CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A specially equipped shipping container at Harvard University is giving students the rare chance to connect with Syrian refugees a world away.
As if walking into a golden box didn't feel magical enough, once I stepped through the draped center part of its wispy black curtains, an enchanted travel nostalgia fell over me. Immediately I had been transported from the sidewalk of my Colorado University campus to Berlin, Germany. Three gentlemen sat across from where I stood, their bodies so closely to scale that it felt like we were in the same room. Shared_Studios had set up one of its portals next to the Library, but I felt like I was in a German cafe. With starstruck and giddy emotion, I joined another student from my city whom I had never met. Soon after, another peer joined us. The quality of the audio-video technology made the conversation effortless, because it was as though our parties were face to face.
Sharing: it’s a pretty standard thing to do in this age of social media. We share thoughts, photos, videos, articles. Shared Studios has set up 20 gold-coloured shipping containers equipped with immersive audio-visual technology in diverse locations around the world and networked them with each other. Places such as Kabul, Erbil, Amman, Mumbai, Washington, Berlin, Kigali, and El Progreso have been turned into communication points, into transmitters and receivers. What for? To share events.