Tired of pandemic travel restrictions and eager to get out and see new people? Why not try a real-time “portal” to another city?
With the help of newly erected portal statues, the residents of Vilnius, Lithuania and Lublin, Poland (roughly 375 miles away) can now see each other in real time.
The portals were installed on May 26th outside of the Vilnius Train Station and Lublin’s Central Square by GoVilnius, the development agency of the Lithuanian capital.
The statues both have large screens and cameras that broadcast live between the two cities as a kind of visual bridge to bring people of different cultures together and encourage them to “rethink the meaning of unity.”
“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,” said Benediktas Gylys, President of the Benediktas Gylys Foundation whom Go Vilnius credits as the “initiator” of the portal idea. He added that the project was “a bridge that unifies and an invitation to rise above prejudices and disagreements that belong to the past.”
The portal, a “well-known … sci-fi symbol,” has a circle design which meant to evoke the wheel of time. It was designed by engineers at the Creativity and Innovation Centre (LinkMenu fabrikas) at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University – aka Vilnius Tech – and took five years to implement. Its unveiling at the end (hopefully) of a pandemic is very well-timed.
The project organizers plan to further connect cities and people through erecting dozens of portals across Europe and around the world, with the next ones set to be built in Reykjavik and London in the near future. Coming soon to a city near you…