The San Francisco Portal, which made its first appearance in Hayes Valley in 2015, is opening the door to global communication again at Crissy Field. You just have to book a reservation online (it's free of charge) to slip into the gold-painted box that's parked on the lawn; you can then have a 20-minutes live conversation with someone who lives on the other side of the world.
As the shipping container door closed, blocking out the sunlight and whipping wind of a San Francisco summer afternoon, I was instantly transported to Mexico City.
New Elon Musk-designed teleportation device? Nope. This is public art. Specifically, the return of Portals, a project by the local art and design collective Shared_Studios. Portals acts as a virtual bridge to Afghanistan, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Germany, Rwanda, and Mexico, where identical shipping containers have been furnished with a simple screen and black soundproof padding on the walls, allowing inhabitants to connect and communicate with people on the other side of the world. San Franciscans will be able to enter these gold-painted containers starting July 20 and—with a little help from some immersive audiovisual technology, the National Parks Service, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy—be transported to another place.
Bay Area residents will soon have a new way to see the likes of Mexico City and Kabul – in a shipping container.
While modest from the outside, those who enter the stranded crate in Crissy Field will immediately be connected to participants in another country. The live broadcast will allow each party to engage and interact for 20 minutes, something that is usually impossible without a plane ticket. Language barriers will also be torn down by an interpreter.
Tracy Brandi looked at an 8-foot-tall projector screen in San Francisco’s Crissy Field on Thursday morning. Half a world away, three students at Catholic University in Nairobi, Kenya, looked back.
The screen, which sits inside a gold-painted shipping container, connects people around the world through video chats. For three years, a New York company has set up the screens they call “portals” to connect people who would otherwise never meet — and now there’s one in San Francisco.
I walked into a shipping trailer parked on the ground outside a museum and stepped into an immersive audio visual technology. It looked like I stepped into a room with half a dozen young people, only they were half a world away in Gaza City, Palestine. The magic of Shared Studio portals.
An upcoming art installation at San Francisco's Crissy Field will feature a meet and greet with strangers thousands of miles away.
The "Portal" exhibit, created by Shared_Studios and made possible by partnerships with Luminalt, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and the National Park Service, brings a "gold-painted shipping container filled with immersive audiovisual equipment" to the park. The container will allow up to eight people at a time in San Francisco to enter and meet people at one of 20 other portals around the world, including Honduras, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico, and elsewhere. Language interpretation assistance, of course, will be provided.
The San Francisco Portal created by the group Shared Studios originally made a brief appearance in Hayes Valley in the fall of 2015, as you can see in the Instagram post below. At the time, KALW wrote about the project, begun in 2014 by artist Amar Bakshi, placing gold shipping containers in cities across the world, connected by Skype.
For the first time since the gold shipping container appeared outside of the Pioneers Museum, its owners have given a glimpse of its purpose.
On Saturday afternoon, the inside of the container served as a concert venue for members of the band Mo' Mungus - Ed "Archtop Eddy" Parsons, Gerard Mali and Claude Petersen. Their audience was not their regular Colorado Springs crowd, though. Instead, the band played in live time for Norma and Herardo, a pair of friends dancing in an identical space in Mexico City.
20 June 2017 – Kigali – On this day, the world marked World Refugee Day, joining to recognize the lives of refugees from all around the world. In Kigali, Shared Studios, an American NGO, partnered with the Rwandan NGO Kurema, Kureba, Kwiga to host a Portal™ event at the Impact Hub. Portals are spaces equipped with immersive audiovisual technology which brings people from connecting locations face-to-face. These spaces facilitate cross-cultural communication and understanding.