The doors opens. No light emanates from within. You step into the shipping container. With a thud, the door closes behind you and they appear, as if from nowhere. You are now in Times Square. Two scientists from Germany begin to chat. Welcome to the Adelaide_Portal.
You could be forgiven for thinking this was the start of the latest sci-fi novel, but instead it’s the newest tech-meets-art installation at the former Royal Adelaide Hospital. For the next few months, Renewal SA and the Adelaide_Portal will give Adelaidians the opportunity to meet with strangers-turn-friends in twenty-five other portals around the globe. From New York to Palestine, from universities to refugee camps, the portal lets users immerse themselves in real-time conversions to entertain, challenge and delight. Think FaceTime to the extreme.
The Portal project is the creation of Amar Bakshi and Michelle Moghtader and comes from a desire to build an immersive Internet experience, proving that technology can bring people together. While the project started in 2014, this is the first time a portal has been set up in the Southern Hemisphere, finally giving those down under the chance to experience the project's magic first-hand.
While the golden shipping container is already quite the sight from the outside, it’s within that the excitement really happens. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by the portal’s custodian (Adelaide’s Max Mason) who sets the gears in motion, bringing the giant screen within the otherwise pitch-black container to life. While the experience is essentially one massive Skype call, you somehow forget; you feel as if you could actually step out and touch the life-size humans on the other side. The conversation can lead anywhere you like, giving you the chance to learn from people and cultures you may otherwise never get a chance to meet.
So what are you waiting for? Get lost in the Adelaide_Portal now before it disappears.
Book online at sharedstudios.com/adelaide
Walk-ins are also welcome if available.
When: Thursday - Saturday, until March (full schedule available when booking)
Where: Old Royal Adelaide Hospital - North Terrace side.
The Adelaide_Portal is created by Shared_Studios and presented by Renewal SA.
Header image via Renewal SA (photographed by Daniel Purvis)