Entertainment‘Portal of Provocation’: Art linking Dublin and NY sparks outrage

‘Portal of Provocation’: Art linking Dublin and NY sparks outrage

Portal between New York and Dublin
Portal between New York and Dublin
Images source: © X

1:49 PM EDT, May 12, 2024

Pioneering technological sculptures, designed as a "portal" between New York and Dublin, were officially launched in both cities on May 8 and quickly became a focus of controversy. The art installations sparked outrage after someone in Dublin displayed a photo of the September 11 attacks through the portal, effectively "mocking" the tragedy that occurred to Americans.

The innovative sculptures in New York at the Flatiron South Public Plaza and in Dublin on North Earl Street aimed to forge an "unprecedented bridge" between the two cities. Broadcasting a live image around the clock, they enable "real-time interaction between the residents of Dublin, New Yorkers, and visitors".

The portal on North Earl Street offers a view of Dublin’s most iconic landmarks on O'Connell Street, including the historic General Post Office (GPO) and The Spire. In New York, the portal is positioned at the Flatiron South Public Plaza on Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street, near the renowned Flatiron Building. Benedikt Gylys installed these. Similar artworks by Gylys can be found in his home country of Lithuania and Poland.

Controversial incidents involving Dublin's portal users

Regrettably, just hours after the portal launch, instances of inappropriate behavior began to emerge, predominantly from users in Dublin. By Wednesday, a drunk woman was arrested on the Irish side for inappropriately interacting with the portal. Additionally, individuals were seen making obscene gestures through it. However, the most egregious act occurred later.

On Saturday, May 11, a video was shared on social media showing someone in Dublin exposing a photo of the burning World Trade Center towers from September 11, alongside mockery of the deceased New York rapper Pop Smoke. New Yorkers witnessing this on their end of the portal expressed their outrage.

These incidents were not isolated. Some users threatened to indecently expose themselves to "flash the Yankees," while others shared videos of provocations, including the display of bare buttocks to Americans.

This string of incidents has ignited debates over artistic expression and decency boundaries. Several commentators have voiced their disillusionment that the sculptures, envisaged as mediums to unite people, have been reduced to platforms for provocation and disrespect.

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