Warsaw, Poland – Futuristic mirror-like “portals” built in Lublin, eastern Poland, and Lithuania’s capital of Vilnius were unveiled late last month with the goal of bringing people together and rethinking the notions of connectivity and unity.
Lublin-Vilnius portal aims to connect beyond borders
Located more than 600 kilometers apart, the two “portals” installed in the Polish and Lithuanian cities feature large screens, cameras and an internet connection, allowing people in Lublin and Vilnius to see what’s happening at the other end of the portal in real-time.
And since you’re probably wondering: unfortunately no, we can’t step through the portal and teleport to the other side. Maybe next time?
The minimalist design of the round-shaped portals only add to the ominous “sci-fi” experience. Five years in the making and designed by a team of engineers at Vilnius Tech, the project aims to connect people from different parts of the world after more than a year marked by the global pandemic, social isolation and distancing.
“It is a bridge to unity, an invitation to rise above prejudices, above the disagreements that belong to the past, it’s an invitation to rise above the illusion of us and them,” explained Benediktas Gylys, who worked on the project.
Fighting “tribalism” and our “secluded perception of the world”
“Humanity is facing a lot of problems, be it social polarisation, climate change, or economic issues,” Vilnius Tech said in a statement announcing the installation. “Though if we look closely, it’s not a lack of brilliant scientists, activists or leaders, knowledge or technology that cause the fragmentation of humanity. It’s tribalism, lack of empathy, and a secluded perception of the world, which is often limited to our national borders.”
While the Lublin-Vilnius portal was the lucky first one, it probably won’t be the last: the team of engineers behind the bold and ambitious project already revealed their intention to connect different cities and places across the world. Next stop? A “futuristic bridge” between London and Reykjavik, in Iceland.
The choice of Lublin and Vilnius for the pilot experiment is no mere coincidence: as futuristic as they may look, the portals are a clear nod to the shared history of Poland and Lithuania, and a reference to the Union of Lublin, an agreement signed in 1569 in that very same city which established the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th century Europe.