Shia Labeouf is no stranger to unusual art projects. His latest involves screaming into a camera for a full minute. We don’t know if it is inspirational or just straight crazy. The scream fest is Labeouf’s latest performance art piece. Partnering with artists Rönkkö & Turner, and Central Saint Martins BA Fine Art 2015 students, the group created this piece as part of a collection called “Introductions.” Introductions to what exactly?
You know he means business. At times he is screaming so loud that spit is spewing out of his mouth. And what’s with the Nike vibes, “Just do it!” Don’t even get us started on the ponytail he has begun to rock. We miss you Even Stevens…
Now, Labeouf is no stranger to strange and controversial topic these days.
Most recently, he starred in Sia’s music video, “Elastic Heart” with Dance Mom’s star, Maddie Ziegler. People criticized the video because of the age difference between the two video stars. Ziegler is a young girl, while Labeouf is a grown man. They said the dance moves were too provocative and a little perverted for the duo. Not too mention the barely there costumes. Ziegler wore a nude leotard, while Labeouf simply wore a pair of underwear.
Let us remind you.
Now, Labeouf argued that the music video was art and nothing more. It was strange, but it was still art. Labeouf should know strange art. The screaming video wasn’t the only performance piece he has done. Let’s take a flashback to February of last year, he starred in another art collaboration with the same artists. #IAMSORRY was an exhibit shrouded in controversy. Labeouf sat in a room with a brown paper bag over his head. One by one exhibit goers entered the room. They could do pretty much anything they wanted to do. One woman took it too far.
After the exhibit ended, Labeouf spoke out and said he was raped by one of the visitors. He claims she whipped his legs and then proceeded to strip him. She then raped him. His fellow artists also spoke out about the incident and said they came to his aid as soon as they saw what was happening.
Apparently, the woman left with disheveled hair and smeared lipstick. She walked past the line of others waiting to see the exhibit, one of those being Labeouf’s longtime girlfriend. You can only imagine how pissed she would be. Unfortunately, when it was her turn to be in the room with her boyfriend, he could not speak. Labeouf explains how they just sat in painful, sad silence.
“When she came in she asked for an explanation, and I couldn’t speak, so we both sat with this unexplained trauma silently. It was painful.”
This traumatic performance was just once of a collection of performances. Labeouf’s involvement in the art collaboration was inspired by accusations “of plagiarism when he lifted portions of a Daniel Clowes short story for a film he was working on.”
Labeouf also had an explanation for his involvement. He talked about how artists these days are using social media to promote their work, and as a result that social media promotion becomes work too.
“We’re approaching it from a similar but almost opposite perspective – because with someone who already has a public persona, we’re kind of questioning what that means, where identity and ideas of the self actually lie. With Shia it’s particularly interesting because he’s a method actor, and so he really inhabits those roles, and you do question: where is the true self?”
Fellow artist and collaborator, Luke Turner further explained this concept.
“Hollywood still tries to preserve that rarified atmosphere of the Hollywood superstar … [The project is] a collaboration using social media and performance art – but you get the mainstream celebrity media who are commenting on his outfit that he was wearing, the superficial elements of his persona. We weren’t sure how much they would engage with the actual art he was making.”
You can call it art all day long, some of us will still find it weird. Scream on, Labeouf.