Texas State Galleries has partnered with Shared Studios to bring an audio and visual technology to the Texas State University campus, which allows students and faculty in this area to communicate with people across the globe.
Shared Studios is a company that has created an immersive audio and video technology that is used inside of what they call a Portal. These portals that they have range from inflable portals, indoor or outdoor portals, portal buses and rooms. You might’ve noticed by now that in the quad at Texas State University there is a golden storage container, which happens to be a portal and the only portal in Texas.
In this portal users are able to come face to face with people in other portals around the world and allow users to have a live conversation. In the portal there are screens right in front of the user, which allows them to see the other person as if they were standing right in front of them. According to Tafari Robertson, portal curator, this portal allows users to disassociate from the world around them and bring them into this different experiences.
Robertson helps facilitates conversations that happen inside the portal between person to person and prompting them with topics if need be. According to Robertson, they sometimes have people with quite a few things to say when they enter the portal, so he doesn’t have to do much in those instances. Robertson said that he encourages other curators to plan their own events, so that way a discussion can always be planned out on both ends.
The portal has been on campus from Aug. 27 and will last till Dec. 14. Texas State Galleries are hoping to get the funding they need for this resource in order to extend this opportunity till the spring semester, according to Robertson.
According to Micayla O’Brien, freshman, she has experience being in the portal at least 10 times. Her reason is that the portal has been a really great experience each time she’s been in there.
“I learn something new even if it’s the same city I experienced before.” O’Brien said. “There’s always different people in there, so I have the opportunity to talk about what people’s majors are over there, their culture and sometimes the weather.”
In addition people’s experiences, Robertson said that overall it’s been really positive. From his perspective he said that he enjoys open connections because sometimes they are the most fun cause since you’ll never know what to expect.
“I do like the open connections because people come in and have different talents or different things to talk about.” said Robertson. “A lot of the time they have extra time to hang out which usually means that their conversations are able to develop into an in-depth conversation.”
Every now and then there will be some confusion when entering the portal, however, Robertson said that the vast majority of the time people have a good experience.
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