Before dawn on a freezing February morning, Amar Bakshi watched as a crane lifted a gold-colored shipping container off a flatbed truck outside the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Conn. As diplomats consider a deal over Iran’s nuclear program, the shipping container is Mr. Bakshi’s attempt at restoring a relationship with that country.
On their way to this month’s 70th United Nation’s General Assembly, the organization’s annual high-level meeting in New York, diplomats and world leaders will pass by a makeshift glass structure—both a glossy multi-media hub, and a gateway to an entirely different world.
In 2009 the New Museum in New York presented “It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq,” a commission by British Artist Jeremy Deller. I left the museum with quiet tears streaming down my face, deeply moved by the experience. Deller placed a living room setup in the middle of the floor and curated a group of veterans, journalists, scholars, and Iraqi nationals to have an unrestrained open dialogue with the visitors. I sat alone with Nour al-Khal, who worked as a translator in Basra and survived journalist Steven Vincent in 2005 when they were abducted, beaten, and shot by armed men. We spoke about her nightmares, the isolation she feels living as a refugee in New York, her incessant fear for her family still in Iraq, and the brutal reality of young girls in conflict zones too often becoming sex slaves. This relatively brief conversation had a profound impact on me, and I was immediately reminded of it when I stepped into a Portal.
Apprehension looming, a handful of students from Peter Simonson’s senior seminar class “Listening, questioning, speaking” walked inside a golden shipping container outside of Folsom Field on Tuesday morning. Inside, a floor to ceiling projector and a pinhole camera connected them to four refugees, most barefoot, sitting in 1,500-person camp in Erbil, Iraq. Communications major Molly Serhan, 22, didn’t know what to expect. “I’m kind of nervous,” she said. “I don’t really want politics to be brought up because of what’s been happening in Syria. I just don’t know what to say about it.”
Amar Baksi —un estudiante de Derecho en la Universidad Yale— inauguró el Portals Project (Proyecto de Portales) en 2014 con el fin de conectar a personas que en caso contrario nunca se hubieran conocido. Los ‘portales’ —contenedores de carga pintados de dorado cuyos interiores están revestidos de una alfombra gris— permiten a personas en ciudades en todo el mundo — desde Brooklyn a México DF a Kabul— a comunicarse mediante videoconferencias. Pero no es sólo una publicitada versión offline de Skype: la pantalla llena la mayor parte de una pared y permite a cada participante a ver al otro de pies a cabeza, lo cual los hace sentir como si estuvieran en el mismo cuarto, aunque estén a miles de millas de distancia.
“One of the most surprising things was how real the interactions felt with the folks on the other side,” Bickert said. “I went into it thinking it was like a Skype or FaceTime call, but because of the scale, you are talking with people who are life-size. It’s real life.”
I just walked into a shipping container and took a selfie with three strangers in Gaza, all without leaving Australia. It was a thoroughly surreal experience. But it was also an awesome example of how tech has the power to connect people across geographical, political and language barriers.
The Portal at Harvard Divinity School connects to the world.
This fall, Jacob Martinez took his first college course. For many, that's an expected milestone. For Martinez, it was an unexpected achievement. He's a middle school dropout who is incarcerated at a state-operated youth detention facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Now that the kids are out of school, let’s hear what kind of shenanigans they’ll be up to once they get back in after the break. They’ll step into a portal to the world, no less, at the Winthrop Elementary School between February 25 and March 3. While there, they’ll have an old chinwag with kids from the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, or other parts of the United States.
The Dallas_Portal was funded by a group of local donors who wanted to give the experience as a gift. Shared_Studios attributed Klyde Warren Park as the ideal urban space for the Portal to be nestled, as it sits between the business community and arts district. “Known for connecting the city’s Uptown and Downtown sectors, Klyde Warren Park is now helping its patrons make global connections,” says Kit Sawers, president of Klyde Warren Park. “We’re committed to offering free programming that continues to connect people of all generations, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds, here in Dallas and around the world.”
