The Time Tunnel in the matte Painting is surrounded by a second tunnel which has a mirrored texture. My guess is it is intended to be a cryogenic super conducting device to handle vast amounts of power.
The smear in the top of the picture of the super conducting tunnel image on the right above is just a background image to show the reflectiveness of the surface.
When I rendered the image with a white ground and white background, the reflective tunnel just disappeared. If you look closely down the time tunnel and along the outside of the time tunnel you can see the forced perspective inside the time tunnel. In the view of the time tunnel above, where you can see inside the segments, you can see the inner tunnel segments get smaller the farther they get from the opening.
The flashing surfaces in the tunnel are built into the texture of each tunnel segment surface. There is an image mapped for glow intensity, so the center of each segment appears to have light centered in the arch that falls off in intensity toward the edges. The light pulsing rate is built into the texture. I have a version of the Time Tunnel where the segments are off. I'm going to build a version where the segments flash with random frequency and random intensity which will show the tunnel out of sync with the natural time line.