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Global Portal to Open in the Presidio

Spain & US exchange artists for cultural connection installation


Cultural exchange at the Presidio

Presidio of San Francisco (October 2, 2017) – The Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain, Parks Conservancy, the Presidio Trust, and Málaga City Council will launch a one month artist in residency exchange program focused on the rich shared cultural heritage of two sites, the Cultural Center of Tabacalera in Málaga and the Presidio of San Francisco. To facilitate the collaboration and exchange, the project will rely on and connect through Portals, an ongoing global art project by Shared_Studios.

The program seeks to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences on themes of heritage and conservation. Connections will focus on the relationships between art and culture, the use (and re-use) of the heritage sites, and new opportunities for public participation in the shared context of these cities and our society. “Spain and the US share a common history which has left a tangible imprint and a profound cultural legacy that we wish to keep alive and enrich through meaningful artistic exchanges. Málaga and San Francisco bear many similarities. The Presidio is an example of our shared history. This program is a unique collaboration between artists from Spain and the US. We are very enthusiastic with the program and expect the tandem of artists to make fulfilling accomplishments.” said Maria Molina, Cultural Counselor at the Embassy of Spain.

Artists from each country will spend one month at each site and will use Portals, a live, immersive video environment, as a platform for collaboration and public engagement. Each artist will also have access to local subject matter experts, curators, and art and culture organizations, who will help with the creation and administration of programming with each Portal. Through this exchange, participating artists have an opportunity to work with each other, each other’s city, and local communities to develop a dialogue on heritage, history, and culture. The collaborative works that emerge from the project are open-ended, and can manifest in any art form. They will the maintain focus on creating engaging, community-oriented experiences. “We are honored and excited to participate in this program. The Presidio is a complex and interesting place, with many layers and hidden qualities and aspects,” said Allison Stone, Director of Park Programs at the Presidio Trust. “There is a lot for an artist to work with here and we are excited to see where they take it and the synergy that develops between artists, curators, resource experts, and the public.”

Portals are gold spaces – often recycled shipping containers – equipped with immersive audiovisual technology. When you enter a Portal, you come face-to-face with someone in the distant Portal live and full-body, as if in the same room. Since launch, Portals have expanded to 30 sites around the world and connected more than 65,000 people in conversation, collaboration, and play. “When you enter Portals, you come face-to-face, live, full-body, with someone in an identical gold shipping container somewhere else in the world,” said Michelle Moghtader, Co-Founder of Shared_Studios. “Participants use Portals to have a personal connection with someone they would not meet otherwise. Portal participants explore the culture and history of other places, talk with one another about their lives, exchange ideas, and collaboratively celebrate, create, perform, and play across all forms of distance.”

Following a successful run at Crissy Field, San Francisco’s Portals will relocate to the historic Main Post in the Presidio in October. “The big gold box of the Portals is intriguing and mysterious to people when they first encounter it but once inside the simple pleasure of meeting someone new takes over. People at the Crissy Field Portals engaged with people from all over the world, singing together, playing music, and exchanging professional advice on a whole range of topics. We’re excited to see what new elements our artists in residence bring to the experience at the Presidio.” said Kate Bickert, Senior Director of Park Initiatives at the Parks Conservancy.

Details on the Program: The Presidio Portals will have regular connections with a new Málaga Portal being installed at the Cultural Center of Tabacalera in Málaga, Spain, as well as Portals located throughout the world including Mexico City, Gaza, Nairobi, Berlin, Amman and others. The Presidio Portals is a fully contained, off the grid facility with solar power. Solar power is provided by Luminalt, a certified solar company that is dedicated to improving the community in which we live and work by providing clean energy alternatives, employment opportunities, and sustainable economic growth.

Visitors will be invited for a 20 minute time slot in the Portals. All are equipped with curators that can provide translation services as needed. Appointments are recommended but not required, and are free. For additional detail and schedule see,

October 6 until November 5, 2017. The project is being presented in cooperation with the Cultural Office, Embassy of Spain (Washington DC), the Parks Conservancy, and the Presidio Trust. Solar-powered by Luminalt, the Portals will be staffed by a Portals Curator, and live language interpretation will be provided. Participation is free, but preregistration is recommended.

