Veken and I had a lazy day yesterday wandering lower Manhattan, taking the ferry from South Street Seaport to Fulton Landing/DUMBO and coming across the gimmicky Telectroscope, which is supposed to allow viewers the ability to look through a fictional tunnel connecting New York and London. Its sister telescope sits on the bank of the Thames under the shadow of the Tower of London.
As the New York Times reports:
The Victorian-looking contraption is the invention of Paul St George, a 53-year-old artist based in London — or, if you believe the gadget’s supposed history, of his great-grandfather Alexander Stanhope St George. According to his very own fake Wikipedia entry [which may be deleted by now because it is obviously false], Alexander (born July 8, 1848; died Oct. 12, 1917) was “a British inventor and researcher” who came up with a feasible design for a device to connect places on opposite sides of the world visually through a very long tunnel, and even began digging under the Atlantic to make his creation work. According to Paul St George — well, all of this is according to Paul St George.
The line was longer than I expected but quick (it took us less than 5 minutes to make it to the front)…on the London end there didn’t appear to be any line (granted it was 1am across the pond).
It was an interesting experience to see people on the other side in such a full-body and large-scale video image–we rarely see live video on this scale. But I have to admit I thought the concept was dated and little dull in a culture already obsessed with online video.