Friday, May 30, 2008

Adventures - The Telectroscope (Updated)

I'm heading into New York today and will try to check out the Telectroscope or "transatlantic telescope" as blogged about previously. Pictures and footage to follow!


As promised, my report on the Telectroscope! I've been getting a lot of traffic from people looking for information about it, so here you go:

I took the A train to High St. in Brooklyn. When you emerge, just head towards the bridge and follow along the left side of it until you reach the water - and there it is!

It looks a lot like a telescope. Luckily, it wasn't too crowded either. Some cool tidbits from my Telectroscope experience:

- The staff handed out whiteboards and markers for communicating with our counterparts in London, near Tower Bridge (the Telectroscope has no audio, just the visual). They keep hoping for someone to propose marriage or discover world peace through it; but mainly, we wrote things like "New York Calling!" or "Hello!" or "So anyways, do you just want to call me?"

- It appeared to be raining in London as some of the Other Siders had umbrellas out. One guy near me emphasized his sunglasses and how nice the weather was in New York. This was met with shrugs and good humour on the London side.

- I tried to communicate through interpretive dance, the language of international relations. I did this worm thing with my arms and sure enough, some guy on the other side did it back. Awesome.

- A girl in London started blowing kisses at everyone, which led to a funny bout of miming affection through the great glass tube. It must have been weird for people walking by to see a group of men pretending to fall backwards in front of a giant telescope.

- One couple had made an appointment to meet friends in London through the scope...and they found them!

The strange and somewhat eerie part of the experience is communicating in silence across a great distance. The white boards gave it a bit of a verbal element, like the Internet, but people primarily reacted to movement and gestures, which heightened the sense of distance, like a farmer waving to you from his tractor far away. Strange, fun and highly recommended.