On a recent December morning, five twenty-somethings gathered inside a gold shipping container at Bonton Farms in Southeast Dallas. It was like a mini movie auditorium with a large projector screen. On the screen, they could see and talk with two young men in Herat, Afghanistan. “I have one question: What is the temperature there?” asked 21-year-old Racquel Ashe, who works for the education nonprofit City Year Dallas. It was 40 degrees in Dallas, but outside the cold container, it felt closer to 30. That day, it was warmer in Afghanistan. “In Celsius here, it feels like it’s 5,” said Ashe’s colleague, 22-year-old Elizabeth Bonnell. “It’s cold. We’re all shaking.” This shipping container is called a portal. They’ve been placed all around the world, courtesy of a nonprofit called Shared Studios. The mission is simple: connect people who may otherwise never get the chance to meet.
In dialogue with our sibling sites, we co-create the programming of the PHI_portal with and for our communities, inviting guests into an intimate space of possibility — through conversations, performances, listening sessions, readings and shared meals. Within this transnational curatorial network, distance is a force to move with, rather than against. The linguistic, geopolitical, and cultural specificities of each portal entangle us in a web of borders as we attempt to negotiate differences.
Her name is Mahsa Biglow, and she is a 25-year-old Iranian graduate student in photography at the University of Tehran. They met on the Internet — but not in any of the usual ways.
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.
While new technologies allow us to connect across boundaries as never before, we too often use them to insulate ourselves in our own communities. By conversing through a Portal, participants step out of their comfort zones, talk to someone completely unrelated to their individual lives and discover the multitude of amazing things happening all over the world. For SCMM there will be a mix of programmed interactions and open hours for all Mumbaikars to come and experience the portal.
During its seven-week-long run, the portable communications hub has linked up to cities in the US as well as Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Myanmar.
A hackathon set to be held next week is bringing together students and medical workers in Baltimore and Gaza City. It won’t involve travel. Instead, the key to link lies within a gold shipping container.
Education often brings students to new places, but it looks like that may be more true than ever for Andover students in the coming months.
Imagine: Dancing next to a life-size figure, your iPhone blaring a favorite tune. But the person facing you isn’t there. She’s thousands of miles away in Iraq, tucked in a room much like yours. And yet together, you share a moment.
The proposition next to the radiant, gold-painted shipping container is simple and inviting. "Portals" the sign reads. "Step inside and engage people around the world, live, as if in the same room."
Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 was transported to Mexico City, Mexico on Thursday by visiting the Portal at Cornell, speaking about U.S. international relations during the Trump presidency with political consultant Luis Daniel Perez Vazquez.
The world is more interconnected than ever before — and the need to bridge political and ideological divides has never been more urgent. Now is the time to examine the rules of genuine human engagement, to find common ground for respectful, passionate discourse and to celebrate civility.
Emerging technology holds vast promise to augment the human experience. Enterprise companies and governments tout the impact that AI, ubiquitous high-speed networks, and big-data analytics are having on society, while evaluating how to sustainably and ethically leverage new levels of transparency and connectivity to make humans smarter, more efficient and productive.
A soft opening for the Portal was held last week, which Goldstein said was "very successful." One day started with a 10 a.m. connection to San Juan, Puerto Rico and was followed by a connection to Nigeria at noon.
Fans at Al Bidda park were able to connect with fellow football lovers from around the world -including the besieged Gaza Strip – using the ‘Doha Portal’. The Al Bidda Park joined the local and global celebrations of the World Cup, uniting populations across the world on the kickoff date of the major sports event.
A new UN Live program is trying to mediate inclusivity issues at COP27 through "digital portals," or repurposed shipping containers placed around the world and outfitted for long-distance conversations.
In the last of BusinessGreen's dispatches from COP27, UN Live's Molly Fannon reflects on the the importance of getting a broad spectrum of voices heard at summits Having just returned from COP27, my inherent hope is now firmly rooted in an energised anger about the voices that are missing. And the knowledge that not only can we correct that loud silence, but we...