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Portals are gold shipping containers with immersive audio-visual tech inside. Enter one and come face-to-face with someone in another.
Portals are gold shipping containers with immersive audio-visual tech inside. Enter one and come face-to-face with someone in another.
331 backers pledged $60,592 to help bring this project to life.

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$60,592

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Portals are gold shipping containers equipped with immersive audio-visual technology inside.

When you enter one you come face-to-face with someone in another Portal and the two of you can talk, sing and dance as if in the same room.

Think: Being John Malkovich

Except real, and connecting places that need to talk like Iran & the US, two countries divided by decades of animosity.

 

So we put one Portal in Iran and one in the U.S.

 

And in just a few weeks, over a thousand people in both countries entered the Portal one-at-a-time. 

They met a stranger in the other country and spent 20 private, personal minutes together discussing daily life -- food, family, love and loss. 

They came out giddy, weeping and everything in between.

Musicians collaborated together, including Kavita and Mohamad who composed and performed this gorgeous piece:

An Iranian American dancer performed live for his family in Tehran, for the first time.

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock gave advice to an Iranian documentary filmmaking student.

6th graders in the U.S. asked university students in Tehran about what their sixth grade was like.

 

And lots of press came through like CNN, BBC and NPR.

ABC's The World

Now we want to expand to create a historic Portal between Havana and D.C. this summer. Our teams are ready to go.

But we need your help! Your contribution will help us get a Portal in Havana at this historic moment and keep it plugged into the growing Portals network.


GREAT REWARDS

Contribute now and get:

- Limited edition artwork. We're going places. Promise!

- A chance to reserve time in the Portal to host a dance competition, karaoke session, or international party.

- A Portal in your community.

Everyone who contributes will get a huge thank you, join one of our tiers of supporters, and get early notification for each new Portal launch.

WHY THE WORLD NEEDS PORTALS

People aren't talking to each other. Hatred based on religious intolerance, xenophobia, sexuality-based bigotry and so much more rage on. If we do not meaningfully engage with people from different walks of life, our capacity for empathy weakens and divisions of class, race, and identity deepen.


While new technologies allow us to connect across boundaries as never before, we too often use them to insulate ourselves in our own communities.

Think about Liking, Tweeting, or Instagramming. These rarely encourage us to engage directly with individuals far outside our existing group affiliations. They basically ensconce us in our own tribes. 


By conversing through a Portal, participants step out of their daily routines and their comfort zones. Away from the distraction of cell phones and their peers, people swiftly connect across distances, real and imagined. They share a quiet moment. In these encounters, people learn about the “other” and about their own values, beliefs, and assumptions. 




ABOUT SHARED_STUDIOS

We are a multidisciplinary arts, design and technology collective focused on carving wormholes throughout the world. We ground the connective potential of new technology in physical spaces to create more accessible, secure, and sacred encounters between diverse populations. We include artists, engineers, architects and more.


THE TEAM

Our Director of Global Development is Michelle Moghtader. Our Lead in Tehran is Sohrab Kashani. And we've been getting tremendous help pro bono from John Farrace, Elizabeth Bick, Kat Gorusch, Mahsa Biglow, Sylvia Zhang, Andy Koh, Eunice Kim, Taylor Vaughn, Alfonso Bui, Jennifer McTiernan, Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Homa and more.

ABOUT AMAR

I set up Shared_Studios last year. From 2006-2009, I traveled around the world reporting on how people view the United States. As I listened to peoples’ stories from Lahore, Pakistan, to Mindanao, Philippines, I dreamed of connecting the people I met directly to one another, so they could learn from each other, rather than just through TV clips and press articles. I also wanted people to have a space to talk about the things that do not make the news, but that make us human – family, art, food, love, life aspirations. After I stopped reporting, I came to quickly miss that experience of traveling alone at night without a cell phone or a computer, and passing the time by talking to a stranger seated next to you.

Risks and challenges

Setting up and running a Portal takes a great deal of work: permitting, artist coordination, outreach, staffing, equipment. There are always things that can go wrong, which is why having a passionate team is so important. Michelle, Amar, Sohrab, Mahsa or another member of the Shared Studios team launches each Portal personally and stays with it until the host institution is fully staffed and trained.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    * Early notification of upcoming Portal launches so you can register ASAP.
    * A big thank you on our website (if you want one).

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    Pledge US$ 6 or more About US$ 6

    * An original, high-resolution digital photograph of the Portal that you can use as desktop wallpaper.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 14 or more About US$ 14

    * An elegant 5x7” Portals postcard in the mail.

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    Limited 63 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 120 or more About US$ 120

    * A personalized video thank you message (with optional dance) from a Portal location.
    * A signed and FRAMED limited edition, archival quality 5x7” Portals photograph.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 350 or more About US$ 350

    * Get a one-hour personal Casino-style salsa lesson with an expert in Havana through the Portal.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 550 or more About US$ 550

    * You get to reserve two Portal locations after hours to sing or dance or whatever else.
    * You get an online Q&A with a Shared Studios team member or partner studio leader in the Portal. You can ask about the project, or life in another country.
    * Plus, all the above

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    * Receive producer credit on our website and future publications
    * Two tickets to our June 20 DC block party
    * Plus, all the above

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    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 1 backer
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2,000 or more About US$ 2,000

    * Receive producer credit on our website and future publications
    * Reserve portal for private use during off hours, including karaoke session, film screening, party, recording booth, video gaming, etc.
    * Plus, all the above

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    On June 20, we are going to throw a big Havana-DC block party in the Woodrow Wilson Plaza. Reserve a table for eight at the block party with food and drink and get recognition as a patron in all printed material and remarks.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 9,500 or more About US$ 9,500

    * A member of the Portals team will come visit you at your location to do Q&As, lectures and explore Portals placements on your site. (You cover international airfare)
    * Receive credit as founding partner on our website and future publications
    * Plus, all the above

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    Pledge US$ 10,000 About US$ 10,000

    - We will place a Portal at your location for at least 1 month as long as you keep it free and open to the public!

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    Pledge US$ 28 or more About US$ 28

    * A signed, limited edition, archival quality 5x7” Portals photograph in the mail.

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    Reward no longer available 50 backers
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    Pledge US$ 48 or more About US$ 48

    * A strangely beautiful Portals refrigerator magnet.
    * A signed, limited edition, archival quality 5x7” Portals photograph.

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    Reward no longer available 50 backers
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Funding period

- (33 days)