Attn: Calendar Editors
Event: Presidio Portal & Artist Exchange Program
Date: October 6 to November 5, 2017
Time: Friday to Sunday

Portals, a gold shipping container equipped with digital technology, is an interactive art project that allows visitors to talk face-to-face with people from around the globe as if they’re in the same room. Portals will be outside the Presidio Officers’ Club at the flagpole at Pershing Square from October 6 to November 5, 2017.

Portals at the Presidio Officers’ Club has an added element – a one-month artist exchange program between the Presidio and Málaga, Spain, where another Portals is located at the Cultural Center of Tabacalera. The artists from the United States and Spain, using the Portals as a tool, will explore the reuse of the Presidio and Tabalacera heritage sites, engaging with local curators, subject matter experts, and the visiting public. Through the Portals, the artists will work with each other and the local communities to open a dialogue about art, history, and culture.

Information on the Artists:
Sophia Cordova is an artist working primarily with the medium of photography. Born in Carolina, Puerto Rice, Sofia received a BFA in photography at St. John’s College in New York and her MFA from California College of Arts in San Francisco. She lives and works in Emeryville, California. Her work has appeared in group and solo shows across the country and is part of the permanent collections at Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco and the Whiney Museum of American Art in New York.

Alba Moreno and Eva Grau are conceptual artists from Málaga, Spain. They met at San Telmo School of art and in 2012 began working collaboratively. Alba’s main medium is photography while Eva’s main medium is video. Together they form Moreno & Grau Studio and use photography and video to capture their process of building an imaginary world, one that often includes sculptures and installations made in the studio. Common threads within their artwork: landscape as an emotional state, the use of portraits in art, the limits of the human being, duality, and the concept of water as a common thread, like the mysterious element and bearer of life.

About Cultural Office, Embassy of Spain
SPAIN arts & culture aims to promote Spanish culture in the U.S. through fruitful cultural exchanges among institutions and artists, fostering positive bilateral relations between our two countries. Among its objectives, the program enhances shared knowledge on the cultural and creative industries and facilitates professional opportunities for artists, drawing on our common Hispanic heritage. For more information, go to

About Málaga City Council
The city of Málaga (Spain) has had in recent years a spectacular cultural projection. The transformation of the city into a modern city, intelligent in technological terms and in which the historical heritage of more than 3,000 years joins a network of museums of recent creation and of the most varied artistic disciplines. Málaga City Council, through the Culture Area, has expanded the cultural offer to citizens, increasing the traditional fields of culture with the incorporation of activities of new cultural industries, proposed and developed by emerging artists.

About the Presidio Trust
The Presidio Trust is an innovative federal agency created to save the Presidio and employ a partnership approach to transform it into a new kind of national park. Spanning 1,500 acres in a spectacular setting at the Golden Gate, the Presidio now operates without federal appropriations, is home to a community of residents and commercial tenants, and offers unique recreation, hospitality, and educational opportunities to people throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and the world. To learn more please visit

About the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization that supports the Golden Gate National Parks—the most-visited unit in the national park system in the U.S. Since 1981, the Parks Conservancy has provided over $500 million in aid for site transformations, habitat restorations, research and conservation, volunteer and youth engagement, and interpretive and educational programs. The Conservancy’s work is made possible through the dedication of its members and donors; contributions from foundations, businesses, public agencies, and generous individuals, as well as earned income from the operation of park stores, cafes, and tours. Learn more at or call (415) 561-3000.

About Shared_Studios
Shared_Studios is a multidisciplinary art, design, and technology collective building an Internet you can walk through. With innovations in hardware, software, and design, Shared_Studios creates interconnected environments around the world that feel spatially continuous. Their first global initiative is Portals. For more, please visit

About Portals
Shared_Studios flagship project, Portals, was created by artist Amar C. Bakshi in 2014. Since then, Portals have connected more than 40,000 people around the world in intimate, one-on-one dialogues. Portals are gold spaces equipped with immersive audiovisual technology. When you enter a Portal, you come face-to-face with someone in a distant Portals live and full-body, as if in the same room. Since launch, Portals have expanded to 30 sites around the world and connected more than 65,000 people in conversation, collaboration, and play. Portals exist around the world in Afghanistan, Jordan, Gaza, Rwanda, Honduras, Mexico, Myanmar, Germany, an Internally Displaced Persons camp in Iraq, and more. For more information, please visit

Media contacts

Lisa Petrie

Presidio Trust

(415) 561-5424 (office)