If the purpose of art is to elicit a response from the viewer, then it has to be said that Shia LaBeouf’s latest effort is certainly doing the job, with the news that he has been arrested after an incident involving a ‘Nazi’.
The 30-year-old actor/artist/performer/attention seeker launched his protest against President Donald Trump on the day of his inauguration, with the installation due to run for the next four years – the full term of his Presidency.
The work, a collaboration with Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner, is entitled #HeWillNotDivideUs and features a camera mounted on the wall of the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York, in front of which people are invited to stand and repeat the words “he will not divide us”, while the camera feed is livestreamed here.
However, on Wednesday evening, just six days in, LaBeouf was handcuffed by police, reportedly after a disagreement with a man who said the words “Hitler did nothing wrong” into the camera. TMZ reported that LaBeouf scratched the man and grabbed his scarf with law enforcement officials from the NYPD, who have been posted at the site since Monday, intervening. He was released several hours later.
The unofficial Twitter feed for the installation posted the following footage:
With this tweet seeking to clarify matters:
The project has seen a flurry of activity since launching, with LaBeouf previously shouting down a white supremacist protester (who says the neo-Nazi referencing number ‘1488’ into the camera):
While LaBeouf clearly acted angrily to both of these protesters, on other occasions he has urged the need for tolerance, and for all to have their say.
Donald Trump supporters have been making their presence known:
While LaBeouf has been a constant presence at the work.
The project declares: “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.”
Singer Jaden Smith has also made his support of the project known, visiting the site of the project and repeating the same words: “He will not divide us. He will not divide us.”