Dublin debauchery derails Portal to NYC in six days flat

Webcam art installation quickly descends into public Chatroulette

Doomed internet cesspits Omegle and Chatroulette should have been warning enough of what happens when a webcam is placed between random strangers, yet the Portal art project linking New York City to Dublin didn't last a week before being shut down.

Among the examples of "inappropriate behaviour" flaunted before the Portal were derrières, members, raunchy dancing, thrown eggs, drug use, and middle fingers. Nastier still were images of swastikas and the twin towers on 9/11. Thankfully, the giant webcam does not transmit audio.

Most of the unruliness was coming from the Irish side, leading the New York Post to dub it the "portal to hell," though one US adult content creator thought "the people of Dublin deserved to see my New York homegrown potatoes" as "revenge" for the World Trade Center taunt.

She reportedly went on to make around $10,000 in new OnlyFans subs. The Register cannot confirm whether the potatoes are organic.

New York side of the Portal to Dublin

New Yorkers greeting Dubliners – click to enlarge

Ahead of pulling the plug at 10pm local time last night, Dublin authorities said: "The team behind the Portal art sculpture … has been investigating possible technical solutions to inappropriate behaviour by a small minority of people.

"Dublin city council had hoped to have a solution in place today, but unfortunately the preferred solution, which would have involved blurring, was not satisfactory.

"As a result the Portal will be switched off at 10pm tonight and the team at Portals.org have told us they expect it will be switched back on later this week."

The launch was daubed in optimism and naivety. Dublin lord mayor Daithí de Róiste said at the time: "I would encourage Dubliners and visitors to the city to come and interact with the sculpture and extend an Irish welcome and kindness to cities all over the world," while the project bills itself as a "bridge to a united planet" – a bridge that may now have to be burned.

The Portal was opened on May 8, meaning it took just six days for bad behavior to overwhelm the project. The problem seems to be the Dublin installation's location, which is on the corner of North Earl Street and O'Connell Street, in the heart of the city center.

"Why did they put it here? They're all mad on this street. At night-time it's like The Purge," one resident told The Guardian. The New York Post also blamed the "pub-lined Dublin thoroughfare" and its "Guinness-glugging patrons" for the Portal's descent into lewdness. The New York screen is at the junction of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street on the Flatiron Plaza.

The project is designed by Lithuanian artist Benediktas Gylys, with each installation featuring an 8ft screen and weighing 3.5 tonnes. The first example connected the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius with Lublin in Poland back in 2021, though we're going out on a limb here in suggesting that those exchanges were much more civilized as we cannot recall ever hearing about it before.

Irish Independent journalist Amy Donohoe despaired at Dubliners' conduct, writing: "Anyone who goes and stands in front of the portal is representing our little country, but if we're showing off a drunken culture and being offensive, it could potentially affect tourism in Ireland in the long run. People may not want to come here if this is what they're seeing."

If any English, Scottish, or Welsh cities were in the running for a Portal, they should probably be struck off immediately. ®

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