At that point, the windows, made of electrochromic smart glass, automatically change from transparent to opaque, providing privacy for the visitor. The visitor asks a question. The Oracle responds with sounds and language, and a printer prints out the answer, in the form of lines of poetry, for the visitor to take.
The windows change back to transparent, and the visitor leaves. At the same time, at four other locations in the downtown, the same answer is transmitted and displayed for the public to see.
“These oracle answers, lines of poetry, fill the urban spaces of Beverly, the other four locations, becoming part of the shared public realm,” Schuleit Haber wrote in her proposal. “Everybody watches, wonders, participates.”
The proposal does not say how those answers will be displayed. The locations are at the train station and at three corners of Cabot Street, at Central, Dane and Winter streets.
As part of the project, Schuleit Haber said she would spend three months traveling around the country speaking to poets and writers to develop the Oracle’s answers. She said in her proposal that the project would knit together the city’s cultural district and attract visitors.
“They come to Beverly to visit the Oracle they have read about, seen pictures of, heard rumors about from others, who have gone before them,” she wrote.
Immerman said Schuleit Haber has been asked to refine her idea, and the proposal is not yet finalized. He said there will be a “long process” of public input and discussions about the feasibility of the project.
“Conceptually, I think it’s fascinating,” he said. “The devil’s in the details, and it’s going to be a lot to work through.”
A timeline in the proposal says the building, testing and opening of the project would take place between August 2014 and August 2015.