In the town square sits a large window frame. Looking through it yields not the other side of the square, but a view of another land. There are people on the other side, looking back at you.
The window consists of not glass, but a set of sophisticated optical equipment. There is a high resolution,
high frame rate camera, accompanied by a matched display. The two use a semi-reflective mirror to combine the optical path, making a bidirectional display. Similarly, a set of matched microphones and speakers reside within the frame. It is not intended to be shut off.
Though similar in design to Orwell's telescreens, this installation is not intended to surveil. In fact, it has no recording capabilities at all. Instead, it is linked to an identical setup, located in the city's sister. A dedicated high bandwidth data link connects the two together. What is captured by one camera is displayed on the other's monitor, with a similar provision for the audio.
The intent is to foster a special kind of relationship between the cities. While some might travel, or have business relations, few people are witness to the daily life of another culture. People can meet, chat and visit. Over time, the portal will be viewed not as link between two cities, but as an extension of one city.