While it may sound like the stuff of science fiction, a ‘portal’ has been constructed in New York City and Dublin, connecting the two cities at either side of the Atlantic Ocean. The huge interactive sculpture, Portal, was unveiled at New York City’s Flatiron South Public Plaza and in the Dublin Portal faces its main street, O’Connell Street.

While not wholly on the same level as portals from iconic science fiction media such as Stargate or Doctor Strange, the twin sculptures provides an around the clock visual link through a digital livestream between the two cities. It allows real-time interactions between Dubliners and New Yorkers, as well as visitors to these iconic destinations.

“Portals are an invitation to meet people above borders and differences and to experience our world as it really is—united and one,” said The Portal founder and entrepreneur Benediktas Gylys. “The livestream provides a window between distant locations, allowing people to meet outside of their social circles and cultures, transcend geographical boundaries, and embrace the beauty of global interconnectedness.”

The Dublin Portal was presented by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, while the New York Portal was presented by the Flatiron NoMad Partnership. It is also in collaboration with the Simons Foundation and the New York City Department of Transportation Art Program.

“One of my key aims as Lord Mayor is to make the City more inclusive,” said the Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithi de Roiste. “The Portals project embodies this, bringing together technology, engineering and art to bring communities from across the world closer together and to allow people to meet and connect outside of their social circles and cultures.”

New York City chief public realm officer Ya-Ting Liu added: “We are so excited to have The Portal as a public interactive art installation, showcasing the vibrancy of our city streets and providing a new point for human connection between New Yorkers and Dubliners.”

The Portal will run through to Autumn 2024, throughout which both cities will host a variety of scheduled programming including cultural performances for not only its own city but visitors to the counterpart Portal. These events are set to kick-off on May 16, with the start of NYCxDesign Festival running through to May 23.

From July, the Dublin Portal will also connect to other global city destinations in Poland, Brazil, and Lithuania.