On Tuesday, March 7, Brooklyn-based startup Shared Studios used their Portals technology to connect people in Rwanda and Brooklyn, Mexico and Jordan to have 7 Days of Genius conversations on the challenge of empathy. Portals are gold spaces equipped with immersive audiovisual technology that allow people in different cities and countries to converse as if they were in the same room. By connecting people around the world in intimate conversations, Portals demonstrate how technology can create empathy by bringing people in district communities together — face-to-face.
Fast Company reporter Eillie Anzilotti visited the Brooklyn Portal for 7 Days of Genius. She recaps the experience:
“The Portal spanned the coworking spaces in Kigali and Brooklyn to show what empathy could look like now. Portals—originally developed by the collective Shared_Studios as an art installation two years ago—are, in many ways, empathy infrastructure: The shipping containers have been set up in over 20 locations across the world, where they’ve facilitated conversations between an American drone pilot and an Afghan man, and a Washington, D.C. woman who left Cuba as a child and someone who lived on her old street in Havana. Between Brooklyn and Kigali, the Portal broke down preconceptions: When the Americans thought of Rwanda, their minds immediately went to the 1994 genocide that resulted in the deaths of nearly one million Tutsis. Nancy, one of the Rwandan entrepreneurs, wants to talk about what the country is like now. “It’s a very organized country, it’s very clean, and the people are very welcoming,” she says. “People aren’t stressed out here.” The people in Brooklyn, she adds, were welcome to visit at any time.”
Read more in Fast Company and check out the Shared Studios Timelapse below: