Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Trinity Effect

I'm a sucker for little museums, and this has to be one of the smallest, a tribute to Michael Faraday housed in a garden shed. It can be found at Trinity Buoy Wharf, the site of London's only working lighthouse, formerly the site of workshops where shipping buoys were repaired. Sited in Tower Hamlets, where Bow Creek debouches into the Thames, it's one of those odd, overlooked corners of London that isn't on the way to anywhere else. The wharf has been made over into an art quarter, and despite the corporate-bohemian feel (that web site, plaques overexplaining the 'heritage', a visitors' centre), the area is a nice mix of industrial activity and Victorian decay. There are workshops, studios housed in repurposed shipping containers, an American diner (closed, darn it, when I visited on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year's Day), and the Longplayer installation.

Composed by Jem Finer for Tibetan singing bowls, the Longplayer is designed to play for a thousand years (it started on January 1st, 2000). There's a listening post up in the old lighthouse, which gives lovely views across the river; I was inspired then and there to write a short story about a similar installation orbiting inside Saturn's rings.


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