Tuesday, May 27, 2008
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.