Calling all London tourists — Peter Pan, Sherlock Holmes and Queen Victoria want to have a word with you.
A new interactive arts project is giving a voice to dozens of statues of historical and fictional characters in London, allowing them to tell their stories and entertain curious visitors and weary commuters as they pass by.
To get an instant “call” from one of the statues — say from one depicting Isaac Newton at the British Library — people can swipe their smartphones on a plaque to scan a digital code, or type in a Web address. They can then listen to a monologue from the character, played by actors including Patrick Stewart and Hugh Bonneville, famous from the British TV series Downton Abbey.
In total, 35 statues in London and Manchester are featured. The choices are eclectic — along with Holmes, who laments the absence of Dr Watson by his side at Baker Street station, there is author Samuel Johnson’s cat Hodge and an unnamed couple on a bench. Some educate with a bit of history, but most come with a healthy dose of humor.
Queen Victoria’s starts, “Thank you for calling me on this strange machine. I have become very bored sitting here all day holding an extremely heavy scepter and orb.”