A Yale Law research project titled "The Criminal Justice Dialogues" brings strangers from across the country together to discuss issues inside an air-conditioned "golden portal." Gordon Tokumatsu reports for the NBC4 News.
Thousands of commuters buzz by it; dozens more see it from the Starbucks line less than 100 feet away. But only a few enter this gold box in the middle of downtown Los Angeles' Grand Park.
"That was amazing," Bernadine Harris said as she stepped out of the shipping container covered in gold paint.
Moments before, she was speaking live to an Iraqi refugee standing in front of her — on a large video screen.
LOS ANGELES (CN) – Inside the gleaming dark gold shipping container in LA’s Grand Park, the three art students giggled uneasily. They sat in a room carpeted from floor to ceiling in charcoal gray, facing a screen that showed two Iraqi men, Muhammad and Rami, sitting on lime-green plastic chairs in a similarly enclosed space.
We’re taught from a young age to not talk to strangers, a lesson that’s been reinforced by the Taken franchise and most episodes of CSI. But Amar Bakshi, founder of the multidisciplinary collective Shared Studios, has come up with an exception to that rule. Bakshi is the creator of Portals, a global art project that could be described as the 21st century’s answer to a pen pal. The idea is to provide a space—in this case a gold-painted shipping container outfitted with a giant video screen—where two strangers can have a face-to-face conversation despite being half a world apart. One such portal is stationed in Grand Park from April 10 through 23.