Where’s the remote?

Edwin Janzen’s Remotes: A photography show about control.

For Edwin Janzen, the remote control isn't a handy gizmo that rules the entertainment centre, has an amazing knack for getting lost or calls to mind the Larry Sanders "no flipping" command. Rather it's "a murky place of hair and filth," says the Montreal-based artist/photographer, "almost a miniature ecosystem in its own right." In Remotes, opening today at ViewPoint Gallery, Janzen zooms in on various handheld household remotes to reveal what is usually sight-unseen. 

By magnifying the controllers using a flatbed scanner, Janzen exposes the natural limits of human sensation. "We occupy a very narrow sensory range," he explains. "We cannot see infrared or ultraviolet light, or hear sounds that are too high or two low. Though we can sometimes build machines to help us, we cannot ourselves perceive objects that are enormously huge or infinitesimally small. We are stuck in the middle, and everything else in the universe is beyond our perception."

As he will doubtless describe in his artist talk Sunday afternoon, during a few years of interest in this project, Janzen collected about 50 handsets for old TVs, VCRs and DVD players. "To my mind, the sleek design of these objects is deeply rooted in military-inspired design aesthetics," he says. "I use a relatively small sensory shift to completely undermine the allure of these technologies."

Edwin Janzen: Remotes 

April 7-May 1

Artist talk Sunday, April 10, 2pm 

ViewPoint Gallery, 1272 Barrington Street


Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment

Get more Halifax

Our Thursday email gets you caught up with The Coast. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.