy. Photovoltaic (solar) panels connected to audio equipment act as receivers for the invisible flashes of infrared that handheld remote controls (for TVs, video projectors, VCRs and so on) use to transmit their digital pulse codes, making them audible.

IR cover
Invisible Residue (2018), CD-R edition of 25 / free download
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Infrared remote controls are somewhat ubiquitous, but are becoming increasingly redundant as a range of other wireless technologies (such as Bluetooth) enter the marketplace. As a result all of the handsets used for Invisible Residue were either salvaged from piles of rubbish dumped in the street, or were leftover units donated by friends.

Separated from the devices they were originally produced to control, infrared remotes become handheld projectors of digitally encoded infrared. When multiple units are used at the same time (as happens here) they fill the air with a kind of invisible digital turbulence. No effects or signal processing are used for these performances and recordings. The sounds produced are simply the effect of the infrared signals from single or multiple remote controls creating fluctuations in voltage in the photovoltaic panels.