#INTRODUCTIONS – LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner

Post #FOLLOWMYHEART, the art collaborators Shia LaBeouf, Nastja Rönkkö and Luke Turner has made their absence felt. Now they’ve returned with #INTRODUCTIONS, which, albeit less physically intimate, is equally personal and poignant.

In it, Shia LaBeouf performs a series of activities against a green screen in a half-hour long video. The video consists of 36 half-minute short films, where his performance and activity has been decided by graduates of the Fine Art BA at Central Saint Martins. The core idea is for the students to create an idea, have him (Shia) act it out, and then the students are free to play around with the short films in post-production, adding whatever they like to the green screen.

Not only is the idea fun and playful, but the result is unsurprisingly very fascinating and beautiful. Two students (Alice Woods and Jasmin Newman) asks Shia to read a short extract from his favorite work of fiction, while another (JJ Tipton) asks him to breath in and out, then in and out again. Another (Sam Walkden) has Shia verbally repeat the RGB color model. In one scenario all we see is Shia’s feet, as he recites a passage written by the student, Caitlin Black. Joseph Moss’ contribution is incredibly powerful, as he and Shia become one. “Joe Moss was Shia LaBeouf before Shia LaBeouf was Joe Moss. We’ve only got thirty seconds, so I mean I’ll try his voice but no I dunno man who makes that choice who’s pretending to be who? We’re pretending to talk to a you that doesn’t exist yet, but whats really going on here I don’t think any of us understand, maybe you do? There’s always reflections of you in the screen, but I can’t speak I’m dumb I’m the dumbest but Shia talks. Still thirty seconds pressure whatever. Hi Mum it really is Joe bet you never thought this would fucking happen.” 

Each piece feels unique and individual, only connected by their candidacy and sincerity. They say as much about the performer as they say about the artist. It forces images to form in my mind about who these individuals are; Who asked Shia to breathe in and out, and why. The latter is of course a natural extension of #FOLLOWMYHEART – where Shia streamed his heartbeat for the entire world to hear – as the action of breathing is equally connected to life and death as our heartbeats. This collaboration continues their meta-modern art-installations, as they take the impersonal – technology, internet personas etc – and makes it personal.

Through #IAMSORRY, #FOLLOWMYHEART and now #INTRODUCTIONS Shia, Nastja and Luke manages to express a desire to make it all more intimate. Human interactions can, even while hidden behind the luminous glow of a MacBook, be real and honest. Digitalised, pixelated and physically disconnected sure, but nonetheless real for those who seek it out. The final results – where the students have closed the circle through post – will be live streamed later today, which I will add here should it become available.

I would also recommend #INTERVIEW where Shia LaBeouf talked to Aimee Cliff from Dazed & Confused through emails. It is a deeply honest conversation between to intellectuals. When they met for an hour post-interview, none of them spoke, rather they simply starred at one another with cameras pinned to their heads. [Source D&C]

Per Morten Mjolkeraaen

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