Science fiction connects – A network of virtual bridges
Science fiction is a popular genre in many fields, from literature (“The Time Machine” by H. G. Wells) to film (“Godzilla vs. Kong”, 2021) to art. Thematically, this genre mostly shows scientific-technical aspects up to complete visions of the future, far away from reality. Paintings feature alien spaceships, among other things; a good example, visually closest to our theme, is the painting “Cabin” by Jonathan Ball (2019). But have you ever heard of science fiction portals that don’t remain science fiction but connect people in real life? We’re not just talking about a live image transmission to a known person via e. g. Teams or Skype: we’re talking about real portals that have now been set up in Poland and Lithuania which are going to be part of a large portal network in the future.
So, what are these portals?
Poland and Lithuania, two countries sharing a border, have now become even closer. Two cities of the respective countries are now connected by direct image transmission. Since May 26th, 2021, people in Lublin (Poland) and Vilnius (Lithuania) can see each other live through artworks in the form of science-fiction portals, each larger than 2 metres. The portals are meant to be virtual bridges for bringing people from different cities and countries together.
With their size, the science fiction portals surpass ordinary monitors at home, and you can visually meet people with whom you would otherwise not come into contact. In the science-fiction context, such portals often represent travels through space and time, but with or without such a context – an elegant and future-oriented style has been well captured in the portals in any case.
The live image transmission takes place via the internet and from a technical point of view, sound, as well as image transmission, is possible. However, currently this can’t be maintained throughout – and isn’t necessarily desired either. According to an article by technokrata.hu, the portal founders plan to switch on the audio transmission for specific events only. Until then, the idea is to enjoy the get-together without sound: by waving and dancing together or by sending virtual kisses.
Here’s a little tip: If two people meet “in the portal” who would like to talk to each other, they can hold their mobile phone number up into the camera or transmit it by hand signal. This way, nothing stops you from having further contact.
The portal in Vilnius is located directly near the railway station and the portal in Lublin on Litewski Square, but who is behind this fascinating project?
PORTAL – the non-profit initiative
The Bendediktas Gylys Foundation created and launched the PORTAL project with a team, which includes Vilnius Tech. After a five-year development period, the first portals are now online. Ringaile Papartyte, Executive Director of the Bendediktas Gylygs Foundation, and her team are grateful for Lublin having the courage to be the first partner city of this project. Thus, Lublin is also a pioneer of the network.
The idea of the founders was to create a different view of unity: To connect people across national borders despite the distance, their different cultures, and prejudices. They intend to achieve international empathy, an awareness of unity.
We humans always form a first impression of what we see, read, hear, or, in other words, experience. Opinions are thus formed quickly and solidified within groups of people. At a certain point, it becomes difficult for some people to look at things from a different perspective or to look beyond the horizon of what they already know (what they are used to, learnings, opinions, views, convictions). The portals are intended to counteract this.
The next portal connection is planned from Reykjavik to Vilnius, followed by Vilnius to London. Perhaps one day the globe will be connected by these science-fiction-like portals, so that in Berlin, for example, we suddenly find ourselves standing in front of a kangaroo from Lucky Bay. But bear in mind when visiting such a portal:
Not every scene from the film Stargate is suitable for imitation in real life. There is a risk of injuries, and this is a point that no one wants to achieve with this project at all.
PayPodo wishes the further expansion and development of this project every success!