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Dublin-NYC ‘portal’ artist appeals for people to behave

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The artist behind the portal art installation connecting Dublin and New York has appealed to visitors to remember there could be children watching on the other side.

A series of incidents involving “inappropriate behaviour” prompted a suspension of the live stream from 10pm Dublin time last night.

Footage of incidents including nudity, offensive gestures, the display of pornography on mobile phones and an image of the burning Twin Towers in New York on 9/11, has been shared widely on social media.

Speaking in New York, artist Benediktas Gylys said there should be some limits.

Benediktas Gylys appealed for people to behave

“Definitely it’s about us humans creating the artwork together, but we need to make sure that it’s also family friendly.

“I think everyone should think of a seven-year-old child that is in New York that wants to experience and that wants to connect to Dublin and wave to people there.

“So that was my only request for the lovely people of Ireland,” he said.

On the New York side, security guards from private firms have been working on rotation at the site since its installation last week.

Barricades were put up around the Portal following a flashing incident.

An OnlyFans model exposed her breasts to the portal on Sunday, later telling her Instagram followers she thought “the people of Dublin needed to see her two, homegrown New York potatoes”.

The flashing incident on the New York side occurred on Sunday

“Recently, there was a female out here and she flashed her breasts and a man from the other side, exposed his genitals I believe, but I wasn’t here for that,” security guard Leighton Spears said.

“It’s surprising but then again it’s New York City… anything can happen here”.

Asked about the image of 9/11, Mr Spears said he took a dim view.

“As a New Yorker, I feel pretty disrespected. It feels a bit like putting alcohol in the wound a little bit because there are people here still recovering from 9/11,” he said.

Security guard Leighton Spears said some of the incidents were ‘surprising’

Organisers of the installation said that attempts to use blurring technology had been unsuccessful and that the live stream would therefore be suspended until another solution was found.

In a statement, Dublin City Council said that they were “delighted by how many people have been enjoying the portal since it was launched last week”.

“It has become a global phenomenon, and it is important to note that an overwhelming majority of people interacting with the Dublin Portal have behaved appropriately,” the statement said.

In New York, there was a steady stream of visitors waving and dancing in front of the installation.

At one point, an impromptu game of rock, paper, scissors took place between people in Dublin and a group of passing New York school children.

Taylor Richards, a first-time visitor, described the experience as “super cool.”

Asked for her impression of Dubliners from the livestream, she described them as “wilder than I thought”.

First-time visitor Taylor Richards said Dubliners were ‘wilder than I thought’

“Which I love,” she added, “as someone who lives in New York, we love the wild energy and we will always reciprocate of course”.

Another visitor, Robert, said he was not surprised by some of the controversy surrounding the Portal.

“It’s New York, it’s Dublin – you know, some crazy things are gonna happen, but it just makes it all the more exciting”.

The portal is the second installation of its kind.

The first portal livestream was set up between Lithuania and Poland but the New York-Dublin portal has generated more interest and controversy.

“We did not expect to reach a billion people in just six days and compared to Lithuania and Poland, it’s a lot crazier,” Mr Gylys said.

Asked for his message to the people of Dublin, he “let’s transcend the separation and be the pioneers of a united planet.”

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