Friday, May 23, 2008

Fancy saying hello?

The Arts Council of Great Britain in conjunction with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (and others) have installed the most amazing thing - the Telectroscope! As a tribute to this hoax device - allegedly a forerunner of modern television - two huge scaled-up models have been installed in London (South Bank by the Mayor's Office) and in New York (by the Brooklyn Bridge). But these are not just ambient sculptures ... they work! The devices allow simultaneous viewing on both sides of the Atlantic. In London, we can see New Yorkers peering back at us in real time - and vice versa. It's a fantastic idea! And it looks gorgeous too, all brassy and Victorian. As a build up to the official unvieling, they even had a 'drill bit' emerge from the pavement to symbolise the idea that some kind of tunnel had been constructed between the two countries (see above).

The idea is the brainchild of artist Paul St George and it's proving to be immensely popular over here. People have been standing in front of it all day long, holding up placards and signs for their loved ones overseas to read. There's even been some attempts at courtship with young men and women swapping saucy messages and phone numbers. It's been on display for two days now and there's no sign of interest waning. It'll remain there until June 15th.

I realise that it's really just a giant webcam but somehow it's much more exciting than that. It all comes back to what we were discussing in previous posts - we are compulsive communicators and something like this brings out the best in us. There's something extraordinary about looking down a tube and seeing someone smiling and waving back at you in real time. You don't get that on Facebook.
If any readers in New York fancy a wave from me, let me know and we'll arrange a time.

Want to read more about it? Try here or here or the official site here.

Photos by Matthew Andrews and Billy Abbott (Cowfish)


G said...

A friend of mine lent me a book on The Sultan's Elephant, that fantastic, huge moveable art piece that Londoners got to experience a few years back. Why is London so good at these giant whimsical pieces that so many can enjoy? We have nothing like that here. I suspect large amounts of bureaucracy and huge voids of imagination at City Hall is accountable.

Stevyn Colgan said...

I don't know whether it's London specifically. There are some great pieces all over the UK. I'll put some of my favourites up on a post some time.

But Canada must have some good stuff, surely?

Unknown said...

I read about this online and thought it was so fun and cool I also blogged about it. I am just disappointed it's not a permanent fixture, as I have blog friends in NYC I could have fixed a meet with when I was next home :-(

Stevyn Colgan said...

Isn't it great? Hopefully I'll have some pics of me waving to some of my friends in NYC later this week.