Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Telectroscope

LONDON (AFP) - An arresting new artistic landmark is drawing crowds in London and New York, intrigued at being able to wave to each other through what is teasingly presented as a a huge Trans Atlantic tunnel.

From its London end next to City Hall on the south bank of the River Thames, tourists and locals can see people at the other end of the Telectroscope, by the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

Tourists tend to wave or hold up signs reading "Hello from London" to people at the other end of the device, which emerges from the ground like a giant tunnel breaking through the surface after passing under the Atlantic.

But those behind the device -- which is understood to rely on more 21st-century technology to relay real-time images -- say it could serve more useful purposes.

"There are all sorts of possibilities -- you could arrange to meet friends in New York or even propose marriage down it," said Nicky Webb, head of the devices' production company, Artichoke.

With a name which sounds like something from a 1950s science fiction novel, the Telectroscope is the brainchild of 53-year-old British artist, Paul St George.

The website publicising his device, which opened to the public this month, includes spoof diagrams of how the "tunnel" was built, and explaining how a system of mirrors brings the images from either end.

Telling an imaginative tale of how his great-grandfather began the Trans Atlantic project, there is even a picture of the artist with shovel in hand in an underground tunnel.

"Hardly anyone knows that a secret tunnel runs deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean. In May 2008, more than a century after it was begun, the tunnel has finally been completed," it says.

More mundanely, the Telectroscope is thought to use a broadband Internet connection to provide high-resolution video of those looking into it, for a charge of one pound (two dollars, 1.25 euros) at the London end.


Alexander said...

Ah, so that's where that fabled Iraqi supergun was all along. Right before our eyes :o

Martin said...


Hiding there in downtown NY and London.

Anonymous said...

Amazing isn't it, how a technology that's been around for decades and is in most people's homes and offices is, all of a sudden, propelled to new heights of stardom, intrigue and excitement because some dude put a pretty frame around it and concoted a fascinating bunch of rather pleasant lies as to how it works?!

It's only a webcam...but the social comment is worth so much more! lol...perhaps there are no more inventions to get excited about any more? Where is our generations Steam Engine, Electricity, Telephone, Spinning Jenny, or Moon Landing? We have the Internet, sure...but surely that in itself is merely an innovation rather than an invention, is it not? Merely making everything that was always available somewhat easier to get hold of...a revolution indeed, but can it equate to the Wright brothers' first flight, or John Logi Baird's television? (Wouldn't he be pissed if he saw how his invention was being wasted nowadays?)

Perhaps our next real leap will be a permanently manned space station and/or the final creation of the much anticipated 'space elevator' that would blast open the new frontier of the cosmos? Until then...god bless artists. Who never shy away in the face of reptition; they'll keep us amused :-)

Martin said...

Hey anonymous

Nice post thanks. We share similar views. A manned space station, or (joy of joys) a space elevator would be fantastic!

We have had the technology for a while now. Just not the political will power to do it.