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Culture

POrtal project at EXPO 2020 in Dubai invites the world to connect

Born in Lithuania, the pOrtal project that has by now gained an international momentum starts its six-month journey, from 1 October, at the world exhibition EXPO2020 in Dubai. As a central exhibit of the Lithuanian National Stand in Dubai, the pOrtal project will promote the pOrtal city network and tell the visitors of Dubai EXPO2020 about an unconventional way to connect.

The pOrtal project has come to EXPO2020 in its reduced model. Its original version is built outside Vilnius Train Station. It enables its users to connect real-time with the population of Lublin in Poland.

‘Approached with an offer to become the central exhibitor of the Lithuanian National Stand at EXPO2020 in Dubai, we had no other option but to agree. The main idea of the Lithuanian Stand at EXPO2020 in Dubai is to showcase Lithuania’s capacity to generate innovative solutions for global change, which is exactly what the pOrtal is about, and we simply could not miss this unique opportunity to go globally. We got so much carried away by the idea of being part of the EXPO2020 that we did not even consider whether we would fit into the time frame or whether we would be able to implement it technically’, says Ringailė Papartytė, Executive Director at Benediktas Gylys Foundation. ‘The desire to expand the #pOrtalCities Network was greater than the desire to enjoy summer vacation’, said Ringailė. It was clear from the beginning that transporting the 11 tonnes exhibit to Dubai would be mission impossible. ‘We came about with an idea of its prototype as an option: an exact copy of the original pOrtal was delivered by VILNIUS TECH LinkMenų fabrikas’, explains Ringailė.

‘Naturally, the mini pOrtal will not be able to connect cities, countries and people real-time, but what it will do, is spread the message world-wide about a possibility of real-time contacts that go beyond time zones, distance, or culture to that matter. Our idea is to connect as many cities around the world as possible’, says Ringailė Papartytė. The pOrtal project will also serve as a ‘window to Lithuania’ during the thematic weeks.

The pOrtal project may come familiar to certain visitors of the exhibition from coverage by such leading media outlets as the BBC, The Guardian, The Verge and hundreds of others, and billions of reactions and support messages on social media following its launch in Vilnius and Lublin this summer.

The project team is planning to build dozens of pOrtals world-wide, creating an intercultural #pOrtal Cities Network, spreading the message of friendship and unity, and connecting the world. The pOrtal has inspired other countries, from Australia to the U.S., to follow suit. The pOrtal team is already meeting a large number of organisations, governments, cultural and sports institutions, businesses, and academic societies from cities, such as New York, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dubai, Taipei, Melbourne, and others to discuss potential partnerships on the pOrtal.

Partnerships in the Network cities will also serve a charitable purpose, letting the pOrtal team raise funds to be later used for the tech-art installation in other cities that have difficulties joining the partnership. Any potential partnerships or ideas in that respect are welcome at: hello@portalcities.org.

The author of the idea and the main patron: Benediktas Gylys Foundation based in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Technical team of the pOrtal: VILNIUS TECH LinkMenų fabrikas