Opinion  May 22, 2024  Carlota Gamboa

The Return of The Portal, Connecting New York And Dublin

Wikimedia Commons, 2015

Aerial view of St Stephen's Green in the centre of Dublin, 2015. License

Last Monday saw the return of The Portal, a large live-streaming video installation that connects New York City to Dublin. After being shut off less than two weeks past its inauguration, due to a string of lewd incidents, the interactive art-object continues to unite the two sides of the Atlantic with an updated set of rules.

The Portal— found both in Dublin’s city center and Madison Square Park— will now run with a preordained schedule. No longer operating around the clock, members of the public will be able to interact from 6 AM to 4 PM Eastern Time, and 11 AM to 9 PM in Dublin. In addition to the shift change, organizers have also introduced “Portal ambassadors” to Dublin’s side, while New York will retain the same security they had before the momentary lapse in communication. A new feature was also installed that will blur anyone or anything that gets too close to the camera.

It’s safe to say that people were disappointed in The Portal’s closure. After May 14th, the day the connection was cut, flowers were put at the screen’s base, as if in memoriam. However, there may be more opportunities to experience this type of artwork. As of right now, there is another installation that connects Lublin, Poland to Vilnius, Lithuania and more seem to be on the way. 

According to a statement made by the organizers, the goal is to “redefine the boundaries of artistic expression and connectivity” enhancing “joy and connectedness” for those who find themselves in target cities. 

A German tourist visiting Dublin, Matthias Rebbert, stated, “it’s obviously very entertaining, even if there’s nothing happening on the other side,” as per the New York Times. “I would love to see it in Berlin as well.” 

Many others feel the same as Rebbert, as the piece of public art attracted tens of thousands of visitors within its first week. Another tourist, Christine Santen from Paris, said she had been trying to catch a glimpse of it during her time in Ireland. Once she succeeded, she said it was “merveilleux!”

About the Author

Carlota Gamboa

Carlota Gamboa is an art writer based in Los Angeles.

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