It definitely comes across as a key addition to innovative marketing possibilities in 2017 for brands in India. We are referring to The Mumbai Portal (www.themumbaiportal.com), which has been sponsored by the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon which symbolises the way the human spirit survives challenges of all kinds.
The Mumbai Portal is an audiovisual experience that merges cultures and bridges physical boundaries. It is an honest attempt towards meaningful interactions between people all over the world.
TVnews4u.com caught up with Chlorophyll Innovation Lab CEO Chitresh Sinha on what TheMumbaiPortal will do for SCMM, and how it can empower marketers and brands in 2017. Excerpts from the conversation:
What is The Mumbai Portal?
The Mumbai Portal is a real life portal that will connect Mumbai to 20 other cities in the world.
It is essentially a shipping container painted gold and equipped with proprietary immersive audiovisual technology.
When an individual enters one Portal, they see a person in another Portal live and full-body, as if in the same room. Many earlier participants have described feeling as though they were “breathing the same air”.
Where do portals exist?
Portals are a global public arts initiative created by Shared_Studios (a company based in USA).
Portals exist all over the world, right from New York City to refugee sites in Berlin & Iraq to a tech incubator in Gaza, Palestine!
They have been used by Barrack Obama, Ban Ki Moon, Morgan Spurlock, Ewan McGreggor, John Kerry and 20,000 other individuals.
This is the first time that a portal is being set up in India.
Why do we need a portal in today’s hyper-connected day and age anyways? What is the purpose?
While new technologies allow us to connect across boundaries as never before, we too often use them to insulate ourselves in our own communities.
By conversing through a Portal, participants step out of their comfort zones, talk to someone completely unrelated to their individual lives and discover the multitude of amazing things happening all over the world.
The aim of The Mumbai Portal is to specifically showcase people from Mumbai (and India) who have pushed boundaries of the human spirit.
They will get to share their inspirational stories with the world and will also get to meet other people as inspiring as them.
For example, The Mumbai Portal has helped connect Sangteetha from Together, a Mumbai-based organization that uses cooking to help empower autistic children, with Sue Hoss from Iowa. Sue runs Plymouth Grounds, a coffee shop that is run by students who are special.
How is the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon involved?
Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon is the largest sporting event in Asia and India’s biggest platform for charity.
But the reason for its existence itself, is that the SCMM symbolises the way the human spirit survives challenges of all kinds.
That is exactly what the Mumbai Portal is about. Showcasing the spirit of SCMM and the real heroes of India to the world!
So has the portal been set up only for SCMM? It seems to be a great idea that brands can use through 2017. What happens after that… Who owns the rights to making the portal available to brands and entities interested in using the very unique possibilities of the portal?
It has been sponsored by the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon between the 12th and 15th of January. After that, chlorophyll Innovation Lab and shared_studios are free to work with other brands and organizations. Portals as a concept is owned by shared_Studios and chlorophyll is the exclusive partner for India.
And from SCMM from 12th to 14th of Jan, what kind of interactions can we expect at TheMumbaiPortal?
There will be five to six hours of interactions on each day… a mix of programmed interactions and open hours for all Mumbaikars to come and experience the portal.
There are some great inspiring stories planned. Like N Chandra from TCS will interact with the founders of Sky Geeks in Gaza, Palestine. Forbes has described them as the world’s toughest entrepreneurs, considering the circumstances and environment they work in.
Film star John Abraham will interact with athletes from a refugee camp in Erbil who are re-building their lives.
Robin Chaurasiya, founder of Kranti will talk to a Syrian refugee hero based in Berlin.
Roshni Rai, empowering Gorkhas and supporting Gorkha runners, will interact with Lewis Lee, a leader working on community and restorative justice for the African-American fathers.
Harish Iyer, equal rights activist, will share his story of grit and determination with Maria Bashir, the first woman prosecuter in Afghanistan.
Harsha Bhogle will connect with Samir Chopra from New York. Both have made career switches based on their passion for cricket.
Saba Parveen, a girl who fought tough odds to actually play — and now coaches — football in Mumbra, will talk to girls from a refugee camp in Iraq who are football fans.
Rajeev Raja, India’s premier flautist, will collaborate with Kavita Shah, a leading jazz vocalist from New York and a lyricist from Afghanistan, to create a unique cross-country jam and song about acceptance
Gladson Peter, a one-man band who plays 45 instruments, will promote his message of no-smoking in a unique manner to smokers across the globe via music.
Kids from Mumbai will actually talk to kids from kids from Brooklyn and kids from Kenya.
This is truly inspiring stuff. You couldn’t have handpicked a better initiative than the SCMM for your Portal in terms of emotional fit and the potential to globally extend a brand’s mission and essence for your Portal, than the SCMM. What are the other kinds of brands and organizations you see benefiting from TheMumbaiPortal?
The portal can be used by educational institutes and governments to share cross-borders knowledge, it can be used by artists to promote sharing of art and culture, it can be used by technology companies to showcase the true power of technology, it can be used by B2B companies as well for a variety of purposes.
Can you create portals across Mumbai only, or across India?
Chlorophyll innovation lab and shared_studios can create portals across India.
Who created the portal?
The Mumbai Portal has been created by chlorophyll Innovation Lab, a specialised unit started by Chlorophyll, India’s first end-to-end brand consultancy, and by Shared Studios, which is a multidisciplinary arts, design and technology collective based in New York. It is supported by The Better India.
chlorophyll and Shared_Studios have an exclusive partnership to create amazing brand initiatives and properties using ‘portals’.
Does the portal have to physically be a huge shipping container? What if brands want to take one or multiple portals across various cities on a multi-city van plan? Can the portal be scaled down in size to what can transpored across a conventional truck?
The portal is available in many different versions. In fact, there is even the portal tent that can be placed or a simple portal screen can be set up if the situation demands it.
And it can be customized for other brands as we did for SCMM this time round.
What did you do for the exterior?
For the SCMM, it has been a story of four frenzied days. four great artists.
The Mumbai Portal merges technological and artistic innovation as never before, and the traditionally stark container came to life when four creative minds got together to reveal the limits that true passion can reach.
Bound together by their love for the arts and JJ School of Arts background, Ajinkya, Sanskar, Rakesh and Rajarose to the occasion when they were asked to paint the Portal to reflect its purpose.
Almost overnight, symbols of how strong the human spirit is, began appearing on the outsides of the container, painstakingly detailed and illustrated. Here’s a little more about the Mumbai artists who made this possible.
Ajinkya Sutar is a designer and illustrator at chlorophyll, always looking for an opportunity to collaborate with different artists and experiment with styles, technique and media. He designed the identity for Patna Pirates, a team in India’s Pro Kabbadi League and the Naya Raipur jungle safari, and has illustrated books for the NGO Katha.
SanskarSawant is an illustrator and installation artist who has worked with Taxi Fabric, designed a rickshaw in Mumbai and four Electric Delhi rickshaws for the city’s Electric Daisy Carnival festival. He travels extensively in India, soaks in the vibe wherever he is and paints countryside homes in return for a room!
Rakesh Kadam, is a mural artist and set designer and built a miniature film set for Tata Sky. He has enjoyed experimenting with different media and materials since childhood which spurred his love for art.
Raja Javir is a mural artist and set designer for various Marathi films and plays. He has painted wall murals for Asian Paints in Pune, Baroda, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad.
In fact, the time-lapse video of the making of this art will be online on TheMumbaiPorta.com