We recently stood at a door in New York. We walked through that door and faced a person inside Iran. That was the concept of an art installation which started in New York and whose creators hope to take it elsewhere. They invited us to try. Walk into a common steel shipping container painted gold.
“What is your favorite book?” asked the woman. "I don't know, maybe Catcher in the Rye," said the man. The woman is inside a golden shipping container in the Lu Magnus Gallery in the Lower East Side. The man is in an artist's studio in Tehran, Iran. And they have never met before.
On Friday morning, a portal opened between New York City and Tehran. For the next two weeks, people in either city can walk into a scale-replica of a shipping container outfitted with an AV connection to the other city and have a live, impromptu chat with a stranger partway around the globe. The project is called A Portal Between Tehran and NYC.
When the Harvard- and Yale Law-educated artist and journalist Amar Bakshi, born and raised in Washington D.C., was traveling the globe seven years ago for his How the World Sees America interview series, he realized something: People often kept letters from American pen pals dating back to the 1980s, before the Internet made other modes of international correspondence possible.