Shia LaBeouf and I hung out last Sunday.
The afternoon stretched to more than three hours when two shootings occurred right outside the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. I thought it was some rude person tapping on the wall. Nope. Police crime taped the area and placed everyone in the building on lockdown. Most of us were pretty oblivious.
My interest in Shia’s talk began when local newspapers reported tweets of GPS coordinates for his next art installation, #TAKEMEANYWHERE. I checked it out. Using Google Earth, each photo depicted roads, intersections or land formations. Every day at noon, I checked out his tweet with the latest. Yesterday’s was 41°09’30″N 104°39’32″W. It was very cool. I was hooked.
If you thought Shia LaBeouf had a nervous breakdown, think again.
The team of LaBeouf, Nastja Ronkko, and Luke Turner have been constructing art installations for two years. They spoke at MediaLive – Corruption, after a week of installations by other artists at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.
They would like to add sincerity to communication in a way that makes you think, emote, and change your perception of the world in some way.
Transparency is their other goal.
Everyone is treated equally. They don’t give their friends or family a heads up about their latest art installations. Everyone finds out at the same time on Twitter. Instead of working in a bubble, the audience becomes a key element in their work. They have no expectations. Shia LaBeouf’s handle is @thecampaignbook. That’s where you can catch up with their latest installation and you could become a part of it, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The talk included very revealing remarks from LaBeouf.
With an animated and extroverted personality, like yours truly, he talked about growing up in Los Angeles in a black section of town where he got beat up a lot. It didn’t help that the “Chia” Pet was popular when he was a kid. You can imagine. He claims that he is pretty uneducated and went into acting to survive. His father is a blue-collar worker and doesn’t believe acting is anything more than a hobby. He has never seen any of his movies. I’ve rarely heard anyone talk so openly. That’s sincerity.
Remember when Shia wore a paper bag over his head?
“I’m sorry. I’m not famous anymore.” Everyone, including me, thought it was a cry for help. Nope. It was one of the group’s collaborative events and his reaction to being busted by Daniel Clowes. You see, LaBeouf used Clowes’ screenplay and made a short film without citing him. Then he won an award at Cannes. “I fucked up,” Shia said, several times. Wearing the paper bag was his apology. Clowes reacted with a Cease and Desist.
The team rented a room. Curious people waited for hours to speak to Shia. He didn’t say anything, but he did cry on occasion showing that you can still be a man and show emotion after doing something regrettably stupid. It made me think about how most of us react when making mistakes. That took courage.
I perused LaBeouf’s site called The Campaign Book. They have orchestrated several artistic media events in the last two years. One of my favorites took place in an art gallery. The team wore headsets and sat in front of laptops. They asked people through social media to #TouchMySoul and took calls, broadcasting them inside the room while spectators looked on. One of the people who called hadn’t spoken to anyone in weeks.
Another call was from a man upset at Labeouf for misusing his fame. He felt he should head up a cause to aid people instead.
After his rant, Shia asked, “Do you think people need to be listened to?”
“Ah, of course they do.”
“And what do you think is going on here?”
“You’re listening to me.”
“Have a good day.” Shia ended the call.
Boom. That’s what connection is all about. We need to be listened to. That’s why so many are addicted to social media. The likes, adds, or whatever the interaction, boosts endorphins because of those connections. That’s not a bad thing.
How can we become more sincere?
By really listening. Shia thinks everyone has a right to disagree too. It’s all a part of the exchange. The bottom line? Keep reaching out to communicate.
Another favorite of mine is #STARTCREATING. They had it written in the sky and then recorded people’s reaction.
After the talk, I asked Shia if his “very sincere public apology” helped him to forgive himself and if the healing process was helped or hurt by it.
He said, “It definitely helped.”
Those GPS coordinates spelled out #TAKEMEANYWHERE. The team was commissioned by The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and The Finnish Institute in London and will travel from May 23rd to June 23rd.
Each day at noon they will tweet their GPS coordinates. Whoever picks them up first can take them anywhere. The first day, they were near Estes Park. The first person to arrive drove them to Oscar Blues in Longmont. The next day, they tweeted a location north of Fort Collins. The last time I checked, they were in Nebraska. 41°09’50″N 96°08’15″W
LaBeouf, Ronkko and Turner use social media to hitchhike across the US.
Check it out. Maybe they’ll hitch a ride with you! I once hitchhiked in a very unconventional way.
Shia still conversed with people after the museum’s doors reopened and we were free to go. He answered questions, had pictures taken and signed autographs. He was patient, relaxed, and took his time with each person even though there was always a crowd pressing in around him.
What about the lockdown?
Apparently, some crazy dude fired several shots into the Boulder Creek outside the Public Library. Then he aimed at police so they shot him. Minutes later, more shots were fired outside the museum. They haven’t found that shooter yet. How weird was it that we were inside celebrating positive communication while crazy maniacs shot guns right outside? Since we were on lockdown, we had more time to communicate. Bonus!
The Campaign Book site. Be sure to click on hashtags to check out their installations.
@CampaignBook on Twitter
Click on my home page for more Wild Adventures
Twitter – @susielindau
Did this surprise you or did you know about Shia’s art?
Thanks for the introduction to a cool thing.
It was really cool! I’ve been on an epic road trip and will check to see if they did anything more with the project.
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