Photo: Labeouf, Ronkko & Turner
Actor turned art star Shia Labeouf is at it again with another hashtag-all-caps art project called #ALONETOGETHER. It seems that after the dramatic saga that stemmed from his last project, HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US (in which he was arrested over an interactive, anti-Trump video that was vandalized at the Museum of the Moving Image before being moved to Albuquerque, where it was vandalized more, then moved to an unknown location, and then eventually transported to Liverpool), Labeouf is feeling a bit antisocial. So he and his collaborators, Nastja Ronkko and Luke Turner, have sequestered themselves in three remote cabins in Finland for a month.
What will they do there, you ask? Why, they’ll text people, of course! Namely, visitors to Helsinki’s Kiasma Museum, who can communicate with the three artists from a cabin similar to theirs installed inside the museum. While participants are able to speak directly with the artists via video stream, they are only able to text in response and cannot interact with one another. The texts appear in real-time as a continuous stream on a screen both in the gallery and online. As others have noted, the live-stream is difficult but weirdly fascinating to follow, as it’s not always clear who is speaking to whom, creating a sort of nonsensical, fill-in-the-blanks poem for the viewer.
Photo: Courtesy Kiasma Museum
The performance is typical for Labeouf, Ronkko & Turner, whose collective obsession with themes of technology, alienation, celebrity, anonymity, and the fraught nature of human social interaction is present in almost everything they’ve done since they first began working together in 2014. This is why, despite (or perhaps because of) his unapologetic weirdness, Labeouf remains my favorite of all the former Disney stars. I mean, hanging out alone in a cabin saying weird shit to strangers via text is definitely cooler than whatever like, Hilary Duff is doing these days, right?
The project began today and will last for one month — or until somebody’s cell service craps out irreparably.