People living in Vilnius, Lithuania, and Lublin, Poland, have recently been given a glimpse into the future of communication, as a new duo of hi-tech portals has popped up in the cities.
The idea of the communications portals was inspired (in part) by the loss of travel and human connection experienced during the pandemic. The portals contain giant screens and cameras. However, this type of portal doesn't transport anyone who steps through either structure. Instead, it offers a real-time look and communication at and with the opposing city.
The portals are placed within the urban landscape of both Vilnius and Lublin. You'll find them next to a train station and in the cities central square for example.
The portal allows for new engagements between people on either end of cities 376 miles apart, which helps to humanize citizens from another place.
Although the portal was in development for five years, it could not have come at a better time, such as during the pandemic. Not to mention that there is often a general "lack of understanding" and unwillingness to compromise amongst people outside of our own communities, and the world can feel more fragmented than ever.
Benediktas Gylys, president of the Benediktas Gylys Foundation and initiator of the Portal idea, told us all about it.
"Humanity is facing many potentially deadly challenges; be it social polarization, climate change, or economic issues. However, if we look closely, it's not a lack of brilliant scientists, activists, leaders, knowledge, or technology causing these challenges. It's tribalism, a lack of empathy and a narrow perception of the world, which is often limited to our national borders. That's why we've decided to bring the Portal idea to life – it's a bridge that unifies us and an invitation to rise above prejudices and disagreements that belong in the past. It's an invitation to rise above the us-and-them illusion."
This project will not only be found in Vilnius and Lublin. Residents in Reykjavik, Iceland, and London, England, can expect a portal in their city in the future too.