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The Portal, a Public Installation Connecting New York and Dublin in Real Time, Shuts Down After a Week

View of the ‘Portal’ on May 8. Photo credit: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

May fairs and auctions season in New York City is also a time of spectacular public art. The ‘Portal’ by Lithuanian artist Benediktas Gylys is the center of attention. The Portal is a 3.5-ton, 8-foot-wide installation consisting of a large circular screen and a camera. The circular screen displays 24 hours of live camera coverage of Manhattan in New York and O’Connell Street in Dublin. According to Gylys, “Portals are an invitation to meet people across borders and differences and experience our world as it really is — united and one.”

But less than a week after its May 8 launch, the Portal is shut down. The shutdown is due to a series of controversial and divisive uses of the platform. In the past days, nudity, drugs, and hateful images flashed across screens in both cities. Some Dubliners even played footage of the September 11 attacks on the Portals.

Despite the heartwarming stories of street dance performances across continents and digital reunions of families, Dublin City Council eventually announced that the Portal would be shut down until a suitable solution is found. Originally scheduled to run until the fall, it’s unclear whether the Portal is permanently disabled or will resume operations.

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