This little item turned up when the system at my place was upgraded. The item was fitted around 2001 and unusually, it has a rather odd mini CRT (Cathode ray tube) bent at 90 degrees insed the unit. High voltage apart, it delivers a soft indistinct alalogue image, blurry – possibly due to it being out of adjustment!
The opportunity to use this as part of an installation is seductive. Three buttons (to release gate, activate screen and to speak) and a the button on the handset cradle will all be nice interactive elements. There are dials to adjust the brightness and contrast of the CRT.
Possible uses: live CCTV around the world, CCTV recorded footage of crimes, surveillance of the space with hidden cameras – all linked to a Raspberry Pi zero hidden inside the case.
Inspired by: Live VJ performance of live webcam streams by Magnus Bugge last year at Transmediale (2018) of CCTV – around the planet in real time. This inspired me to look further. I also have footage of the theft of my motorcycle outside, I might use that. Further possibilities showing apocalytic/dystopian/soothing imagery driven by temperature sensors in phone handset/OSC/direct intervention of the visitor operating buttons on the unit – all used by the viewer.
The manufacturer is still in business in the UK and they do not offer a manual for this unit, as it is discontinued but I have contacted them for any information they might have on file. Spoke on the phone to a very helpful person, expecting to get spec sheets soon!
John Cleave at Videx tech support kindly sent me this manual with details of the Videx unit: ”
Hi James, The 901NC is an obsolete handset so I don't have a lot of information on it unfortunately, you can find information on the connections on page 5 of the attached manual and wiring diagrams from pages 51 - 59. Many thanks, John Cleave900 series video
(Life: A User’s Manual – Michelle Teran’s performance ‘Life: A User’s Manual’ was nominated for its political intervention and the experimental risk it takes. Her exploration of public and private space makes a comment on the use of surveillance cameras in contemporary urban settings. The jury was convinced by the act of subverting existing surveillance tactics by transmitting the camera’s footage to the public.)