What is the futuristic portal inaugurated in New York that connects people more than 3,000 kilometers away?

What is the futuristic portal inaugurated in New York that connects people more than 3,000 kilometers away?
What is the futuristic portal inaugurated in New York that connects people more than 3,000 kilometers away?

What is the futuristic portal inaugurated in New York that connects people more than 3000 kilometers away? REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The portalan innovative installation of interactive art created by Lithuanian artist Benediktas Gylyshas been inaugurated in the city of NYallowing viewers communicate in real time with people located 4,828 kilometers away, in Dublin, Ireland.

Located in the busy Flatiron South Public Plazathis work of art allows passersby in both cities to establish a visual connection through a live broadcast available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Benediktas Gylys described “The portal” as a tangible example of the “power of art to transcend physical barriers.” This work not only seeks to be a bridge between two cities separated by the Atlantic Ocean but also a window to interaction free of geographical limitations.

“Portals are an invitation to meet people across borders and differences and to experience our world as it really is: united and one”said Gylys, highlighting the essence of human connections beyond physical and cultural confines.

He Mayor of Dublin, Daithí de Róisteechoed this sentiment by highlighting how the project “Portals” aligns with the vision of a more inclusive Irish capital. The Portals project embodies this, bringing together technology, engineering and art to bring together communities around the world and allow people to meet and connect outside their social circles and cultures,” he said, highlighting the social and cultural impact of the initiative.

The installation will remain active until autumn this year (in September), during which various cultural performances will take place on both sides of the Atlantic, adding an additional layer of interaction and celebration of cultural diversity.

Benediktas Gylys presents El Portal as a way to overcome physical barriers through art. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

This project is not the first time that an attempt has been made to connect New York with the other side of the Atlantic through artistic interventions. In 2008, the British artist Paul St. George presented the Telescopewhich allowed spectators in New York and London to observe each other through a large brass and wood apparatus, 11.2 meters (37 feet) long by 3.3 meters (11 feet) high.

“The portal” de Gylys, however, represents a continuity and evolution of this idea, integrating modern technology to facilitate a connection in real time and on a human scale between people from different parts of the world. Additionally, this portal in New York is part of a larger series of similar installations created by Gylys, with the first pair inaugurated in 2021 between Vilnius, Lithuaniaand Lublin, Poland. The Dublin Portal It is also expected to connect with Lithuania and Poland starting in July, thus increasing the network of twinned cities through this peculiar interactive window.

This project, designed to foster dialogue and understanding between distant cultures, has generated a mixed reaction, evidencing both the potential of technology to bring people together and the challenges it faces in exposing cultural and social differences.

The work allows individuals in both cities to interact in real time through a large video transmission, creating a unique meeting space. However, recent incidents have raised concerns. Some users in Dublin have used the platform to show disturbing images of the bombing. 11 of September in USA or to consume drugs in front of the camera, actions that have been condemned by the international community.

These actions not only speak of improper use of the Portalbut also raise questions about ethics and responsibility within shared virtual spaces. “The truth is that, just as the portal unites, it also separates”, this phrase sums up not only the physics but also the emotional and social paradox that technologies like this can represent. Gylys’ initiative, in the light of these events, is challenged by reflecting on how a space that genuinely promotes mutual understanding and respect can be guaranteed.

The response of USA In the face of these acts it has been one of rejection. The authorities, in fact, reiterated the importance of using these technological innovations to build bridges, not to deepen divisions. This project, which essentially seeks to eliminate distances and offer a window to the other, is now in the position of having to deal with the unforeseen realities that arise when such disparate worlds are connected.

The United States condemns the misuse of El Portal, highlighting the need to build bridges, not divisions.

The situation is a stark reminder that, while technology has the power to bring us closer, the responsibility for how it is used lies with people. The international community, and in particular the participants in this project, are now faced with the challenge of redefining the norms of interaction in this new shared space to ensure that it serves as a beacon of cultural understanding, rather than one of conflict.

In the words of one viewer, “These types of attitudes […] “They were rejected.”, highlighting the negative impact that a few can have on a global project. It is a call to reflect on the implications of our actions in a world that is increasingly connected, but equally divided.

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