ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

Back in January, Shia LaBeouf was one of many celebrities who took issue with the fact that Reality TV star Donald Trump was getting inaugurated into the White House.

And never a man to say "no" to expressing his opinions in a stand-out way, the actor began a four-installation project called "He Will Not Divide Us," calling on the public to recite those five words into a camera outside the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.

Back then, the project's goals read:

"Open to all, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the participatory performance will be live-streamed continuously for four years, or the duration of the presidency. In this way, the mantra 'HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US' acts as a show of resistance or insistence, opposition or optimism, guided by the spirit of each individual participant and the community."

However, just weeks since the performance art project caused a stir all around America, the Museum in NYC suddenly abandoned the actor's anti-Trump live stream. As a result, was forced to relocate it to a new home — Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it can now be found just outside the El Rey Theatre.

Following the move, Shia and his co-creators Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner — understandably pissed off — released a statement tearing their former venue to shreds. Hosted on their website HeWillNotDivide.Us, it read:

"On February 10, 2017, The Museum of the Moving Image abandoned HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US. Their evident lack of commitment to the project is damning. From the outset, the museum failed to address our concerns about the misleading framing of our piece as a political rally, rather than as a participatory performance artwork resisting the normalization of division."

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The statement then continued to slam the Museum of the Moving Image, saying:

“In fact, the museum demonstrated a spectacular lack of judgement—and courtesy to us as artists—by neglecting to consult us when they staged a political rally at the site of our artwork on January 29, 2017. On numerous occasions, we voiced serious concerns to the museum about hate speech occurring at the site of our project, and requested that the museum act responsibly in moderating this and providing the public a means of reporting such incidents. Our requests were not even acknowledged, let alone acted upon."

And although Shia was reportedly arrested at the exhibit for getting into an altercation with a white supremacist back in January, LaBeouf, Rönkkö and Turner were adamant that no acts of physical violence actually occurred at the project. As a result, they argued that there was no need to view it as a "ongoing public safety hazard." They stated:

"It is our understanding that the museum bowed to political pressure in ceasing their involvement with our project. We were only informed of the museum’s capitulation in an email from their attorney, Brendan O’Rourke — a lawyer who we note also represents the current president. It is clear, therefore, that the Museum of the Moving Image is not fit to speak of our intent as artists."

So, ultimately as the colossal shit show within the White House rages on behind closed door, so do debates over Shia LaBeouf's controversial project. Watch this space.

Is Shia Labeouf's 'He Will Not Divide Us' project his most powerful yet?

(Source: He Will Not Divide Us)


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