By Jared Vineyard
If you see a golden shipping container, step inside and be instantly transported to another part of the world.
It sounds like science fiction or fantasy, but these portals exist.
No, they haven’t actually invented teleportation; however, this may just be the most innovative use of shipping containers yet. And it’s such a simple idea. All it really takes is a shipping container, a camera, a microphone, and an internet connection. Oh yeah, and some gold paint.
Shipping containers have been put to all kinds of uses around the world besides, you know, actually shipping things. Shipping containers have been turned into homes (often surprisingly good looking ones), shops, swimming pools, schools… The list goes on and on.
What Shared Studios has done is made shipping containers a means of communication between people of different cultures who are thousands miles apart. Shared Studios paints these shipping containers gold and calls them Portals.
Here’s how Shared Studios describes Portals:
While you’re not physically transported across the globe, Shared Studios has worked hard to make it feel like you’re in the same space as a person thousands of miles away when you step into a “portal”.
A Forbes article by Emma Sandler first informed me of Yale Law School-educated artist and journalist Amar Bakshi and multimedia journalist Michelle Moghtader starting Portals in 2014 and having their project become a part of the U.N.’s “Refugees” exhibit.
From there, I found several articles on how Portals are connecting strangers around the world. Eventually, I found my way to Shared Studios’ site, where I learned “portals” are spreading around the world while other projects like Tunnels, interconnected playgrounds that children can interact with other kids from around the world, are being created.
All of these projects have potential, but Portals is the one that really seems to be taking off. And we always like hearing about projects with shipping containers after they’re done taking off with shippers’ cargo.