Shining brightly on the Aspen Institute campus this week is a portal to another space. It’s a project of Shared Studios LLC. It’s a temporary set up, mirroring the gold-painted shipping containers placed in public areas all over the world that provide audio and video connection to other portals. Or, more accurately, provide human connection.
It looks like a shipping container, but it's so much more. This gold painted portal is allowing people in Milwaukee to connect with portals in 29 countries. On Friday, thoughts on crime prevention were exchanged. Conversations in the Milwaukee portal are being recorded. The dialogue will be shared with researchers at Yale University, who are trying to better understand the public perception of police.
A formal opening ceremony for the exhibition entitled “Refugees” will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, 20 June, in the Visitors’ Lobby at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The exhibit is organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in collaboration with the UN SDG [Sustainable Development Goals] Action Campaign, and the Department of Public Information.
What do Newark, New Jersey, and Milwaukee’s Amani neighborhood have in common? They’re both high-crime, high-homicide and highly policed, and right now, a public park in each is hosting a gold-painted shipping container designed to facilitate conversations between the two cities about criminal justice and incarceration.
NEWARK — It's the one shipping container that can travel across the world without leaving New Jersey.
The "portal," a repurposed container that was installed as a temporary exhibit in Newark's Military Park last month, is part of a global artist initiative to connect strangers around the world. The container is equipped with technology that allows users to video chat with people in similar portals that have been placed in other cities around the world.
The Stanford Portal, a long-distance video-chatting booth which facilitates conversation between Stanford students and individuals in portals in Kigali, Rwanda, Heart, Afghanistan and Mexico City, has been operating outside of Crothers Memorial since May 2. So far, student experiences have been overwhelmingly positive.
Caroline Neel, Stanford’s Portal Curator, explained the appeal.
“We’re trying to recreate something that’s pretty normal, like meeting a stranger,” Neel said.
According to Neel, an important part of the experience is to make the user feel like they are having a normal conversation. To do so, Shared_Studios – the collective leading the project – takes empty shipping containers and fits them with carpet to create a natural room environment. Live footage from the other portal is then projected onto the wall.
“You’re seeing a life-size person as if they’re really there,” Neel said.
Every portal operates in the same way. According to Neel, this creates parallel experiences in completely different parts of the world.
Savannah Pham ’18 had a conversation with a 27-year-old man from Kigali.
“First it [was] a little awkward, because I’ve never seen this person and never experienced his culture before, but it got a lot easier,” Pham said. “We ended up bonding over the fact that we like helping other people and want to go into education.”
Discovering similarities between the people using the portal has been a common theme for Stanford students. According to Pham, the experience gave unique insight into how completely different countries and cultures can still have shared experiences in their day-to-day lives.
Although a translator was present, just in case, almost all communication occurs without the help of the translator, which students describe as adding similarity and comfort to the conversation.
Neel echoed this idea, adding that these interactions served to break down cultural barriers.
According to Neel, who talked to different students after their sessions in the portal, this facilitation of dialogue is very important in the current politically charged times. Some students, she said, came out wanting to discuss the need for discourse between Middle Eastern countries like Afghanistan and the United States to stop cultural preconceptions we may have.
Neel also recounted one of the Portal interactions in which a Stanford student played ukulele in the portal while the Rwandan person sung along from the other side of the world.
In another case, a student from Seattle who had conversed with an individual from Kigali, Rwanda, who is visiting Seattle in six months. Neel exchanged their email information so they can meet in person.
Since these conversations are brief, many of the participants choose to avoid small talk and often focus on more intimate questions. As a result, people can grow close in these exchanges.
“He asked me, ‘so what is your dream?’ and it caught me off guard, because people here don’t ask me that,” Pham said.
The Portal will be open to students who make reservations until May 12.
While celebrating May Day in Kigali this year, University of Rwanda student INNOCENT UDAHEMUKA stopped by Stanford for a visit – well, almost.
Stepping into a gold-painted, soundproofed shipping container, Udahemuka stood in just the right spot for the mic to pick him up, the cameras to provide a full-body projection and the 4G connection to deliver him to a similar container in front of Crothers Hall on the Stanford campus. Udahemuka was in Rwanda.
Hello world, there is so much going on in this video. At least way too much for me to start describing it in my own words (AGAIN) So ..... check out links below to all of the interesting people/experiences I bumped into on the 5th of May.
I N O R D E R O F A P P E A R A N C E ..... L O L
+ 4 BLOOMS | https://twitter.com/4bloomskgl
+ 4G SQ SPACE | http://www.itnewsafrica.com/2015/07/4...
+ SMAYAH’S BLOG | http://smayahworld.blogspot.com
+ RWANDA UNLOCKED | https://www.facebook.com/rwandaunlocked/
+ JIM THE ARTIST| +250722129160
+ KUREMA KUREBA KWIGA | https://www.facebook.com/KuremaKureba...
+ SHARED STUDIOS | http://www.sharedstudios.com
C O N N E C T
+ Blog : https://angelascapsule.squarespace.co...
+ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Angelascapsule
+ Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelasCapsule
+ Snapchat: Angelas_World
C O N T A C T
+ Any Business inquiries or collabs : firstname.lastname@example.org
M U S I C
+Tiwa Savage ft Busy Signal
This week, a golden shipping container will be standing in front of Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library. It’s an installation called a Shared Studio Portal, and it’s one of several around the world that connect strangers for 20-minute video chats.