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Controversial trans-Atlantic Portal reopens – with strict rules

The Portal reopens

Source: X/Noel Y. Calingasan

New York City and Dublin are again connected through The Portal, after crude and offensive acts led to the installation’s abrupt shutdown last week.

The temporary closure came as organisers sought ways to prevent lewd behaviour seen on both sides of the portal.

The reopening on Monday (local time) was confirmed in a joint statement from its backers – Dublin City Council, Portals.org and the Flatiron NoMad Partnership.

It also laid out the new rules around the installation’s use.

Initially, The Portal was a 24-7 live-stream.

Its hours have since been cut to 6am-4pm in New York City and 11am-9pm in Dublin. 

The public artwork is not meant to be touched, so steps have been taken to “limit instances of people stepping on The Portal and holding phones up to the camera lens”.

In New York, where the installation sits alongside the famed Flatiron Building, fencing has been installed to prevent people from getting too close.

The US end has had security from the beginning, and this will remain for the new opening hours.

Additionally, there are more signs to help with crowd management and “guide visitors to the optimal spots for interacting with the Portal“.

In Dublin – where some of the initial trouble included locals flashing those at the New York end, and showing pictures of the 2001 terror attacks on the Twin Towers – “physical design features” have been added.

Benediktas Gylys explains his portals

Source: Instagram/Portals.org

The Portal finds ‘proximity-based solution’

The rebooted Portal has a “proximity-based solution” to some of that behaviour.

“If individuals step on The Portal and obstruct the camera, it will trigger a blurring of the live-stream for everyone on both sides of the Atlantic,” Monday’s statement said.

“The team will continue making updates as needed to ensure that everyone can continue to enjoy The Portal.”

In the week the live-stream was up and running, tens of thousands of people visited either location and the statement acknowledged the vast majority “experienced the sense of joy and connectedness”.

“We are excited to welcome people in New York and Dublin back to experience this captivating visual bridge that connects these two iconic cities,” Portals.org artist and founder Benediktas Gylys said.

“As humans we are creating the portals experience together.

“I invite local communities not only to enjoy but to care about their portals and how other community members are approaching the sculptures.”

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