A Portal connecting Kabul to the world, with human-scaled video-chat. Talk, connect, collaborate as if you’re in the same room.
Portals are a global public art initiative created by Shared_Studios. They are shipping containers that are painted gold and set up with immersive human-scaled video-chat in cities all over the globe. People enter these Portals to collaborate or just have a conversation with someone across the world as if in the same room.
The Portal project offers true connection across cultures and time zones. The Portal creates an immersive experience that early users have described as ‘like breathing the same air’. One participant noted: ‘I had goose-bumps and wanted to reach out and touch the screen.’
Portals have already been set up in Tehran, Mexico City, Havana, Herat, and a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan with the United Nations. In the US, there have been Portals in San Francisco, New York City, and various universities. It is now time to connect Kabul to this global network of portals.
Such a portal offers the opportunity for artistic collaborations across borders and boundaries. The portal in Kabul will host:
– collaborations between arts students from Kabul University and art students in the US (live sketching, performance art, artist talks)
– poetry recitals by young Afghan poets linking them with other poets writing in Persian in Iran.
– concerts of Afghan music with members of the Afghan diaspora on the east and west coast of America.
– conversations/meetings between young Afghan designers and artists with US designers and retailers, allowing US designers to see Afghan artists’ work in real-time, full-scale, and as if they are in the same room.
Making these face-to-face connections could not be more timely. As one of Turquoise Mountain’s Afghan artists put it, ‘Afghanistan is viewed by many in the world as little more than a battleground’. We believe that person-to-person exchange is the most effective means to break down stereotypes, increase understanding, and foster empathy.
We want to bring the world together, one Portal at a time.
Turquoise Mountain is a British arts charity that has been working in Afghanistan since 2006. Our projects have included the restoration of historic buildings, vocational training in the traditional arts, contemporary art competitions, international exhibitions on Afghan culture, and business training for artisans. We’ve restored or rebuilt over 100 buildings in Kabul, trained hundreds in traditional arts, and supported many artisans become businesses. We’re putting on an exhibition on Afghan arts and culture with the Freer and Sackler Galleries, opening in March 2016.
Shared_Studios is a multidisciplinary arts, design, and technology collective. We are creating a global network of interconnected gold shipping containers. Together they form a global community center where people can engage one another across myriad forms of distance.
Since launching in late 2014, more than 5,000 people in the U.S., Afghanistan, Cuba, Honduras, Iran, and Mexico have engaged in private, 20-minute dialogues with strangers through Portals. In addition, hundreds of artists, students, academics and other professionals have collaborated; students have engaged with teachers abroad; and families have reunited.