After a brief shutdown, HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US, the four-year livestream project of Shia LeBouf, Nastja Säde Rönkkö, and Luke Turner, is now streaming once again. But, rather than beaming in from the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, the installation has moved outside the El Rey theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tune in now to bump into all manner of people who refuse to be divided.
As I write this, someone is saying into the camera, “I got nothing to do, I’ll stay here all day. Shit, I’ll wait here all day. I got cough drops and water.” And now they’re talking about PTSD. Now, they’re talking about how they love Milo. Who are these people? Why am I watching this? I don’t have answers to these questions, but this is on and it’s something to watch. Now they’re talking about how many genders there are. How could this go wrong?
The New York livestream was shut down on February 10, after “the installation created a serious and ongoing public safety hazard for the Museum, its visitors, staff, local residents, and businesses,” the museum said in a statement. The installation, which amounts to a camera and microphone mounted to an exterior wall that streams to the internet 24/7, became a hotbed for aggression and political unrest. LeBouf himself was arrested at the end of January when a confrontation boiled over.
Yesterday, a statement posted to the website the campaignbook.com condemned the decision to shut down the installation:
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 normalisation of division.
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.
Nonetheless, there had been no incidents of physical violence at the site of our project that we are aware of, nor that we had been informed of at any stage by the museum.
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.
As of February 18, 2017, we are proud to be continuing HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US at the El Rey Theater, Albuquerque.LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner
Shortly before the stream went live again, LaBeouf shared this photo: