Portal_NET is an adaptation of the video game Portal, into a communication network that facilitates safe, physical passage into a secure, untraceable, WLAN messaging area. Using elliptical, LED portals, Portal-NET uses the semiotic metaphor of the portal—as a doorway, gateway, or other entrance—to delimit the boundaries of an encrypted wireless network to which users can log-in.
Portal-NET is an installation of four elliptical LED tube lights, which surround a flat, mirrored surface with rheoscopic fluid running down. Triggered by a laser gun, each portal is activated, for every 90-degree turn.
Upon entrance into the installation, users will hear the machinic vrm-vrrrrrm of the laser gun. An automated voice announces: WELCOME TO PORTAL_NET, YOU ARE NOW SAFE NOW, SAFE TO LOG-ON, CHAT, BROWSE, MEET.
Visitors to Portal_NET will be able to access a closed WLAN network, using the network name and password announced by an anonymous voice, a tour-guide, so to speak, of network architecture. Portal_NET is built on the freedom to communicate safely and discreetly, without the watchful eyes of analytic groups, telecom companies, or government. Portal_NET is more than just a game; it's a complex exercise which trains users to become "players" of the network.