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NYC video 'portal' to Ireland paused after 'global interconnectedness' turns sour
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NYC video 'portal' to Ireland paused after 'global interconnectedness' turns sour

Troublemakers used the glorified teleconferencing screens to expose others to hateful images and body parts.

A globalist art initiative attempting to bridge peoples and cultures with 24/7 real-time public video installations has come up against the obstacle that usually trips up utopians: human nature.

Lithuanian artist Benediktas Gylys' latest Portals installation connected passersby in Manhattan's Flatiron District with Dublin's O'Connell Street some 3,000 miles away. It went live last week and was supposed to run until fall 2024.

'Portals are an invitation to meet fellow humans above borders and prejudices and to experience our home – planet Earth – as it really is: united and one.'

The Portals project was, however, paused just over a week into its intended multi-month run because of nasty behavior on both sides of the screen.

The dream

Gylys, the founder of Portals, claims on his website that the inspiration for this project was a "mystical experience" in 2016.

"Finally surrendering and sincerely admitting that I do not know anything about reality led me to a mystical experience where I felt oneness with all life on Earth for two weeks," he wrote. "After this experience I started seeing our world with different eyes and the default worldview which kept forcing me to see our planet through a lens full of narratives and filters became unbearable. I felt a deep need to counter polarising ideas and to communicate that the only way for us to continue our journey on this beautiful spaceship called Earth is together."

Gylys worked with a team from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University to realize his apparent dream of real-time teleconferencing, which has been around in New York City since at least 1927. Together, they built the first two glorified Skype screens in Lithuania, which went live in May 2021, connecting Vilnius with the Polish city of Lublin.

According to the website, "Portals are an invitation to meet fellow humans above borders and prejudices and to experience our home – planet Earth – as it really is: united and one."

The promise

Gylys managed to convince New York City and Dublin to take part in his globalist art project.

'Embrace the beauty of global interconnectedness.'

The NYC Portal, presented by the Flatiron NoMad Partnership in collaboration with the Simons Foundation and the NYC Department of Transportation Art Program, was installed at Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street beside the Flatiron Building.

Dublin City Council unveiled its circular teleconference screen near the city's Spire structure as part of Dublin's designation as the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2024.

When they went live on May 8, James Mettham, president of the Flatiron NoMad Partnership, said in a press release, "This real-time connection between two iconic public spaces in global cities on either side of the Atlantic will bring people together, both physically and digitally, becoming a captivating attraction for New Yorkers and visitors alike."

"It is a delight to celebrate the opening of this captivating installation and see two vibrant global cities connected in real time," said NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez.

Gylys suggested, "The livestream provides a window between distant locations, allowing people to meet outside of their social circles and cultures, transcend geographical boundaries, and embrace the beauty of global interconnectedness."

Dublin Mayor Daithi de Roiste stated, "The Portals project embodies this, bringing together technology, engineering, and art to bring communities from across the world closer together and to allow people to meet and connect outside of their social circles and cultures."

The result

While most people gawked at fellow pedestrians staring back thousands of miles away, less savory characters seized upon the opportunity to hold up phones playing pornography, share offensive memes, and make rude gestures.

The New York Post reported that some troublemakers in Dublin recently flashed swastikas as well as a photo of the Twin Towers engulfed in flame on Sept. 11, 2001.

Hateful images were not the only things being flashed.

An OnlyFans pornographer exposed her breasts to Dubliners Sunday, prompting Portal organizers on both sides of the Atlantic to take action and temporarily shut down the exhibit.

Whereas the pornographer claimed on Instagram that she was responsible for the sudden end to "global interconnectedness," the Portals Organization reportedly blamed the interruption on a "technical glitch."

The Portals Organization said in a statement obtained by the Irish Independent, "Our technical team is looking into the cause to improve the stability of the livestream moving forward."

"The nature of the project, providing a 24/7 livestream, is such that sometimes interruptions will occur due to technical glitches, maintenance or simple software updates," continued the statement. "Our teams (portals.org and AVSPL) are doing their best to ensure smooth and consistent operations in order to come as close as possible to a 24/7 active livestream."

The Dublin City Council indicated Monday that the exhibit will undergo a number of changes on account of multiple incidents of "inappropriate behavior" from the Irish side.

"Unfortunately, we have also been witnessing a very small minority of people engaged in inappropriate behaviour, which has been amplified through social media," stated the council. "While we cannot control all of these actions, we are implementing some technical solutions to address this and these will go live in the next 24 hours."

The screens were reportedly streaming again Tuesday during the day, but shut off at night, reported the Associated Press.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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