Connection to the world

The Colorado Springs Portal will be located at the Sand Creek Library, 1821 S. Academy Blvd., through July 10. Portals connect users with other individuals in places as far-flung as Afghanistan. [Express photo/Regan Foster]

Sand Creek Library brings Portal to Southeast

From outside, the structure doesn’t look like much.

It’s 20-by-8-foot metal box, roughly the size and shape of one you may see on a local delivery truck. It has a few thick cords trailing form it, and a large climate-control compressor on the front. And it’s painted bright gold.

But to step inside this space, now parked behind the Sand Creek Library, is to be transported.

As the brightly colored sign secured to the side proclaims: “This is a Shared_Studios Portal.”

Meaning what, exactly?

“When you enter, you come face-to-face with someone in a distant portal and can converse as if in the same room,” says the explanation painted on the installation’s rear door.

The Colorado Springs Portal will be located at the Sand Creek Library, 1821 S. Academy Blvd., through July 10. [Express photo/Regan Foster]

These Portals, located in areas as near as Phoenix and Dallas, and as distant as Herat, Afghanistan, and Nairobi, Kenya, is being hailed as “a global public art initiative.” It’s intention, according to developer Shared_Studios, is to harness cutting-edge technology to help users engage in a true, authentic, human-to-human experience.

“Every day, Portals host dialogues, performances, classes, collaborations and more, and are freely accessible to the public,” the Shared_Studios website says.

And now through July 10, Southeast residents can have that experience in their own neighborhood. The Springs is one of fewer than three dozen global communities to host a portal, and the only destination in the state, website documentation shows.

The nonprofit Imagination Celebration coordinates the installation for Colorado Springs, and was brought to the community with the help of partners UCCS, the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative, the Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Creative Industries and the Bree Vradeburg Foundation. It debuted at the annual What If Festival.

Portal advocates hope connections can be made by disconnecting from devices and connecting, on a very human level, with individuals unlike ourselves.

“When we look up from our phones and speak with someone new, we open new possibilities of understanding,” says the Shared_Studios website. “When we witness the diversity of human experience, our lives are made richer, deeper and more profound.”

And if you aren’t fluent in the language on the other end of the connection, never fear. Each Portal is staffed by a curator – someone who can help facilitate dialogue, provide language interpretation and connect their community’s story with those of the rest of the world.

The Portal will be at the Sand Creek Library, 1821 S. Academy Blvd., through July 10, Sand Creek Library Branch Manager Jake Rundle said in an email.  For a full schedule of Portal connections, log on to sharedstudios.com/colorado-springs.

 

Check it out:

The Colorado Springs Portal is slated to be at the Sand Creek Library, 1821 S. Academy Blvd., through July 10.
Upcoming scheduled conversations include:
* Richmond, Virginia, 2:15 to 4 p.m. Friday
* New Orleans, noon, Saturday
* Richmond, 9:30 a.m. Wednesday
* Stamford, Connecticut, 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 26
* Stamford, 1:15 p.m. June 28
* Stamford, 11:15 a.m. June 30
* Herat, Afghanistan, 8:30 a.m. July 1
* Mexico City, 12:15 p.m. July 1
* Erbil, Iraq, 10 a.m. July 2
* San Juan, Puerto Rico, 10 a.m. July 3
* Richmond, 12:15 p.m. July 3
* Stamford, 3 p.m. July 3
* Nirobi, Kenya, 8:30 a.m. July 5
* Lagos, Nigeria, 10:15 a.m., July 6
Schedule is subject to change. See sharedstudios.com/colorado-springs for more details.

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