The cities of Vilnius, Lithuania, and Lublin, Poland, are now connected via a circular portal like in a sci-fi movie. Unlike in science fiction flicks, people can’t just walk through it and get teleported 600km away. The installation is just a gigantic videoconferencing device, with a camera and a big screen, through which people from the two cities can interact visually. According to its creators, the aim is to make people “rethink the sense of unity” by creating a digital bridge between two far-away places.
“Humanity is facing many potentially deadly challenges; be it social polarization, climate change or economic issues”, says Benediktas Gylys, President of the namesake Foundation, who came up with the portal idea. “However, if we look closely, it’s not a lack of brilliant scientists, activists, leaders, knowleadge or technology causing these challenges. It’s tribalism, a lack of empathy and a narrow perception of the world, which is often limited to our national borders”.
The Vilnius Technical University was tasked with building the portal, which was five years in the making but was very timely unveiled at the end of a long, stressful and divisive pandemic year. Vilnius and Lublin won’t be the only cities to be connected by such a portal, as there’s a plan to bring more video portals to other cities, building further on the idea of unity across borders.