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Fortunately, Austrian filmmaker Benjamin Hable has discovered that you can use your cell phone, digital camera, or other CCD-equipped gadget (rather like the special sunglasses discovered by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s character in John Carpenter’s 1988 conspiranoia flick They Live) to see the fnords. Benjamin made Augmented Paranoia for a January 17 exhibition called bits and ohm, and used the public-domain portrait of Stephen Colbert released for the Colbert Nation Portrait Challenge. Reminds me of a project I did a few years back (also inspired by They Live) involving deliberately burning subliminal messages into the phosphors of analog TV tubes. [Thanks, Benjamin!]

IR Paintings Visible Only Through Your Digital Camera

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.



  1. Anonymous says:

    That’s not subliminal; it’s subluminal!

  2. Anonymous says:

    So many keen tools at hand, how did he get seperated from his dictionary?

    1. Documenting and cutting this video was sort of a “middle of the night” operation. Tell me my mistakes and I’ll gladly apply the corrections.

      1. Anonymous says:

        First, my apologies for being so snotty to you — in the final, funny captioning you want “These messages are separated…” as opposed to “seperated.”

        I know. I can’t help it.

        1. No problem, it’s not my native language, so I’m not offended or something.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What awesome software allows those object-tracking captions?

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