May 26, 2024


A 24/7 livestream “Portal” that connects New York City and the Irish capital of Dublin was temporarily deactivated on Tuesday as technicians sought to solve a critical flaw in the project’s fun premise: How to stop so many people from sharing inappropriate material—like dick pics, videos of 9/11, or boobs.

The “Portal” is a project developed by Lithuanian artist Benediktas Gylys, with help from a small academic team. It connects cities via a large, futuristic-looking…well, portal. On its website, portals.org, the project’s developers say that it was “born from a feeling that we humans have more to share than what separates us; and from a sense that we are all interconnected on this planet of ours,”—a melodramatic thing to say for an organization that is really just offering people a giant webcam.

I will say this: portals.org is not wrong. People have been using the Portal to connect. Of course, people tend to connect in all sorts of ways, not all of which are necessarily super sophisticated. Adlan Jackson, over at Hellgate, went down to check out New York’s Portal and swiftly encountered some of the antics for himself. He explains his experience thusly:

I tried to push down an ominous feeling, but just as I was thinking, why do I always have to assume the worst?, one of the Dublin lads put their phone screen up to the Portal and blasted a dimly lit picture of a torso and an erect cock into Midtown Manhattan. “OH!” went a wave of dull shock from the crowd. The smirks on the lads’ faces erupted into full on laughter at their own jokes, putting up more pictures to get an upset reaction: porn at first, then 9/11, and then the killing of George Floyd. New York just rolled with it all, greeting these images with resigned sighs.

Other reports—such as an Onlyfans star flashing the Dublin livestream—have marred the Portal’s supposedly wholesome mission of bringing people together. Now, predictably, people connected to the livestream project are pausing it. The Dublin City Council says that it will shut down the Portal until “technical solutions” can be found to remedy the “inappropriate behavior,” according to a statement shared widely with the press. “We will continue to monitor the situation over the coming days with our partners in New York to ensure that portals continue to deliver a positive experience for both cities and the world,” the City Council said. It added that the “overwhelming majority of interactions [using the Portal] are positive.”

The Portals are expected to come back online at some point in the next few days, CNN reports. Organizers for the installation in New York told the outlet that they had “a set of protocols in place since the Portal’s launch” to make it a safe experience, including “24/7 on-site security and barriers to prevent people from stepping onto the Portal.”

A version of this article originally appeared on Gizmodo.



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