This September, participants and artists at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center's NextNOW Fest will have the unique opportunity to connect and collaborate with individuals in Tehran, Iran, Herat, Afghanistan, El Progreso, Honduras or Mexico City, Mexico through Shared_Studios' Portals.
Portals are gold shipping containers that offer immersive audio-visual technology inside. When you enter one, you come face-to-face with someone in another container live, full-body, and the two of you converse as if in the same room. Portals have already connected the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven to the Sazmanab Center for Contemporary Art in Tehran. They have also connected the Lu Magnus Art Gallery in New York City with the M-40 Arts Space in Tehran. And they have connected Hariwa Univeristy in Herat, Afghanistan to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Since the launch of Portals in December 2014, more than a two thousand people have carried on private, 20-minute conversations with strangers from the other country responding to the same prompt: “What would make today a good day for you?” People spoke about their hopes for their children, ailing relatives, dinner plans, pollution, dating, and much more. Participants came out weeping, giddy, and everything in between.
Participants at The Clarice will be paired with a participant in one of the three locations - Afghanistan, Iran, Honduras or Mexico. Additionally, Portals offer the possibility for international artistic exchange between artists in the connected countries. Artists will be paired together to work on collaborative projects that will then be streamed at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. To date, musicians have played joint pieces together, performance artists have used with translation as a medium and sculptors have created joint collages. Portals will be exhibited at the NextNOW Fest, September 9-12, 2015. To learn more about Portals, please visit Shared_Studios' website.
This project is brought to you by The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the Roshan Institute and Shared_Studios.
Co-sponsored by the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies, The Language House and the Latin American Studies Center.